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.
One month old chicks cared for by Lkaana
Lkaana helping at the eco-garden
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.
The bill has no teeth.The ostrich have wide nostrils which are very good for smelling
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. Weapplied Caraluma dumeri, a species of cactus whose sap helps the wound dry very fast.
The ostrich is now 1.7 metres 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.
It was an amazing trip! We lucked out with the weather – no rain. The other British couple (only 3 others in the group, the last a young German woman, all nice which made the trip enjoyable) had been on a similar tour with Letaka last...