On 19th September 2015, KWS Officer Bernard Rono, who heads the SWT-funded Meru Mobile Veterinary Unit, reported having received a baby male reticulated giraffe estimated to be just one week old, which had been rescued by KWS rangers on the Meru National Park boundary. The fate of his mother remains a mystery, but the location where he was found happens to be an area bedeviled by human wildlife conflict.
He was flown to the Nairobi Nursery by Sky Vet, sparing him what would have been a gruelling and very hot seven to eight hour journey by road and being the first time our Keepers had been involved in the rescue of an orphaned giraffe, they were fully briefed about the necessity to ensure the giraffe’s head remained upright at all times throughout the flight. On this occasion the usual elephant-rescue tarpaulin had to be modified into a make-shift cradle and throughout the entire procedure the little giraffe was seemingly totally resigned to whatever lay in store for him.
Sitting quietly with his neck sticking out, he calmly surveyed the scene, making no attempt whatsoever to break free as he was carried and loaded onto the plane. Airlifting him to Nairobi involved a one hour flight, thus sparing him the gruelling journey. Upon arrival at the Nairobi Nursery, he was still amazingly trusting and even affectionate, happy to fraternize with the men who had rescued him - the veterinary team, the pilot, the Keepers, or whoever else happened to be passing by.
He has been named Kiko a name from Meru National Park, and he is now very much in the Nursery fold, not only with the company of his Keepers whom he loves but also some feathered friends in the form of Pea and Pod and our two latest little elephant arrivals. Both Weiwei and Loboito love to spend time under his belly resting their trunks on his side and neck, which he happily tolerates. Kiko is extremely playful these days with limbs splaying in all directions he hurtles around the car park and in the open forested glades letting off steam.
In March 2020, Kiko graduated from the Nairobi Nursery, moving to Sirikoi in the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. This move allowed Kiko to join another hand-raised reticulated giraffe, and to be closer to wild members of his own species, as his journey back to a fully wild life continues.