As previously mentioned we would like to share globally more details about those that work for Conservation in Kenya through the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. This includes our Elephant Keepers, respected globally for the extraordinary work they do.
Over the next months we will not only be highlighting profiles of the men that share their lives with the elephants. but some of the not so glamorous jobs, and the more dangerous jobs, where men risk their lives to save wildlife. Our desnaring team members, and the mobile veterinary Units.
We will also profile those that work hard to save habitats including Kibwezi Forest and Amu ranch, coordinating the management and protection of these areas. Then of course there are those unsung heroes who work so hard behind the scenes to ensure that our field operations run smoothly. We look forward to sharing their stories throughout the year.
NAME: PETER MBULU
JOB TITLE: ELEPHANT KEEPER
A quiet and hardworking member of the Nairobi Nursery Elephant Keeper team is Peter. Having worked at the Nursery for 14 years he is a trusted and much respected team player who is from the Kamba tribe having been born in the Makweni District in Eastern Kenya. Traditionally the Kamba people are agriculturalists yet at school Peter dreamed of being an architectural engineer and excelled in science and geography. Growing up Peter had few encounters with wild animals as during his childhood the population in the area had grown to such an extent that there was no space for wildlife left. After school Peter travelled to Nairobi to work in Nairobi National Park as a casual labourer constructing buildings and units for the KWS. It was during this time that Peter began visiting his brother, who happened to work at the Nairobi Nursery. Through these regular visits Peter became fascinated by the little elephant orphans and soon applied for a job as an elephant Keeper. Like so many of the Keepers, in the first few weeks of the job, Peter was nervous of his new elephant family but once he began walking with them out into the forest and playing and feeding them he gradually gained his courage and learnt to love them like the rest of the team. He has since spent more hours than he can remember with both the elephants and the rhinos and although he respects both it is the elephant that he can truly interact with on a social level and really enjoy their company. Peter is amazed at how time-conscious elephants are and he is never surprised when he is sleeping in the stockades with the elephants, that three times during the night, dead on the hour, a trunk reaches up and pulls off his blanket to wake him up so he can feed them. Kithaka is a favourite of Peters at the nursery, having only arrived a few months ago, because of his very generous nature and his love of his human family.
In the last 14 years Peter has spent 6 years at the Voi Reintegration Unit and 2 years at the Ithumba Unit rehabilitating the orphan elephants that have successfully finished the Nairobi Nursery stage, but Peter gets greatest pleasure from the Nairobi Nursery as he can work with the baby elephants and care for them through their most difficult stage. Although the rescues of the orphans can be a very distressing time, Peter feels proud when rescues are successful. The hardest rescue for Peter so far, has been that of Tsavo in Tsavo East National Park who was a very strong calf that overwhelmed Peters rescue attempts for many hours until the team finally managed to capture him and bring him to the safety of the Nursery.
Peter fears that if Kenyas wildlife and natural habitats are not well-managed they might disappear forever. If Peter could make any difference to their future he would make sure that there are strong systems and people in place that could manage Kenyas wilderness successfully and make sure that animals have a right to live in peace and safety for generations to come.