Just as the sun was slipping behind the Mau Escarpment I received a call that an endangered baby Rothschild’s Giraffe was in distress. I jumped in my car and rushed there with blankets and phoned the Animal Rights Reserved mobile vet unit in Naivasha. They are about an hour or so away so all we could do was keep the baby warm and give comfort.
The sun was setting and there were hyenas close by so I asked our Soysambu Conservancy rangers for assistance. Mike, who has been on the giraffe monitoring team, arrived with the Conservancy vehicle. While we waited for the Vet Unit to arrive the baby become stronger. When the mom came around we moved away hoping the baby could get up with it’s mum’s encouragement. It was just too weak from many hours lying in that position. When the mom moved away we kept it warm and rubbed it’s body and legs, trying to get some circulation going. It finally lifted it’s head and sat up but still couldn’t stand and we couldn’t get it on it’s feet despite our best efforts.
The mobile vet unit arrived and immediately went to work getting the baby giraffe on it’s feet and examined it for injuries.
The Vet decided it was in good shape but had been lying there in the cold for so long it was numb so he massaged it’s limbs. It was amazing how quickly he responded.
The team then mixed a bottle of milk and glucose and after some coaxing he drank two bottles.
With that in him and feeling better he got up on his own and wobbled a bit but took a few steps. We decided to move as far away as possible and still observe with headlights dimmed to let it’s mom reunite with her baby. It was only a few minutes before she came up to him and touched his head and I guess, told him to follow her. She walked a few steps and he didn’t move, so she went back to him and maybe said “come on, there are hyenas about and you better come with me now”. (only my speculation) Well he followed her a few steps and stopped. She turned around and encouraged him again and he followed. Then he was looking for food so they stopped. She moved on and he didn’t follow so she came back, touched his head and he followed. This happened a few more times until they moved on. A little while later the baby sat down, I guess exhausted, and we were worried but he got back up again and followed her into the bush.
We think the mom was in the process of giving birth near the track from Kekopey to Elmenteita and she became spooked by a vehicle so took off running, the baby came out and hit the ground pretty hard. It is a tough birth in the best of circumstances. They usually get up and start feeding in about 45 minutes up to a couple hours. He had some scrapes on his legs and it was some time before he was discovered. The placenta was very close by so we assume this is the scenario.
A HUGE thanks to Animal Rights Reserved for their quick response which resulted in saving the life of an endangered species!!!
Kat Combes, CEO Soysambu Conservancy
I must admit this past week I’ve been holding my breath while waiting to hear if the Kenya Lakes System (Elmentieta, Nakuru and Bogoria) World Heritage Site would be inscribed. Then late last night while I was sitting in the dark because there was a power cut, I suppose due to the heavy storm, I turned on my computer, hoping there was a little battery power to check my mail. There in my inbox was a brief note ” You are now part of a World Heritage Site, Congratulations!” At first I was a bit stunned having prepared myself for disappointment.
I couldn’t wait for dawn to rush down to the lake and experience a World Heritage Site. It was like seeing everything for the very first time…my first World Heritage flamingo, my first world heritage giraffe, eland, tommie, impala, leopard tracks. I wanted to tell those little pelican babies that they would have a safe home. Magical!
It was a hard choice to just soak it in or snap a few photos as I had to rush back to Elmenteita town for a MOGTEKA meeting.
I guess you will need to Blog William Kimosop at Bogoria to hear how long a journey this has been for him, many many years…but for me, I was asked to a meeting back in 2006 when it was decided to try for WH status once again. The last attempt failed due to the unprotected status of Lake Elmenteita. Now began the long process of gazetting Lake Elmenteita Wildlife Sanctuary.
While this was in the process our Greater Lake Elmenteita Conservaton Area Committee and Stakeholders worked with National Museums of Kenya and Kenya Wildlife Service for years in developing Management Plan for the Conservation Area which includes the Core zone of the Lake and Riparian Land, The Buffer Zone , Riverine Zone and Controlled Development Zone.
We will be posting more information and links and photos to inform you of our progress.
Here is a link to the UNESCO Site.
We will be looking for help to ensure the World Heritage Status.
Yours in Conserving our World Heritage,
Giraffe and bird species in danger
By Nation Reporter
Posted Thursday, August 12 2010 at 21:00
Some species of bird and giraffe are on the brink of extinction unless urgent measures are taken to conserve them.
Scientists working in Kenya said the Sokoke Scops Owl, a small member of the species, faces extinction in East Africa due to illegal logging in indigenous forests in the Coastal and North East Tanzania.
Dr Munir Virani of The Peregrine Fund and the National Museums of Kenya found an estimated 1,025 pairs during his study in the early 1990s, and during this recent study, he and his colleague’s estimated only 800 pairs.
“The Sokoke Scops Owl is considered a flagship of the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest and is an indicator of the health of the forest” Dr Virani said.
The Rothschild’s giraffe is the latest African mammal to be declared “endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
There are nine recognised giraffe sub-species and the Rothschild’s is the second most endangered, with less than 670 remaining in the wild, says Kenya Wildlife Service.
The situation in Soysambu Conservancy
Out of the remaining 670 rothschild giraffes the Soysambu conservancy has a population estimate of 70,currently most of the adult females have young ones ranging five months to 2 years old.This is an indication of a healthy population and quick measures should be put in place to help conserve them.We are infact optimistic that one of the females is calving soon,the was reported by one of the researchers who is currently taking her studies on the same.We are welcoming more students,consevationists,stakeholders and donors who have interest in helping Soysambu conservancy and the world to improve their population.Enough data has to be collected and analyzed for mitigation measures.