The Late Kiwete

The Late Kiwete

15/04/2023 Blog 0

From Farm Invader to Beloved Camp Resident: The Story of the Late Kiwete

Upon arriving at our camp, you are likely to be welcomed by a limping adult male giraffe named Kiwete. Despite his apparent disability, he is a resilient survivor of the conflict between farmers and giraffes along the Tana River. Kiwete was once among the frequent farm invaders, from the Garissa Giraffe Sanctuary which intensified farm invasions due to the worsening drought situation in 2020. But one fateful night, his troubles caught up with him when he found himself cornered by angry farm labourers in Bour Algy Area.

They knew him as a troublemaker and a serial invader, and they bayed for his blood. Thankfully, the Garissa Giraffe Sanctuary Rangers, together with our camp staff and Kenya Wildlife Service officers, were alerted and rushed to Kiwete's aid. The KWS officers shot in the air to disperse the angry mob and managed to save the helpless giraffe. However, Kiwete had already fractured one of his hind legs while attempting to flee by jumping over an irrigation canal. After waiting for Kiwete to calm down, the rescue team escorted him to our nearby Camp, where he became a permanent resident and the first beneficiary of our supplementary feeding program. Due to the lack of a permanently stationed Wildlife Vet Unit in Garissa, efforts to treat him the next day were futile. However, we eventually invited a team of Meru Wildlife Vets who assessed him and assured us that he would survive his injuries. As other giraffes came and went, Kiwete remained at our camp, limping around and endearing himself to our staff and guests alike.

Even the farmers who once hated him, came to visit him frequently at the camp and this was a clear sign that despite the negative impacts of the farmers-giraffe conflict he was no love lost between the locals and giraffes. But on that tragic morning of March 22nd, one of our staff members found Kiwete lying dead. We still do not know the cause of his death, but one thing is for sure - life at our camp will never be the same without him. Kiwete's legacy lives on in our hearts, a symbol of resilience and survival in the face of adversity. We will always remember him as a brave and beloved member of our camp, a reminder of the precious giraffes of Garissa.