Lindo Mbele, a trainee inspector from the Cape of Good Hope Animal Protection Society (SPSA), literally took an animal rescue operation to new heights when he climbed a 25 meter high tree barefoot to save a baby kitten.
According to Jaco Pieterse, the SPCA’s chief inspector, Mbele was called to a house in Belgravia, Cape Town early on Monday morning after the family’s beloved kitten had climbed the tree the day before and could not find her way back to the ground.
“The kitten was almost at the top of the tree, essentially trapped, and was clinging to the tree’s branches for her life,” says Pieterse.
When Mbele arrived home, he heard the cat calling from the tree, which made him spring into action.
“I looked at how the tree’s branches lay and came to the conclusion that I would be able to climb to the top. There were many branches to use as a foothold. However, I realized I would have to do it barefoot. I also knew I wouldn’t be able to climb up with a cat cage, because I need both my hands to climb,” says Mbele.
Mbele got creative and emptied his backpack to use as a makeshift basket. He took off his socks and shoes to ensure the best possible grip on the branches.
This barefoot hero, as he is now known, climbed to the top, put the cat in his backpack and came down again.
“It took me about 25 minutes to reach the kitten. She needed some persuasion to come to me and to get her in my pocket. I got off slowly because I had to keep looking at her.
“I was in the tree for over an hour, but it was worth it when I was able to give her back to the family, who love her very much.”
The owners were very relieved and grateful when they could hold their beloved animal child in their arms again.
Apart from the fact that the animal was hungry and thirsty and also cold, the little kitten came down from her expedition unscathed.
According to Pieterse, Mbele was driven by compassion and showed remarkable courage in the midst of a challenging rescue operation.
“I think he is a hero,” he says.