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Friday, December 21, 2012

Nairobi - Day 4

We travelled out to visit the elephant and rhino orphanage that is located in part of Nairobi's National Park. It is open from 11am - 12 noon for the public to meet the baby elephants, and watch them be fed enormous quantities of milk.
The elephants are found in the national parks around Kenya abandoned due to poaching, or because their mother has died in some other way. In the wild they are fed milk by their mothers for 2 years, and so will die if she is not present. At the orphanage they are given milk for 3 years - it is a human formula. The elephants also need a 'family' contact to survive, and the other elephants and the keepers are this at the orphanage. We looked into their pens and saw that the keepers also sleep with the elephants at night, each having a bed in the enclosures.
The elephants are integrated back into the wild when they are old enough, or the keepers think they will cope.
 



There are a few rhinos at the orphanage too. These are not social animals like the elephants, but have their own pens and routines too.
The rhino sleeping below is Maxwell. He was born blind, and so will never be returned to the wild but will live out his life at the orphanage.


Our next stop was the giraffe centre in Langata where we got to feed and touch some of these beautiful animals (one of my favourites!). The giraffe centre is involved in the breeding program to increase the numbers of the endangered Rothschild giraffe, and these in turn are then released into the wild when the time is right.
The giraffe below is Helen.



And Oliver and I had the pleasure of 'kissing' Lyn, one of the oldest giraffes at the centre.


We then visited the Bomas of Kenya. We sat in a very large auditorium and watched some traditional dances and an acrobatic performance.
Below is just a taste of some of the performances we saw.



There was also some villages set up to show how the different tribes live.
Below are some photos from the Maasai village.



On the way home I tried to capture the view we had of Kibera - one of the largest slums in the world. 
There are many organisations working in Kibera to improve the living conditions, and the Kenyan government has a plan (as of 2009) to rehouse and provide infrastructure for all the people living there.


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