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The Nova Pioneer Alumni Stories with Mark Bilahi an Animal Enthusiast

At Nova Pioneer, We are keen to keep up with our alumni who are in turn happy to share their post- school journey.

We  caught up with one of our Alumni from the class of 2020, Mark Bilahi an animal advocate and environmental enthusiast who has been volunteering at The Nairobi National Park during his gap year period.

Mark shares with us highlights from his experience volunteering at The Nairobi National Park.


What does a typical day for a volunteer at the Animal Orphanage look like?


 I start off at with tending to the baby animals. This involves warming milk and pouring it into the specific bottles for specific animals. The bottles are made to imitate their mothers. I then head over  to the bigger animals where I set up and replace hay, clean up and fill water ponds.

The rest of the day is spent in the park cleaning and generally taking care of the animals.


What are some of your best moments working at the Animal Orphanage?


 Taking care of the baby animals i.e. lion cubs  and dik dik.  Feeding large mammals e.g. lions and hyenas was frightening but exhilarating .Occasionally,  We  received juvenile animals it was always exciting to see them go back to the wild while full grown and healthy.


What’s your favorite animal?


That’s a tough one. Top on the list was the striped hyena.  I also felt a deep connection to a baby tortoise that really struggled fitting in. I took him under my wing and nursed him back to health in a safer environment. I also enjoyed being with the lion cubs since I got to watch them grow as they got their vaccines and their weights were measured.


Why Animal Advocacy?


I enjoy seeing how the animals in the ecosystem balance out each other with their own niches.

Some animals  will never acknowledge each other despite crossing paths but they’re all involved in balancing the ecosystem so if you take one out,one aspect will be overpowered just like when you take something from one end of a seesaw.


How Did Being at Nova Pioneer Bring Out Your Passion? 


We had Life skills lessons on Monday. These taught me a bunch of out of class skills that I apply on my day to day. 

Team work is one of the skills that has worked so well for me.


Which Nova Pioneer culture principle are you living  up to?


Greater Together. This is because the endangerment of these animals is something that affects all of us and I believe that we should work together in the conservation of animals.

Joy of Learning, I learnt a lot about taking care of these animals and because this is my passion I am always excited to learn something new from my supervisors and fellow volunteers. 


What do you think can be done differently in regards to animal and Environment conservation?


We should all take personal initiative in taking care of our environments starting with the basics of for instance recycling and /re-using plastics.

People should also take initiative to visit local National parks and conservancies.

Supporting the conservancies through donations, raising awareness and volunteering for clean ups. 


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