In the midst of massive thunderstorms over the Tsavo region on the weekend of the 6th of April a tiny baby gerenuk was somehow orphaned and found himself following a herd of goats owned by staff of Manyani Prison, which borders Tsavo West National Park.
The prison staff were quite unsure what to do with this strange new arrival, so whilst they decided the best course of action they kept the orphaned gerenuk in one of their livestock stables which the lonely little gerenuk had followed the goats into. The goats were obviously rather confused at this new addition to their family but soon became used to the baby gerenuk, treating him just like another goat until you could barely notice him huddled amongst the rest of the herd. After two days of living like a goat the staff had finally managed to make contact with the DSWT rangers in Tsavo and reported the story of this remarkable little antelope.
Responding to the report that morning the DSWT Pilot soon arrived at the Prison to find the gerenuk safely stowed in a small cardboard box awaiting his arrival. The gerenuk was calmly enjoying the attention of everyone as he gazed out of his box at the faces around him, before he was whisked to the DSWTs Top Cub aircraft to be flown back to base, lying calmly in the back of the plane all the way.
The word gerenuk comes from the Somali language, meaning 'giraffe-necked', naturally relating to this gangly little antelope's very long neck. Standing at roughly three feet tall at the shoulder when they are fully grown, gerenuks have a unique ability to stand upright in order to pick the best leaves from higher branches, using lumbar vertebrae which are much stronger than in many other animals. Gerenuks have sadly become near threatened on the IUCN Red List due to various factors but mostly due to the threat of bushmeat poaching and loss of habitat from human encroachment.
This wonderful new addition to the DSWT family has since been named 'Nuk' and he has settled in fast, feeding well whilst enjoying the company of all his new friends who are taking care of him at the DSWT's headquarters Kaluku in Tsavo.