Today’s activities really cemented the group’s connection to the conservation aspect of our challenge. We got to see gorgeous wildlife in several contexts by visiting an affiliate of Laikipia Wildlife Forum. We started our morning with an introduction to giraffes, impala, zebras, baboons, warthogs, and ibis inside the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, en route to a chimpanzee sanctuary. The animals were majestic in their natural habitat. Once we arrived at the sanctuary, we had the pleasure of watching rescued chimps at leisure. We learned about each chimp’s background and the costly effects of the bushmeat trade and the practice of keeping chimps as pets.
After we left the furry faces and human child-like antics of the chimps, we headed to the rhino sanctuary, where we learned about black rhinos and met Baraka, a 17-year-old rhino whose complete blindness didn’t stop him from fulfilling his hunger for fresh grasses and acacia, which he was happy to eat directly from us. Finally, we had the rare privilege of meeting Suni and Fatu, two Northern White Rhinos, of which there are only a total of four (possibly eight) individuals remaining in the world. The pair was beautiful and seemed to be quite at home in their new habitat, despite its stark contrast to their former home at a Czech Zoo. Close to three tons, Suni serves as a reminder of the fragility of even the most powerful beasts once they become an object of human desire.
The whole day was a wonderful learning experience, led by Ephantus Mugo, the Environmental Education Officer of LWF, who shared his expertise and his passion for fieldwork, which he had been cultivating since childhood. We returned back to our home base at the Nanyuki Sports Club to find that all of the teammates who had been under the weather were on the mend and looking good to head out to Mt. Kenya tomorrow morning.
Please note that LIVE SMS updates are currently not working. We are doing our best to get the system up and running. Please stay posted here and on our Facebook page for all LIVE updates from 2011.
Post written by Valerie Rosenberg