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1992 African Safari to visit the Ngare Sergoi Rhino Sanctuary

Patty Pearthree, March 10, 1992

Patty Pearthree, AAZK Bowling For Rhinos Coordinator
See Photo Collection

Dear AAZK Members,

Wow! How can I describe the most exhilarating experience of my life? As a zoo keeper, it is a dream-come-true to conserve wildlife both in captivity and in the wild. Thanks to AAZK and its Bowling For Rhinos fund-raiser for filling this dream for me and many others. This terrific sanctuary, with its dedicated professional conservationists and abundant wildlife, became our home for two weeks. No words can truly give the experience justice.

We left my house at 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 7, and arrived in Nairobi, Kenya, at 2 a.m. Sunday. After a few hours of sleep in the Intercontinental Hotel we woke to a first day of shopping in the Market in Nairobi. Around noon Ian Craig (owner of Lewa Downs) hosted us to a beautiful, hour long flight from Nairobi to Lewa Downs in the foothills of Mt. Kenya.

We were able to spend a few nights with each of the project managers and their families. This allowed us the opportunity to see each section of the project and how each part fits together for the same common goal. I believe Ngare Sergoi is successful because of the people who run it. They work together as closely as family. Each makes a living through cattle ranching at Lewa Downs yet each spent much of their time with the conservation of wildlife. When a security alarm goes off at the fence line, everyone pulls together to solve the problem. Peter Jenkins (Maru Park Founder) and Rob Bret (Kenya Wildlife Services) are only two of the many people we met who told us Ngare Sergoi was the best run sanctuary in Kenya. We were seeing the best of the best in action!

One of my most thrilling memories was standing next to Anna Merz, the Jane Goodall of Rhinos, as we watched a 4 day old black rhino calf nurse from its mother. Another was standing only a few yards away from four bull elephants who were feeding from a tree that we just watched them knock over. Within our first two hours at Lewa Downs, we saw more animals than we thought we would see our entire stay! It wasn't like a regular safari where you have to stay in a vehicle and watch lions that are bored with people. We walked for hours through Ngare Ndare amongst animals who rarely see humans. I saw at least 50 kinds of birds, bush babies, vervet monkeys, baboons, warthogs, cape buffalo, impalas, gazelles, gerenuks, zebras, waterbucks, kudus, elands, giraffes, elephants, hyraxes, mongoose, leopards, hyenas and lizards galore. We watched herds of 50 elephants as they fed amongst the trees nearby. We even rode horses next to the wildlife and became just another animal to the zebras and gerenuks. Snow covered Mt. Kenya could always be seen in the distance (even in the shower) which made for some outstanding sunsets!

We were able to walk along the fence line and talk with the native farmers whose crops are now safe from elephant raids due to the Bowling for Rhinos fence. One elderly woman said this is the first time in 20 years that she won't have to worry about her children starving. She can now watch the elephants in the sanctuary and admire them for their beauty rather than flee in fright and anger. Before Ngare Sergoi and Bowling for Rhinos, she never even heard of any farmers receiving any help from money designated to them and canŐt believe the generosity of Americans from so far away. Because 100% of Bowling for Rhinos money goes directly to the sanctuary rather than to administration costs, the natives see the benefits.

It was an incredible feeling sitting outside Ian Craig's veranda as the sun sets, overlooking the entire project knowing that I am helping save it by being a part of AAZK and Bowling For Rhinos. It's great to know that we can make a difference when we all pull together.

Missing Africa Already, Patty Pearthree

Did You Know? (Rhino Facts)
ENDANGERED means there's still time...EXTINCTION is FOREVER!
If you have any comments or questions about this website, contact Patty Pearthree, Bowling For Rhinos Coordinator ppear3 at gmail.com
You may call Patty (919) 678-0449 or via postal mail to 318 Montibello Dr., Cary, NC 27513
American Association of Zoo Keepers, Inc.
Administrative Offices
8476 E. Speedway Blvd, Suite 204
Tuscon, AZ 85710-1728
520.298.9688
For Technical
Questions
please contact
Herbie Pearthree
hpear3 at gmail.com