Finally, I made it to the orphanage!! After much trial (ok, not really, it was a free trip), I finally managed to go to the animal orphanage! We went as a group of around 150 people (bet the animals were startled to have so many visitors at one time). Anyway, guys were so excited to go see the animals, and it kinda caught on with the animals (or rather excited is not the word, but more agitated). I must admit, I was thrilled to go for that trip (sounds so high school!…but I was) but managed to keep my “Is that it?” look throughout.
First, just before the entrance to the orphanage, there is a wide space that people usually picnic on(which is not a wise venture as there are monkeys, and worse still baboons on the loose. As I’ve been told many times, baboons are the most fearless of the apes (yes, including humans) and as such can sneak up on (or just walk up to) unsuspecting people and snatch their food). Once inside, there are tiled paths that lead to the various enclosures.
Walking straight down (or up, depending on your perspective) you would come up to the lion enclosure. Now, I’m sure you all know by now I’m a man basher, but I wish to make a valid point based on fact. Lions are lazy buggers!! Their lives revolve around sex and food, and in between they don’t do much. Obviously when we arrived, the lion was asleep while the lioness were pacing near the fence, I think agitated because of the number of people and noise. The orphanage has many lion enclosures, some with many lionesses in it, or they could have been lions who (or which) weren’t fully grown as yet. The exclusively lion enclosures stunk (or stank)(I should probably take a refresher English course because this is becoming ridiculous!). The retched smell kept me away from them and I went off to see the other (non-chauvinistic) members of the animal society.
Interestingly, I found that Kenya has many wild cats, as opposed to the common belief that we only have lions, cheetahs and leopards. One of which is the cerval. I had personally never seen one before then and its pretty much a big cat with pointy ears. Its striped and has the appearance of a common household cat. It did a lap around its cage, and content to see that it wasn’t a taxidermist’s handiwork, I moved on to the leopard enclosure.
If I could grade the enclosures, there were community service, county jails and then maximum security. The leopard was in a fortress, more to keep it in, than anything out. It had a raised platform with a fence around it that was topped with electric wiring. The first time I passed by its enclosure, it was just chilling on the platform. Looking all relaxed and regale. What attracted me the second time was some deep guttering sound coming from its enclosure. The guide told us it was a warning sound that they make when they feel threatened. It wasn’t really a roar like a lion’s but rather effective I should think.
Cheetahs were next on the list. They are such elegant creatures. If you met a cheetah in the wild, it would be more scared of you than you of it. They are exquisite (I want a baby cheetah!!!). But my problem with the enclosure was that they didn’t have space to run. They are the fastest runners on the planet, give them space to do what they do best.
Then on to the monkeys. They are never the main attraction of any zoo, but one of them made my day. Some guys were walking in front of me heading towards what looked like a Columbus monkey’s enclosure (Columbus are the pretty ones with the long black and white fur). Unfortunately for them, it took up a threatening pose as they drew closure, and just before they reached within its grasp, they discovered…there was no cage!!it was outside, in the open and should it have felt to attack them…well. Lordy, how they freaked out!! It was hilarious! Priceless.
For the rest of the walk, I was able to spot a jackal (had to search for it like those “find the items in the pic” games), mongoose (of which the people around me had a fascinating discussion on the construction of its cage)(Is the plural of mongoose, mongeese? Seriously need those classes), a male ostrich (that wasn’t as impressive looking up close), a crocodile (with a painfully small pond), a type of red monkey that is the fastest monkey in the world at speeds of 55km/hr (this may not look like much compared to other animals, but compared to other monkeys such as baboons, chimps e.t.c. its almost supersonic) and a buffalo (I wish I had a video of that. It sat almost perfectly still and guys just went around saying how it was just a cow…hilarious!!i know you don’t get, but everything sounds funnier in Swahili!).
So I came to the end of that delightful trip, tired but feeling rather accomplished. Interesting fact; the animal orphanage was the initiative started by some European kids in the ’80s. And we are (I am) eternally grateful that they performed this little service for us, that earns us ridiculous amounts in revenue as a country…bet they are feeling right down silly, kicking themselves, and all grown up!!
Animal Orphanage; check