News and highlights from the African animal keepers’ diaries
Shortly before the rains most birds are busy incubating their eggs.
Many are lost to predators. Our wild population of Blacksmith Plovers have found the perfect answer.
They don’t hide but lay their grey mottled eggs right by the road among some natural stones, so concealed, only a keen trained eye would be able to spot them.
Male and female take turns “sitting,” and the trick is: Do not attract attention by fleeing from passing cars, predators, even animal keepers! We discovered the eggs just a few weeks ago and anxiously await hatching.
They’ve arrived: The eggs hatched “on schedule” and just in time. Two perfect little mini plovers are the first of many expected “baby boomers” at the Conservancy this rainy season!
Trying to get a photograph, we were attacked by the entire extended plover family, dive-bombing our heads, protecting the young in an unequalled arial display.
Later the chicks were quietly moved away from the road to a “secret location” we have yet to find.
Every one loves Chucky the Orphanage clown.
He came to us a tiny trembling Orphan (right) and has grown into a handsome hog (left).
His tusks are also growing rapidly, but Chucky has stayed “nice.” He shows no signs of aggressive behavior.
Chucky continues to accompany visitors around, grunting, showing off his “home.”
March saw the return of our loyal friend and supporter Jack Hanna.
Jack and his wife Suzie led a group of American Conservationists to visit our Bongo rehabilitation project. While here our famous guest donated his time to visit with Kenyan schoolchildren. Together with our Chairman Bwana Don Hunt they took the kids around the Orphanage and delighted them with animal stories and the fruits and enjoyment conservation can bring to their lives.
Later Jack’s film crew joined as he explained the Bongo program to the youngsters and sat down with Bwana Don to hear some of the animal stories of olden times.
Jack Hanna is a profound supporter of the Conservancy’s bongo rehabilitation program. In order to view the progress of the first 3 Bongo selected for release into their ancestral natural habitat on Mount Kenya Jack had to hike for several hours with our game scouts. He was rewarded with a rare glimpse of two of the magnificent bulls.
Jack tells us highlights of this safari and his other recent African adventures will air on television soon.
They would never mingle in the wild, but anything is possible at our animal orphanage. Our new baby bongo Ian Raha is seen here whispering to Karen the bushbuck!!
A strange strong bond has formed between new baby bongos “Malaika,” “Ian Raha,” Kathryn (now a teen), Malaika’s dam, and the bushbuck Karen.
Both Kathryn and Karen act as “nannies” to the new baby bongos. We have recorded the same behavior in the wild among Eland and Impala antelopes. This allows their mothers to get some “down time” for themselves and the result is their excellent state of health.
Soon they will be joined by the latest arrival born a few days ago: Not yet named this latest Gift from God is shown here a mere 8 hours old!
It’s a beautiful baby bongo boy, and up for naming and adoption! Contact us for details, we can help with Swahili names of your choice.
Click the link below for updates:
Bongo Rehabilitation Program
Record class Rhino?
Headed for the Guinness Book of Records? Our white Rhino “Big Mama” is certainly trying!
That is if she doesn’t knock off her trophy horn accidentally first.
Rhino Horn consists of hair not actually horn. By constant usage the horn may wear down and develop a weak spot.
The last Rhino horn of giant size was that of the famous black Rhino “Gertie” who lived at Amboseli National Park in Kenya in 1950/60.
Much photographed she became famous and attracted many visitors to that area, before she disappeared. It was suspected that she may have fallen prey to poachers.
To prevent poaching at the Conservancy we guard our Rhinos by day. Every night these giants voluntarily return to an area adjacent to the Orphanage where they can safely rest.
Our very special thank you this month goes to:
Charles “Chuck” E. Simmons, godfather to our own “Chucky” for his loyal support year after year.
Julian and Jane McKeand who were with us from the beginning, for their very generous support and encouragement.
Mr. and Mrs. Gary Roubinek for adopting “Malaika.”
Jonathan Koppenol and Karrie Meyer for adopting “Isis” in support of our Cheetah breeding program.
Mr. & Mrs. Charles Ebeling for adopting and giving our bongo baby IAN his Kiswahili name Raha (Ian’s bliss).
Chuck Cavanaugh, our talented webmaster who has worked tirelessly and successfully at improving our fundraising methods.
Last, not least Xavier Capron for fostering our just born Caracal and also to all our loyal members that have shown their support by renewing their membership: Your continued encouragement and support makes it all worth while!