Date Published: 26 Oct, 2009
Please refer the current edition of the Sunday Nation (November 8, 2009) in which it’s incorrectly reported that International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo adopted a cheetah at the Nairobi National Park.
For the record, International Criminal Court chief prosecutor politely declined an offer to name or adopt a wild animal at the Nairobi Animal Orphanage, citing the nature of mission in Kenya as well as the timing. The picture on Page 1 of the Sunday Nation is actually one of Moreno-Ocampo cuddling the famous cheetah named Sharon that is available for re-naming and adoption. This was during his private tour of the Nairobi Animal Orphanage and game drive at the Nairobi National Park. What is factual is that Mr Moreno-Ocampo showed his softer side during the four-day visit to Kenya when he took time off official business and spent the better part of the Friday morning enjoying the country’s world famous wildlife.
Mr Moreno-Ocampo indicated that he was particularly impressed by the foresight Kenya had in having a national park within earshot of a bustling city. “It’s amazing to have a national park within a capital city. It must have taken a lot of sacrifice,” he noted.The ICC prosecutor, who was accompanied by Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Hon Mutula Kilonzo, and Permanent Secretary, Ambassador Amina Mohamed, was taken on an early morning game drive by National Park Senior Warden Michael Wanjau.
Mr Moreno-Ocampo said he was fascinated by the sight of graceful giraffes, warthogs and two white rhinos. The two rhinos were among 10 others that were recently moved from Lake Nakuru National Park. The International Criminal Court chief prosecutor commended the park’s management for the thoughtfulness in developing the Impala Picnic site, which provides a 360-degree view of the whole park.
He was later taken around the Nairobi Animal Orphanage where he came face to face with the three-month cheetah baby named “Lightning Bolt” that was recently adopted by Jamaican Sprinter Usain St Leo Bolt. Mr Moreno-Ocampo showed keen interest in lions, especially ‘Agwambo’, the eight-month old lion also adopted by the Prime Minister Rt. Hon Raila Odinga the previous week during the launch of the Namayiana Wildlife Adoption programme by the Kenya Wildlife Service.
The Namayiana Wildlife Adoption Programme is one of the activities KWS is rolling out in the build up to the launch of an endowment fund to support Kenya’s wildlife heritage. The fund seeks to raise Sh7.5 billion (US$100 million) over 10 years to facilitate conservation of Kenya’s wildlife through challenges of climate change, drought, changing land use and high population growth. The fund is also meant to cushion wildlife conservation from over-reliance on volatile tourism trends. The kitty will support wildlife and community conservation efforts for generations to come, and will be used for security operations, research and monitoring, translocations, infrastructure, conservation education and other conservation requirements.
The animal adoption programme is the start of a long journey towards more reliable and consistent funding for conservation. All people of goodwill are welcome to join the programme as individuals or corporate organisations.