Sunday, July 31, 2016

Nairobi activities: Giraffe Center and Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Giraffe Center, part of the Africa Fund for Endangered Wildlife

In the 1970's American Betty Melville and her husband, Jock, discovered the plight of the Rothschild giraffe losing their habitat in Western Kenya. Rothschild giraffes are characterized by white legs and five horns. The Melvilles were among the earliest conservationists to raise a wild giraffe.

They bought a patch of land near Nairobi (before developers could snatch it), and made it a sanctuary for the endangered giraffe. In 1979, they founded the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife. In 1983, they opened up an outstanding education center for Kenyans. Thousands of school children and tourists visit the Giraffe Center every year.

The Melvilles also set up giraffe preserves in four national parks in Kenya. The population of Rothschild, then around 120, is now over 400 in Kenya, and perhaps 500 in all of Africa.

Watch the movie (on YouTube), The Last Giraffe (1979) about Betty and Jock Melville's start at saving this sub-species of giraffe. It's based on her book, Raising Daisy Rothschild, about the first young giraffe they rescued and raised.

Several whimsical Warthogs also hang out with the giraffe

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, commonly referred to as the Elephant Orphanage

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is the most successful orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in the world and one of the pioneering conservation organisations for wildlife and habitat protection in East Africa. It was founded in 1977 by Daphne Sheldrick, in honor of her late husband, famous naturalist and founding warden of Tsavo East National Park, David Sheldrick.

The heart of their conservation activities is the Orphans’ Project, which has achieved world-wide acclaim through its hugely successful elephant and rhino rescue and rehabilitation program. It offers hope for the future of Kenya’s threatened elephant and rhino populations as they struggle against the threat of poaching for their ivory and horn, and the loss of habitat due to human population pressures and conflict, deforestation and drought.

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has successfully hand-raised over 150 infant elephants and has accomplished its long-term conservation priority by effectively reintegrating orphans back into the wild herds of Tsavo, claiming many healthy wild-born calves from former-orphaned elephants raised in our care.

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