Up to this point I have had 3 Pookies in my life, which I suspect is more than average. The first was very early on in my childhood and was a small white rabbit with wings, not a real one but a beloved story book character. The story begins; "This is the story of Pookie, a little white furry rabbit, with soft, floppity ears, big blue eyes and the most lovable rabbit smile in the world". This Pookie was outcast for having wings but upon leaving home began to have such adventures and tried to do good deeds for everyone. He was a big part of my early childhood, encouraging adventure and good will. And so began a life of Pookies!
The second Pookie was an orphaned meerkat pup that I cared for in South Africa for a couple of months. He taught me a lot about meerkats and how adorable but equally annoying they can be. He was less keen on the good deeds but did have a lot of adventures, mainly involving digging. Being only a few weeks old I learned a lot about responsibility and the dedication it takes to care for another creature from meerkat Pookie. I also learned a lot about patience as he really tried mine sometimes with his constant noise, burrowing, hunger and attention seeking- good preparation for my work with children later on!
|Meerkat Pookie digging as always! Photo by Ella Ormerod|
Last but definitely not least comes the GTAEF adult bull elephant, Phuki. When I first met elephant Phuki his name amused me greatly as, at around 3.5 meters tall and weighing around 4000kg he outsizes the other two Pookies by a considerable amount, it just didn’t seem to fit in my mind that a bull elephant could have the same name as a rabbit with wings and a baby meerkat! But his size doesn’t stop him from being the gentlest Phuki I’ve known. He is also very relaxed, and as his performance on our research seems to show, he’s rather intelligent too. Although he is now the only bull elephant we work closely with, I feel I learn more about bull Asian elephants and become more interested in their mysterious ways each time I’m with him.