The idea for the development of Ensessakotteh, a Wildlife Rescue, Conservation and Education Centre took hold in 2006.
In December of that year, a Consultative Meeting on Captive Wild Animals in Ethiopia was held at The Agricultural Research Institute in Addis Ababa. One of the meeting’s recommendations was that a facility be created to provide care for wild animals that had been confiscated from illegal trade or found orphaned or injured. At the same time, Born Free Foundation was invited to the Italian Embassy in Addis to meet two orphaned lion cubs (Andrea and Janu) that were being cared for by the Deputy Head of Mission, Marco Tornetta and his wife Chantal. Could Born Free provide a sanctuary home for these lions?
As options were being investigated Marco introduced Born Free to his close friend, His Excellency President Girma Wolde-Giorgis and, being very supportive of wildlife and habitat conservation, the President secured the necessary land upon which to build the Wildlife Rescue Centre. This would become the new home for Andrea and Janu, along with other rescued wild animals. Born Free Foundation Ethiopia was then established and a Memorandum of Understanding drawn up with EWCA to develop the Centre and support conservation in Ethiopia.
The Centre became known as Ensessakotteh which means Animal Foot Print in Amharic, and it is the first of its kind in the region.
Ensessakotteh is not a zoo. It only houses wild animals in need, be they orphaned or confiscated from illegal trade or ownership. Each animal that enters the Centre is carefully assessed to see whether full rehabilitation and release back to the wild is feasible. Those that cannot be released are provided with care for life at the Centre.
Ensessakotteh also offers an escape, a peaceful haven for visitors who can enjoy the beautiful surroundings that still retain much of the naturally occurring wild fauna and flora. Part of their experience will be to learn about the rescued animals and their individual stories. Visitors will be encouraged, via education programmes, to appreciate how each of us has a role to play in protecting the natural eco-systems we all depend on.
Stephen Brend reports of the rescue of a tawny eagle at our centre in Ethiopia