Commissioner returns after trip to South Africa | News, Sports, Jobs


Kevin and Khadine Ritter are shown just after performing a general health check on a pregnant and sedated African buffalo in a South African game reserve. The buffalo stood up moments after that, Ritter said. “No animals were harmed in making this photo. (Photo provided)

Washington County Commissioner Kevin Ritter has had to miss the last two commission meetings on Thursday mornings, but he can explain. In fact.

Ritter and his wife, Khadine, returned home from an animal conservation project in South Africa, where they worked in the Thithombo Game Reserve and Tembe Elephant Park and Reserve near the Mozambican border to monitor the general health of the elephants. animals.

“It wasn’t a vacation” Ritter said. “It was a project sanctioned by the South African government, and we were constantly accompanied by the park ecologist for the reserves. We traveled by helicopter most of the time.

They used darts to sedate the animals, then checked their health status, including things like their blood and the condition of their teeth. Most of the time they worked with lions and African buffalo, she said.

“The animals were huge.”

Dart sedation was fairly limited, he added. The animals got up moments later.

Ritter said that at one point they were flown to the Mozambican border to meet with the guards who were chasing the poachers, and that was an interesting experience. They were a little more forgiving of those just trying to feed their families, he said. Those who did it for commercial purposes were a different story.

The Ritters’ trip was October 3-14. Now that they’re home, what you probably immediately appreciate is the number of conveniences local people enjoy in their daily lives, she said.

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