When I was little my mother used to tell us stories of the great ogre and the mighty giants. We would finish our chores very quickly and early to spare time for folk tales before going to bed. I would picture myself in the shoes of Manga (the victim in the giants’ story), and actually formulate strategies in my head of how I would have managed the situation.
This was very interesting. After Listening to the stories, I would then go to school and narrate to my friends. I would even draw a giant from my imagination.
In school, my lower primary teacher also narrated the story of a dinosaur. It sounded like it was a very interesting animal. If I was given a chance to walk for miles just for me to see it, I would have done so gladly. The experience of the world’s largest animal lied in the imagination conjured while listening to stories.
My teacher would show us a lot of drawings of skeletons of the dinosaur, but there was nothing more as proof of their existence. How sad? I felt like our generation was short changed by our ancestors. Why did they allow them to go extinct? Couldn't they have done anything about it? For the giants, I wasn't quite sure if I wished to see them. In fact, I would have been happier if I learnt that they were somewhere caged or restrained. Most of these stories would have been backed by some tangible evidence. Why did they fail us?
On 3rd February 2017, I got a chance to visit Maasai Mara National Reserve. This was my 7th time to this park. As it’s evident, this is the most rewarding park in Kenya in terms of wildlife, vegetation, physical features and birding. As usual, the park did not disappoint. I was happy to be there when the rainy season had just started and the green had been restored.
I saw a lion, lioness, leopard, hippo, hyena, buffaloes, elephants, several type of antelopes, a few birds (not so keen on them), and giraffes. This coupled with great company of fellow tour operators, made my experience more than epic.
Unfortunately, I am a sad man! Angry at myself and the society. I’m a sad man because we are failing as a generation. Our great grand children will be disappointed in us. We have become selfish, careless, greedy and unfair to Mother Nature.
Why do I say this?
On 5th February 2017, we visited the Rhino Sanctuary as we were heading out of Maasai Mara National Reserve. I had never seen a Rhino at this Park. I had only seen Rhinos at Lake Nakuru National Park, Olpejeta Conservancy and Nairobi National Park Safari Walk. We paid 200 Bob each on top of the normal park fees for us to be allowed into the sanctuary. Here, we met Benson. He volunteered to guide us as we experienced the magical moment of being close to rhinos. When he started talking, tears rolled down my cheeks. I could not help myself. He led us to where Koffi and Queen were grazing peacefully.
They were guarded by over 6 rangers (at least the ones I was able to count) camouflaged in the bushes. Queen is the mother of Koffi and unfortunately, they are the only Rhinos left in Maasai Mara National Reserve.
Where is our pride?
A park of 1,510 square kilometer has only two rhinos? This is serious. "So where is the father?" I asked. Benson took a deep breath which I took to signify that he was emotionally affected.
He told us that some time back, poachers sneaked in the sanctuary from the other side of the hill. Their sole purpose was to end the life of the helpless rhinos. When they shot and killed one of the rhinos, Koffi's father ran for his life after hearing the gunshot. From that day, he became vicious and violent. For this reason, he was transferred to the Nairobi National Park. Queen by default became a single mother/widow. From that day, Koffi has never seen his father again. What a tragedy?
I took pictures of these beautiful animals and started to wonder. Maybe the person who fired that shot is broke as hell as we speak. Probably they know no happiness in their lives. Probably they dint help themselves in any way even after selling the horn. Probably they were working for another bastard seated somewhere in a high office. Why did they agree to do the dirty job?
Queen and Koffi looked so friendly.
We could even move closer and comfort them. They looked peaceful. This is the main reason they accepted rangers in their circle of trust. What will happen when Queen grows old and kicks the bucket?
Koffi will be left alone and since there is no other lady rhino, he will die a senior bachelor. Then what? The population of rhinos in the Mara becomes zero just like that. I would not be surprised if I heard of a plan to poach Queen and Koffi.
Why are we doing this to our animals? Why are we letting our pride and heritage fade away? What are we going to tell our children? Do we want them to study or see their remains in archives? Are we sourcing for history content? Where did the spirit of conservation go to? Why are we this selfish? Why? Why? Why?
I am sad because it seems too late to prevent rhinos in the Mara from becoming extinct. However, it’s not too late to come back to our senses as a society. Let us embrace conservation again. Let us protect the endangered species.
We do not want to see our elephants going down the same route. Let us take care of our heritage. Our children will be grateful and happy with us. Let us support our fellow men and women in conservation. Let’s do the most we can to protect our wildlife.
Millions of people depend on this wildlife to place food on their tables. Our economy as a country is dependent on them. Let’s give privilege to the coming generation. Let us not have another Queen and Koffi situation. Lets hold our environment dear and shun poaching and intrusion.
Think about it!
Kindly click on "comments" below to comment