In September, Lkaana Letipo saw eagles and vultures soaring in the sky while he was out with his goats. Curious he went to see what was there. He found ostrich chicks by the carcass of the female. On closer inspection, it was lions who had killed the mother.
Lkaana reported the matter to the park ranger Mike Lesil. Mike introduced him to me. In Samburu there’s a saying – ‘Samburu is a reserve where nature dies itself’ – but this time round, we decided to help these chicks by giving them a second chance to live.
We brought them to Samburu Intrepids Camp. The chicks were frightened at first and unable to run away fast, they would fall to the ground and stretch out their necks in an attempt to look invisible.
The two brothers and sisters weigh between 30-40 kgs. We weigh them once a week. They grow about 7 cm per week and from two months they put on 5 kgs per week or more.
Fight with the Baboon
The wound on the neck is two weeks old. The ostrich was injured by a baboon which was raiding our eco-garden. The baboon found the ostrich eating sukuma (Kale) and decided to
snatch it away from the ostrich. The ostrich became aggressive and tried to
keep the baboon away but unfortunately the baboon scratched it on the neck. We
applied Caraluma dumeri, a species of cactus whose sap helps the wound dry very fast.
The ostrich is now 1.7metres tall and very social.
Are they dangerous? NO! Ostriches typically avoid humans in the wild.
If approached they run away. However, ostriches may turn aggressive rather than
run when threatened, especially when cornered. They may also attack when they
feel the need to defend their offspring or territories. Similar behaviors are
noted in captive or domesticated ostriches, which retain the same natural
instincts and can occasionally respond aggressively to stress.
When attacking a person, ostrich kick with their powerful feet which are armed with long claws.
They are capable of disemboweling or killing a person with a single blow.
We hope to release the chicks back to the wild in future.
Strange but true
In 2001, 2002 and 2003 a lioness adopted three Oryx foals – at different times in Samburu national reserve.
Heritage Hotels (Kenya) manages one luxury camp in Samburu National Reserve – Samburu Intrepids Camp. A lush oasis on the banks of the great Uaso Nyiro River, this tented lodge is a delight to be in – deliciously cooled by the river breeze and the forest. Reports and pictures, Steven Tilas, Naturalist, Samburu Intrepids. ©Heritage Hotels Ltd, Kenya. http://www.heritage-eastafrica.com/