During her recent visit to Kenya, RCMRD Governing Council (GC)Chairperson Ms. Elizabeth Bonolo Khumotaka toured the Giraffe Centre to commemorate World Giraffe Day (WGD). World Giraffe Day is an exciting annual event marked on June 21. World Giraffe Day 2019 was dedicated to Twiga Tracker, the largest giraffe GPS satellite tracking programme ever in Africa.
Located five kilometres from Nairobi's City Centre, the Giraffe Centre offers visitors the opportunity to get up close and personal with these friendly giants. The tour provided Ms. Khumotaka who is also the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services an opportunity for personal interaction where she viewed giraffes with and even fed them. She was accompanied by Mr. Tshepo Mophuting, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services and Mr. Tshiamiso Oitsile, Director of Surveys and Mapping and member of the RCMRD Technical Committee.
As we walked into Giraffe Centre we were greeted by the towering forms of giraffes eating from the hands of human admirers. A raised platform that allowed us to interact with them at head height or we were able to stand at their feet and marvel at their lofty heights. Pellets of corn, wheat, grass and molasses were handed to us and the Giraffe gracefully took from our hands.
The African Fund for Endangered Wildlife Kenya (A.F.E.W.) also known as the Giraffe Center owners are the idea behind this non-governmental, non-profit organization founded in 1979. This idea was a noble endeavor to save the endangered Rothschild Giraffe which had lost its natural habitat to agriculture and human settlement. There were only 130 left in the wild. The giraffes were moved to Lake Nakuru National Park, Mwea Game Reserve, Ruma National Park and Nasalot Game Reserve. The Rothschild Giraffe population in Kenya has to date increased to more than 500. AFEW commonly known as the Giraffe Centre, located in Langata, Nairobi, is a non profit organization whose main objective is to provide conservation education to school children and the youth of Kenya.
The RCMRD team included Director General Dr. Emmanuel Nkurunziza, Mr. Paul Idude the Director of Common Services, the Business Development and Marketing Officer Mr. Byron Anangwe, Communications and Outreach Expert Ms. Dorah Nesoba, Protocol and Transport Officer Mr. Albert Mukabi and Mr. James Mutua from the Transport Section.
The team also visited the Giraffe Sanctuary whose entrance is opposite the centre. The sanctuary stretches all the way right to Nairobi National Park. Separated by Magadi road. It is home to many different species of bird and loads of warthogs. Our guide informed us that we could wander down to the Gogo River or view the Ngong Hills from the viewing platform. The many warthogs live in deep black holes, so he told us to be wary. In addition, the odd hyena, leopard and even lion makes its way into the sanctuary. Whereas the sanctuary is cleared if a lion is around, it adds a certain adrenaline rush.