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UN Secretary General adopts a Lion at NAO
Date Published: 30 Jun, 2014
The UN Secretary General, His Excellency Ban Ki-Moon on June 28, 2014 adopted a lion cub in Nairobi Animal orphanage as a sign of support for conservation and efforts against the trafficking of animals around the world.
“I adopted this lion cub with the hope that all human beings and animals can live in peace and harmony,” Mr. Ban told a gathering at Nairobi Animal Orphanage, located within the Nairobi National park. “Human beings should know how to live harmoniously with our Mother Nature.”
Mr. Ban also said he adopted the six-month old cub, whose Kiswahili name Tumaini means “hope”, to show solidarity for the preservation efforts of the Kenyan people, and as a token of his concern for the Kenya Wildlife Service and park rangers.
“Wildlife crime is not simply a threat to animals,” Mr. Ban said. “With its links to organised crime and even insurgent groups, it is a major security issue.”
“The same routes used to smuggle wildlife and timber across countries and continents are often used to smuggle weapons, drugs and people,” he added.
The occasion was attended by among others Cabinet Secretary for environment, Water and natural resources, Prof. Judi Wakhungu, the Principal Secretary in the ministry, Dr. Richard Lesiyampe and KWS acting Director General Mr. William Kiprono.
The Nairobi Animal Orphanage (NAO) was established in November 1963 to nurture and provide refuge to the following animals:
1) Orphaned and abandoned young animals which cannot survive on their own in the wild
2) Seriously sick or injured animals whose survival in the wild is compromised
Animals confiscated from smugglers at points of entry or exit without proper documentation (including non indigenous species)
After nurturing, some of the animals are rehabilitated back to the wild. However, it is difficult to release certain species particularly the large carnivores (lions, cheetahs, leopards, hyenas) because of various reasons such as:
1) Inability to fend for themselves because hunting is learned from an early age from mothers
2) Familiarity with humans which would make them move towards human settlements
3) Homing instincts which would make them attempt to go back to their original home
For the animals that cannot be released back to the wild, the NAO becomes their permanent home. Non indigenous species rescued from smugglers are also not released into the wild.
The animals in the orphanage are used to educate and create awareness about conservation to learning institutions and the general public so as to help foster interest amongst Kenyans in wildlife conservation. .
The composition of animals in the orphanage depends on animals that are rescued. currently, the facility hosts indigenous and non indigenous species. these include:
The current acreage is approximately 2.36 Ha (5.8 acres) but the facility is to be expanded by an additional 4.70 ha (11.6 acres) to address congestion which is impacting on animal welfare.