Adapted from Coastweek November 19 – 25
Coastweek — The Down Syndrome Society of Kenya has adopted a unique animal ‘the Zedonk’ whose parents are zebra and donkey, at Nairobi Animal Orphanage.
The 10-year-old zedonk was brought to the orphanage from Maralal on October 3, 2010 after being released by the local community to Kenya Wildlife Service.
Prime Bank and Devki Steel Mills provided the sponsorship to the society for the adoption.
In Kenya, there are an estimated 45,000 people with Down Syndrome and the number is rising with the national average being one to every 800 births.
Down Syndrome is a genetic disorder caused that leads to developmental delays, learning disabilities and physical defects, including hearing disabilities, speech and heart conditions.
Erik Madete, the Down Syndrome Society of Kenya chairman, said parents with children suffering from the condition suffer from rejection by the public, lack of specialised support and lack of appropriate curriculum in schools.
Other corporates that have adopted animals include Kenya Tourist Board and medical insurance provider Resolution Health while celebrities include Jamaican Sprinter Usain Bolt, former world 110 metres hurdle champion Colin Jackson and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
The Animal Adoption Programme gives individuals and corporates a chance to sponsor and consequently adopt an animal at the Nairobi Animal Orphanage with 50 per cent of the sponsorship going to the conservation fund and the rest catering for the animal’s yearly upkeep.
Each animal is divided into shares based on the cost of its yearly upkeep.
Nairobi Animal Orphanage is famous for its world-renowned efforts to care for abducted, abandoned, old and injured wild animals.
With animals from as far as West and North Africa, the facility has wild animals of all kinds and species.
The animals are used for educational and research purposes.
Jamaican sprinter and 100m world record holder Usain St Leo Bolt anamed a three-month Kenyan cheetah cub ‘Lightning Bolt’ at the Nairobi Animal Orphanage and adopted it.
This marked the official launch of the Animal Wildlife Adoption Programme by the Kenyan Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga, who also named an eight-month lion ‘Agwambo’, his political nickname and adopted it as well.
The Prime Minister’s daughter Rosemary also named a lioness ‘Safi’ and adopted it.
Former 110m world hurdling record holder Colin Jackson named a four-year eland ‘Colin’ and adopted it during the function.
The eland is known for its leaping agility in the wild was rescued in Naivsha after its mother was killed by poachers.
The Animal 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$100 million) over 10 years to facilitate conservation of Kenya’s wildlife through challenges of climate change, drought, changing land use and high population growth.
The fund is also meant to cushion wildlife conservation from over-reliance on volatile tourism trends.
The kitty will support wildlife and community conservation efforts for generations to come, and will be used for security operations, research and monitoring, translocations, infrastructure, conservation education and other conservation requirements.
So far Sh22, 000,000 (US$ 293,000) has been raised for the fund.
This includes Sh20 million set aside by the Kenya Wildlife Service, Sh380,000 from KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Sh496,750 from the Cycle with the Rhino, Dr Scott Rogers Sh12,500. And 1,074,000 raised by KWS staff.
Expected contributors to the fund include the Kenyan government, bilateral donors, visitors, foundations, private companies and concerned Kenyans.
A new dynamic website to be launched soon has a provision for online donations.