Nairobi Animal Orphanage: Championing Wildlife Conservation Through Rehabilitation

Nairobi  Animal Orphanage is situated  in the Nairobi National park. According to the Kenya Wildlife Society, it serves as a treatment and rehabilitation centre for animals. The Orphanage is home to lions, cheetahs, hyenas, jackals, serval cats, rare Sokoke cats, warthogs, leopards,  monkeys, baboons, buffalo. and various  bird species. Each animal and bird at the orphanage has its own unique life story.  A story that will either inspire the spirit of wildlife conservation in you or simply entertain you. Here below are real stories  of 7 animals at the orphanage by Oroni Tendera

  1. Lioness Sarah Tumaini

Sarah is undoubtedly the most famous living lioness in Kenya. On 28th June, 2014, the United Nation’s Secretary general−Ban Ki Moon visited the animal orphanage specifically to meet her.  Patrick, her caretaker, allowed her to play with the secretary general. She did not disappoint him. So thrilled was the UN’s boss that he christened her, Tumaini, a Swahili name that literally translates to ‘hope.’ Sarah was further adopted by the secretary general  not only to symbolize his solidarity in conservation with Kenyans but also as  a sign of hope that animals and humans can co exist in harmony.

Sarah likes  ball games and is gentle with  her friends.

  1. Jan the Warthog

Animal keepers , Robert and Mutuku,  received  a report from people at Langa’ta Hospital about a baby warthog all on his own. When they went to the site, they advised the people to keep watch that night to see if the mother retuned. She didn’t, so the next day, 8th October, 2014, they collected the fragile, tiny piglet and brought her to the Nursery where she required special care. Mama orphanage named  her  Jan and with Patrick and Lawrence, helped look after her.

Jan grew stronger daily and loved all the attention, especially being fed from her milk bottle. She refused to eat porridge  from a dish even when she was several months old. She played outside  during the day and slept in a pen at night. One evening in August 2015, she refused to get into her shelter. Patrick had quite a time chasing her.  The following day, Jan was transferred to a bigger enclosure.  Currently, Jan is delighted with her home. Every evening,  Partrick  puts Jan to her soft bed of hay.

  1. Monkey Benin

On 31st January 2005, Kenya wildlife service officers confiscated an illegal shipment of primates in transit to Cairo. There were six chimpanzees and several monkeys. The chimps were taken to Ol Pejeta while the monkeys found a home at the Animal Orphanage. Benin was one of the saved monkeys. She  is playful and easy-to-like.  “She was moved here from our  Monkey village so she can watch visitors entering the orphanage,’’ explains Joshua, her Custodian. However, the delightful lady can  become mischievous and visitors are warned against getting her attention by holding up objects in front of her.

  1. Leopard Talek

Talek is the pride and joy of Nairobi orphanage.  He was brought to the orphanage on 11th September,2006   at a tender age of 2 weeks.  Dai, a passer -by,  had found her all alone near the Masai Mara Talek gate. He informed the Narok council and the KWS authorities. It was later decided that  the  weak and pitifully-crying leopard cub  be brought to the Animal  Orphanage for hand-rearing. He drank milk from a bottle every four hours and soon began eating steak mince.

Now, at the age of 11, Talek is powerfully-built and friendly

  1. Sokote cats: Mr Anabuko and Mrs Sokoke

A set of Sokoke cats occupy the fifth enclosure of Nairobi Animal Orphanage. Slender, hard-muscled trunk and long legs  give them  the appearance of  skilled predators.  Their coats are single-layered ,dense and  have blotched tabby pattern with ticked hair occurring in shades of brown. The cats heads are  flat at the top with rounded ears and almond-shaped slightly slanted green eyes.

The pair  of cats were brought  to the orphanage in March  2003  from  Mt Kenya Safari Ranch where Don Hunt breeds  them. According to their caretakers, the two cats were wild during their early days at the orphanage. They would spit at their caretakers and slap them with their paws. However, within a month, they became friendly.

Mrs Sokoke likes  to sit at the roof of their house to watch visitors while Mr Anabuko  derives pleasure in rubbing himself against his custodians and standing on his hind legs for attention. “They know the voices of those of us who take care of them, and when they hear us talk nearby, they call out to us,’’says one of their caretakers.

  1. Cheetah Derrick

In July 2014, a sick 3-week-old cheetah from Wajir was admitted to Nairobi Animal Orphanage. To save his life, he was accorded specialist medical attention for several months. Derrick cried sometimes during the painful injections but as time advanced he seemed to understand that he was being helped to recover.

On the eve of his 1st Birthday, Derrick was moved  from the Animal Nursery to his present enclosure where he lives peacefully with two other cheetahs−Danny and Diane.

  1. Peace the Serval Cat

Peace was brought to the Animal Orphanage on 25th June, 2010 when he was less than two months old. He readily took milk from a baby bottle. Mewa, his caretaker, gave him a blanket, hot water bottle and a soft toy. As  Peace continued growing, he developed interest in watching other animals when he went out to play and never cried when he was put to bed at night.

Now fully-grown, Peace does not mind being held but cannot stay still for long.