National Geographic : 1962 Nov
Taxidermist's pride, the head of a hippopotamus intrigues school children in the Uganda Game De partment's wildlife muse um. Youngsters, many of whom have never seen a live hippo, fire a barrage of questions at guide Vin cent Kayanja. City-dwelling Africans frequently show unfamil iarity with major game species, the author reports. Remarked one adult visi tor, looking at the mount ed head of a black-maned lion: "That's the first rhino I have ever seen." Cow elephant tusks against the wall weigh more than 40 pounds each. Inquisitive hands touch rhino horns as Asian stu dents tour the museum, guided by Office Superin tendent Felix D'Mello. would stagger off determinedly on unsteady legs to investigate his kingdom of house and garden. Luckily he had a devoted guardian in Bhalu, our old Labrador, who would bring him back to safety if he roamed too far, carry ing him in his mouth as a retriever would a shot rabbit, and licking him clean as assidu ously as a cat would a kitten. As Aringa grew up, he and Bhalu became 692 inseparable, roaming the garden and even curling up together to sleep (page 699). Only at mealtimes would the fierce, mercurial leopard character reveal itself. Then, if frustrated, Aringa would lay his ears flat, open his mouth in a savage snarl, and fill the air with demoniacal screeches and deep-chested, cough ing grunts. In our worst quarrel, he climbed onto the sideboard and we had to part him forcibly from ONALGEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY our Sunday leg of lamb. Aringa had an uncatlike attraction to water. As soon as he was big enough, he would jump up on the birdbath to dab at his reflection or play with the float ing leaves. One day, the first time we took him for a walk along the lake shore with the Labrador, he tested the water with an in quiring paw, and followed the old dog in to swim like an otter. After this a daily swim became part of his normal routine (page 698).