Tag Archives: Drought

Meet Sarah the saviour of the baboon

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In my conservation work, I meet very amazing people. People whose sacrifices and heroic actions never get noticed, let alone being recognized yet they sacrifice so much to save animals in distress. I want to share with you the story of Sarah and Kalito. This is an extra ordinary story of a bond between a young girl and a baboon.

This story started last year during the height of the devastating drought that hit Eastern Africa. Many animals died of starvation. The old and the very young were the worst affected. Luckily, there were also heroes and heroines doing anything within their powers to lessen the suffering of these animals.

It all happened by coincidence when one day Sarah was on her way to the river to draw water when she saw an abandoned baby baboon, which had collapsed due to starvation. When she realized that the mother, unable to feed the baby, abandoned it to die, Sarah (possibly driven by her young maternal instincts) decided to save it from death and took it home to nurse it.

Sarah’s family, which comes from a dry part of Kenya that was hard hit by famine, relied on government relief food to survive. Sarah had to share her food with little baboon till it grew to the healthy sub-adult you see in this video.

In Kenya, it is not illegal to’ save wildlife’, but it is illegal to keep wildlife without a license, which I think poor Sarah doesn’t have. Very soon, KWS will separate Sarah and the baboon. As a clear sign of the strong bond that has developed between the girl and the baboon, Sarah emotionally pleaded with us to tell authorities to take her elder brother rather than separate her with Kalito! But will anyone listen?

I personally believe that this baboon should be playing with other baboon out in the wild, but the action of people like Sarah should be rewarded not punished. Their story should be told to inspire poor communities living with wildlife that conservation in not just for the rich! Anyone can do something locally to make this world a better place for all species to live in.

Keep tuned to this blog to see regular updates and a moving film on Sarah – Kalito story!

Iregi Mwenja is an Associate Scientist with the Institute of Primate Research and has been studying primates for the last eight years