Sick in the Wild

You know for the tallest animal existing, poise and glamour is their way of life – nothing of news.  And as the Victoria Secret’s of the wild ( Uhm,, they don’t call themselves that, but work with me here) being sick is not a welcome respite. In fact, sickness is just never a topic to whine about around there, I mean what else would you want when you’ve got antiseptic saliva?

Well, that may not have been the case for Nandi the giraffe. On Saturday, we notice that Nandi is gloomy and aloof. One might mistake this for the cold weather  Nairobi has been serving us, but at a closer look, his ever-smooth fur coat is rough, and his nose is running.  Could he be sick? But from what? Remember when I said giraffes have antiseptic saliva? Well, let’s just say diarrhoea doesn’t care much about that because Nandi our girl had a severe running stomach.

In this millennial age, we could call Nandi a foodie because she, unlike others, is not keen on observing her diet. So anything and everything works for her, and we all know how that goes. The exact food she might have eaten that caused this is yet to be understood, but some speculate grass. Good news ! she’s now under the medication and close supervision from the rangers. Her health is steadily improving as she recuperates in isolation.

Over the last decade, a strange disease has also been noted in one of Rothschild’s cousins, the Masai giraffes. This species of giraffes widely spread in Northern Tanzania and Southern Kenya have been observed to have a  rare kind of skin disease. The disease is characterized by large grey crusty lesions that form on different parts the giraffe’s body mostly around the legs and the neck region.

Giraffes with these lesions seem rather inert  and could be an easy target for predators such as lions. While it’s a feast for the Lions, the giraffes can’t help but feel offended because they have never been known to give in so easily. And while the disease has not been recorded in the Rothschild Giraffe, its causes and treatment are yet to be found.

Research is still being conducted on the GSD ( Giraffe Skin Disease) to determine the exact cause of the infection and if this disease is mortal to the species. In other news, watch your diet, stay healthy, don’t be like Nandi!

One minute to midnight

The world of conservation must have been thrown into a frenzy when Robert Langdon released his very own version of the “apocalypse” in his book- Inferno. ‘We are one minute to Midnight!’ is one of the phrases that are sure to catch your eye when you open the book. You see, this book could take some of us through an existential crisis, I know I did. So when you see the damage we humans have caused and are continuing to do to our planet, you begin to realize that we might be the cancer to our very own existence.

The phrase ‘We are one minute to Midnight’ was one of my Aha moments in conservation!

Up until then, I viewed the concept of Reduce Reuse Recycle as rote learning, a repeated commercial if anything. Then I came across the idea of Midnight being the hour of our fall when climate change won’t just be another abstract idea but man’s biggest nightmare. The human race has always suffered the stubbornness of habit; we begin to make a change when pain is involved. And while I don’t agree with Robert Langdon’s idea of wiping off half the human race, one cannot fail to see from where he’s coming.

To many the idea of Environmental conservation or conservation at large could be termed as an acquired taste, and I pray it is because then we know that the awareness is out there. What we choose to do with this valuable information is up to us to decide. At Africa Fund for Endangered Wildlife, we have made it a tradition to make sure this information is passed down from generations to generations for the last 21 years.

Last Friday, 7th June 2019, we hosted our annual Prize giving day marking the end of the Environmental Competitions 2019. Once again, students from all levels of education participated in different categories of art and essays. The spirits were high as the music and dance brought us all under one theme.

I do have one question though, who introduced the Odi dance? This person deserves presidential recognition because finding a genre that brings together both the young and old in laughter is not an easy fete.  And who said the young are not wise? Because I beg to differ. The winning artwork and essay entries this year were a product of pure wit if not intelligence.

Expectations were met, even by the toddlers gracing us with their heartfelt poems on preserving planet Earth. Let’s take a conscious step to conserve our planet. It doesn’t hurt to use that metal straw to save the turtles at sea neither does it hurt to plant two trees when you cut down one. I could go on and on about the festivities of this day, but that’s for you to find out next year when you join us. Long story short, it was a good day! Do live and let others live.

The WAVES Ecology Scheme

Wendell Berry, a recipient of The National Humanities Medal, once said, “The Earth is what we all have in Common.” A very simple, probably common sense knowledge, but very powerful. It’s a quote that spark our minds to realize ways that ensures posterity of the earth. This is where, Kerrigan Savage Waves Trust comes into play.

Kerrigan Savage Waves Trust (WAVES in short), decided to partner with Giraffe Centre in spreading the conservation message. They have concentrated their efforts to needy school going children. Since the year 2000, together with Giraffe Centre, we are running an ecology program. The target being all Class 5 children from 5 primary schools in the slums of Nairobi and form 1 students of Starehe School. We give them a fully paid ecology trip to wildlife Centres around Nairobi. Some the wildlife centres the students are taken to include, Giraffe Centre, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, A ROCHA Kenya, Mamba Village and the Nairobi Safari walk. All these places give visitors valuable information about conservation of the environment.

Students at the Mamba village during their ecology trip sponsored by Kerrigan Savage Waves Trust

Other than educating the students, they also fund school projects that are environmentally inclined. The interesting requirement for the projects they fund is that the projects have to be owned by the school. Which means that the students are to be fully involved in the implementation, the school should see and use the output to better their daily activities and the community should embrace it.

Art on the Conservation of Nature
“He that plants trees loves others besides himself.” —Thomas Fuller

So in a very big way, WAVES, are doing all of us a big favor in making sure that this commonly shared resource is being used well. efficiently for now and preserved for posterity.

Thank you very much WAVES for all the support you are offering in environmental conservation and education.



School Visits And Booking

Several times we have been asked what we do with the money you pay as entry to Giraffe Centre. Well, one of them is allowing school groups to visit the Giraffe Centre free of charge. While at the Giraffe Centre, they get to learn about the environment and its importance. To make sure the students grasp the concepts, we have the lessons customized depending on where the school is coming from.

To achieve this goal without interfering with the guests as they enjoy their day with us, we have come up with a procedure on how to bring the school groups to our premises.

To know the procedure, please click here to get the school booking letter

Kindly adhere to this to ensure that we serve you best.

How to Feed a Giraffe: A List of Recommendations

Feeding a giraffe can be a daunting thing… What do you do? What will the giraffe do? But, it is also an exciting experience! What a graceful and beautiful animal…and you have an opportunity to get up close and personal with it. For some, it gets pretty close, personal and intimate (#IKissedAGiraffe).

Whether you’d like to keep it purely professional or get cosy, here are some recommendations on how to feed the giraffe.

  1. Feed the giraffe one pellet at a time on its tongue, using your thumb and index finger to hold the pellet.
  2. Do not feed the giraffe with an open hand and do not stretch out your palm with pellets on it.
  3. Do not tease the giraffe, feed it when you have the pellets in your hands.
  4. Do not approach the giraffes without the pellets as they tend to headbutt.
  5. Do not feed the giraffe on any other thing other than the pellets or foliage provided by our Education Officers or Guides.
  6. Do not make any loud noises or sudden movements while feeding the giraffes. 
  7. Kindly note that the Giraffe Centre is a No Smoking Zone.
  8. Kindly allow our guides to assist you whenever in doubt.

Let us know how your experience was! Tag us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

A Brand New AFEW Website

Do you notice something different around here? That’s right, we have given our website a facelift.

More than that, it’s has been completely redesigned.

We want to share the heart of our organisation with you in a new and meaningful way. It took us designing it around our key mission and around you, our visitors and supporters. Now, you have the full sensory Giraffe Centre experience.

You will be able to see, hear and engage with us as we work every day to make a lasting impact on lives’ of students, schools and communities.

Here are some additional things you’ll see:

  • It is much easier to use across desktop, mobile devices and tablets.
  • Our new design gives you clear and easy paths to what you need. Whether you want to learn about our giraffe family, plan your time at our centre or download our manuals and posters. The path is laid out for you so you can easily get the information you’re looking for.
  • We’ve dedicated a page to our Conservation Education work, bringing what we do front and centre.
  • Want to support the Giraffe Centre? Support our work with students, teachers and communities and consider how your contribution will make a difference at our Donate section. Do you have a question for us? Visit our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) or Contact Us.
  • And finally, we have a new blog. This is where we will feature regular stories about our work and the various ways our staff and partners are working to save our beautiful planet. We continue to be inspired by the passion and dedication of the people who work with us, their stories will do the same for you. Visit often or sign up for Giraffe News, our newsletter.

We are quite proud of the journey we’ve walked with our digital strategy partner – Nendo. From audit to blueprint and now to execution and roll-out. They worked tirelessly to create this experience and help us learn to serve you better.

We trust you will enjoy the new look and feel of the Giraffe Centre website. Most of all, we hope it breathes new life into our conservation efforts. Anything we missed? Please let us know, there’s always room for improvement.

And of course, do share the news about our wonderful new site to your friends – it really is a way for you to support us.

To keep up to date with all the latest news from us, simply sign up to our newsletter.

Sincerely,
Christine Nyang’aya 
Chief Executive Officer,
Africa Fund for Endangered Wildlife, Kenya