Meet Eric, Naivasha’s friendly giraffe

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By VERAH OKEYO
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In Naivasha, where certain species of animals are being poached to extinction for food, an orphaned giraffe walks freely on the road, interacting with people freely.

Eric, is a one-year-old giraffe whose family was killed by poachers.

The residents have come to accept Eric, who often wanders on Moi Southlake Road in Naivasha and freely feeds on leaves handed to him.

He is so used to people that he chews unperturbed when motorists stop to take photographs, sometimes too close to him.

When thirsty, Eric walks into the Elsamere Conservation Centre, where he is given water and allowed to browse on tall trees in the compound.

Susan Chepkemoi, an educator at Elsamere, said Eric is one of the many animals that have found safe havens at centres like Elsamere.

“There is a ready market for meat here with all the desperation, so animals are getting poached a lot, said Chepkemoi, whose work is teaching about sustainability at Elsamere.

A friendly giraffe named Eric browsing in

A friendly giraffe named Eric browsing in Naivasha. PHOTO | VERAH OKEYO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Wileli is another conservancy located near Elsamere and is home to colobus monkeys, which are hunted for their skin.

Ironically, the very people who have accepted Eric are the same ones who robbed him of his family and kept him away from his natural habitat.

Housing developments and farming on Moi Southlake Road continue to have a negative impact on the environment.

The area is home to some of the world’s largest flower farms, which have been blamed for the irreparable damage on Lake Naivasha.

The labour-intensive work on the farms has attracted scores of unskilled workers from all parts of Kenya.

The growing population around Naivasha is encroaching on animal habitats such as Hells Gate National Park.

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