Friday, March 20, 2009

Meru National Park

Meru National Park in Kenya has long been one of our very favourite places. It was here that I treated my first two rhino cases, which almost certainly led to a 40-odd year career in wildlife medicine. The chapter titled The Four-Gallon Enema in Wrestling With Rhinos describes one of those cases.

Since then the park had had its ups and downs, as I described in The Trouble With Lions, but it still a beautiful place to visit. This year we were not disappointed and saw more of the graceful, shy, lesser kudu than we have ever seen before. They are a miniature version of the greater kudu that is the emblem of the South African National Parks system, and also occurs in Kenya. The first of these two photos shows a greater kudu bull at Borana, a private ranch with a beautiful up-market lodge. We saw the bull in the second photo in Meru just a couple of days ago and this is a female just about to disappear into some bushes.
We also saw a lesser kudu calf alongside a reticulated giraffe as they watched us from across the Bwatherongi river.

Meru NP also has a wide variety of bird species, among the most spectacular of which are rollers, both European (this one twisting his neck to look up) and lilac-breasted. Yellow-necked spur-fowl are abundant, but one does not see them much after 8.00 am or before 6.00 pm when they emerge from the grass to gather gravel on the roads. I tried to get a pic on this blog,but my connection had a brain fart, so I'm using a friend's computer. I'll get one up later.

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