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CONSERVATION EDUCATION INTERPRETIVE SKILLS

Conservation education always sounds easy “talking about the advantages and importance of conserving the environment” anyone can easily do it until you find yourself in front of a group of rowdy incorporative pupils, then you’ll realize its never that simple.

I recently attended the Northern Kenya Conservation Education Working Group (NKCEWG) workshop which expounded my interpretive skills, got practical solutions on how best to improve public speaking skills which I believe will be of immense value to you.

Icebreakers and Attention Getters

Icebreakers and attention getters are important to capture attention at the beginning of a lesson and throughout the program. An introduction sets students up for success by communicating the agenda, goals, and tone for the program. It builds interest in the program content and establishes rapport with the audience. This can also be where you introduce your attention getters for the day so students know what to do when you use them.

Sample Introduction:

Warm greeting

Agenda for the day

The theme for the day

First set of instructions – limit to 3 things to do at a time

Introduce attention getters

Attention Getters:

“When I say Water, you said Shed!” “Water!”… “Shed!”

Repeat after me: clap 2 times, wait for kids to mimic clapping sequence. Repeat with various clapping patterns. Can do this with stomping, whistles, animal sounds, etc.

“Everyone catch a bubble in your mouth”- wait for students to puff cheeks out with mouth closed.

Listening check: “If you can hear me touch your head.” Wait for students to touch their head. “If you can hear me cross your fingers.” Etc.

Knowing Your Audience

Relate to your audience based on their needs, to keep engagement and set students up for success. Build rapport with them from the beginning. When engaging your audience, remember:

RMP – Relevant, Meaningful, and Personal.

Various Student Ages

  • Adults: Can only handle 7 +/- 2, relates back to themselves, change is tough- help make it easier, use various methods to teach (like kids!). Don’t forget to use humour. Challenge them, or include teamwork.
  • Preteens – teens: What others think about them is important. They can only handle 5-7 pieces of info at a time. Their brains are still developing – starting to understand generalization, deductive reasoning, and problem-solving. They are learning to think about abstract concepts. Use visuals, and a structured program is helpful. Remember different learning styles when engaging this group.
  • Ages 5-9: There can be a lot of self-doubt at this age. Engage both the body and the mind at the same time when teaching. They are developing better motor control. More self-centred thinking. Be clear and direct, very short instructions, short attention span/mix it up, can use puppets and games, be fun and silly, use Total Physical Response (TPR): adds physical movement in with language. Using physical movement to react to verbal input: reduces student inhibitions, lowers effective filter.

 

Coaching Styles – Which One Are You?

  1. Teacher

You are an expert in the field and coach by instruction, giving feedback, and demonstrating skills. You work from your knowledge and experience and focus on skill-based issues like performance skill. You coach on an ongoing basis over an extended period to build a broad but specific skill set. You often create development programs that lead coachees through a sequence of learning steps over time

2. Parent

You are committed to the long-term development of the coachee. You take a directive approach because of your hierarchical position or superior knowledge base. You may know better than your coachees, but your goal is to help coachees achieve equal status and effectiveness.

You are prone to giving career advice and take a strong interest in the coachees growth along many dimensions. You typically coach over an extended period of time and see coachees evolve significantly.

3. Manager

Your job keeps you very busy so you coach only in response to a specific need, focusing on the isolated skill or task you think needs improvement. You typically have a hierarchical relationship with the people you coach.

Your experience and expertise often make you more knowledgeable than coachees, so you tend to make performance observations, give feedback, and set expectations. You expect to see short term improvements.

4. Philosopher

You interact with your coachees only occasionally, and when you do, you are mainly concerned with the development of the whole person. Your guidance comes from a position of superior knowledge, expertise, or moral certitude – though your advice is not typically spiritual in nature. You often coach by telling stories or relating experiences from your own life. You enjoy using “words of wisdom” to assist coachees.

5. Facilitator

You have a long-term interest in helping coachees develop, and you focus on specific skill-based growth needs. You are often more highly skilled than coachees, but prefer that coachees work through issues themselves. You see your goal as helping others help themselves, and you refrain from giving advice or exercising authority. Often you are a team member or peer of those you coach and have a mutual coaching relationship.

6. Counsellor

You take a broad view of your coaching responsibility and strive, through a series of regular sessions, to help coachees develop the full spectrum of their capabilities. You believe in self-development, so you are encouraging and supportive, but refrain from telling coachees what they should do. You may not always be a subject matter expert and not necessarily has highly skilled where coachee wants help. Your role is to guide others through self-discovery.

7. Colleague

You often have a peer relationship with the coachee, and your preferred mode is to act as a thought partner or sounding board for your coachee. You generally coach only when asked, and focus entirely on specific skill-based needs. You may tell a coachee how you have done something previously, but you mainly coach by asking questions, listening, and thoughtfully responding to questions in order to help coachees solve problems for themselves.

8. Mentor

You serve primarily in an advisory role. You are generally older and far more experienced than the coachee, and you act as more of a shepherd – gently guiding in the right direction, choosing questions to help others discover a path

for themselves. You coach by example, setting a model with your own work and life. You coach infrequently because of your position or stature, but your coaching is likely to be very impactful.

Adapted from Effective Coaching (Bacon,1997)

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Next step after Graduating in the field of Conservation

After long days of studying, long hours classes, countless sleepless nights, challenges, obstacles, successes, failures, blood, sweat, and tears, the feeling of graduating from college is truly surreal.

One works so hard for what feels like a long-awaited day and then suddenly it dawns and then it feels like it went by so fast. In the blink of an eye, your entire college career is over and you’re on to the next chapter in life. It’s a pretty big deal.

Naturally, graduating gives us a plethora of emotions. It’s as if all of the fluctuating emotions we’ve experienced over the course of our college years bottles up into one huge melting pot of feelings, and it all just bursts on graduation day, but what to do next is normally the bit that hits us later and most often are times we find ourselves back up country (ushago) having sent numerous application letters for internships to the various conservation organizations with no response.

Well, I believe that’s what we’ve all gone through especially those of us who took up courses in the field of conservation. I’m in various conservation-related WhatsApp groups where the majority of my target audience are youths who have completed courses in this field eager to be engaged in any conservation organization for field exposure but have no leads.

Maybe having gone through the system I can assure you that it’s never easy but there’s always a starting point. From my personal experiences, I believe you can pick up a thing or two and at the end of the day get the much-desired exposure as you wait for a response for the numerous internship applications you’ve sent,

There are conservation organizations that I wish you could be part of either as a student or a volunteer if you’ve just cleared your course. This exposure made a great impact as a foundation for my career in the field of conservation. Just to highlight a few of them;

Friend of Nairobi National Park

FoNNaP is a non-profit, membership-driven organization dedicated to assisting the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) in nurturing and preserving biodiversity within Nairobi National Park and the broader ecosystem to which the park belongs. We have noticed an upsurge of pressure on the survival of wildlife in the past years and here FoNNaP comes in.

FoNNaP works closely with KWS and communities adjacent to the park to develop and implement conservation and rangeland management projects in and around the park. Based at Langata Link (office No.1) Langata South Road, FoNNaP has been instrumental in the maintenance of rangelands south of the park keeping open sections of the wet season migration routes and dispersal areas historically used by wild animals.

FoNNaP remains committed to a cohesive conservation strategy allowing wildlife and community members to co-exist in the existing dispersal areas. Measures have been taken to mitigate human-wildlife conflict through the Lion Entry Deterrent (LED) Systems project. This project concurrently helps to conserve the environment as it uses solar-powered lights. FoNNaP members participate in the bi-monthly game count in and around the park to monitor the wildlife trends and movements for accurate documentation. They also benefit from informative meetings and activities such as lectures, walks or films each last Saturday of the month as part of our awareness campaign.

Members of the public are kept informed about the happenings of the park through FoNNaPs newsletters circulated online, interactive blogs, Facebook page and twitter handles. The funds raised from membership registration and merchandise sold such as T-shirts, Shirts, Books, Calendars, Wall hanging e.t.c. go towards supporting the FoNNaP office administration, supporting KWS security services for the park, lion lights installation, lobby, advocacy and educational activities. All of FoNNaPs activities are lots of fun!

Get close and personal by joining them

For details on how You can get involved or for further information, contact FoNNaP on fonnap1@gmail.com. To access the fonnap blog, visit http://fonnap.wordpress.com. On twitter, visit http://twitter.com/fonnapkenya.By telephone, FoNNaP can be reached on +254723690686

Friends of City Park

Friends of City Park is a volunteer organization that started in 1996 in response to various challenges faced at City Park including land grabbing, cutting of trees, garbage dumping and other pressures that kept on degrading the park. Our Dream is to ensure that every Nairobi Resident has Access to Green Space. Our five-year Vision is to see City Park clean, safe and accessible to all, especially children. It will have cultural, educational and nature activities. It will be conserved in spirit, content and function as a bio-diverse and historic park with secure boundaries.

Activities undertaken

  • Advocacy through education and publications: Over 250 activities at City Park including monthly nature walks, pollinators garden, educational treasure hunts for children and young adults, river clean-up, Nai ni Who events, tree planting.
  • Policy and Government support: to Nairobi City County Government, the National Museums of Kenya, National Environment Management Authority and the National Lands Commission in protecting, preserving and publicizing the park.
  • Scientific Inventory: In conjunction with experts from the National Museum of Kenya, we have conducted four baseline surveys of flora, fauna, river conditions and land tenure.
  • Monitoring and prevention of land grabs, habitat and cultural degradation by reporting of the destruction of the forest, loss of land, encroachment, publicity about infringement, coordination with government and demands for rehabilitation.
  • Training the next generation: Training nature guides and tourist guides and educating hundreds of children about nature.
  • Publicity: Working with the media on issues on conservation.

HOW TO BE INVOLVED

Please join our free mailing list and activities detailed on our webpage.

You can give a small contribution, even of KES 1,000/- to support us.

Please come for our free guided walks every first Saturday of the month.

Buy our guidebook. This is an excellent resource that talks about the park’s facilities, history and wildlife @ksh450

Tell everyone in your network about this incredible island of Beauty.

Contacts: Email: cityparkfriends@naturekenya.org, Phone: 0739200216

Website: http://friendsofcitypark.org

Nature Kenya

Nature Kenya—the East Africa Natural History Society (EANHS)—is Africa’s oldest environmental Society. We were established in 1909 to promote the study and conservation of nature in eastern Africa. Located at the National Museums of Kenya grounds, membership entails Unlimited free entry to Kenya’s National Museums and museum sites. My favourite activity since joining in 2012 free weekly guided nature walks with experienced and professional ornithologists.

Nature Kenya members today continue their active interest in natural history by joining working groups for Birds, Insects, Mammals and others, and action groups including Friends of Nairobi ArboretumFriends of City Park and the Nature Kenya Youth Committee.  The Society continues strategic research collaboration with the National Museums of Kenya, the host and home for the Society. A monthly newsletterannual magazine, regular e-mail notices and social media presence keep members and the public informed.

Volunteering with Nature Kenya

Volunteers are very valuable individuals who volunteer their time and expertise to provide an important service to Nature Kenya and help further its mission of connecting nature to people. In turn, Nature KENYA gives support that is useful in gaining valuable experiences and a sense of personal satisfaction. Nature Kenya committees and staff are only too happy to receive the assistance of volunteers from time to time. Volunteer appointments may last from 3 months to 1 year, although no specific time commitment is required

Activities at Nature Kenya and Museums of Kenya 

  • Enrol for an internship at the Zoology department and rotate through the Mammalogy, ichthyology and ornithology units for a great exposure from the staff 
  • Join the Tuesday bird ringing crew that happens every Tuesday and end month at Karara – Arocha in Karen and learn about Birds 
  • Join the Birdwalks to different locations led by Nature Kenya youth committee and also join the potluck activities. 
  • Volunteer with Nature Kenya youth committee during their awareness programmes in schools and hiking activities, tree planting on a different location 
  • Participate during the Biannual waterfowl counts within wetlands in Nairobi and on rift valley lakes 
  • Attend activities at the arboretum and free talks held by various scientists and organised groups at the Museums. 
  • Be a nature Kenya member and enjoy a variety of privileges inclusive of free museum entries around the country and participation in their activities.  

If you are interested in joining as a volunteer write to office@naturekenya.org

 

Wildlife Clubs of Kenya

I believe we have all been members of WCK at some point I normally ask my friends from campus who are yet to get absorbed or settled in the field of conservation ” are the schools around your home members of WCK?” most often the response is that they are not certain or have no idea. Guess its the same with you isn’t it…

You can become an ambassador start a wildlife club in the schools surrounding your neighbourhood, register the schools and get the pupils engaged in the various diverse programs that WCK has; from tree planting and starting up nurseries, conservation education and outreach programmes the list is endless and you have the potential and capacity through the support of the organization.

More than 2 Million youth have benefited from conservation education programmes since its inception and most people holding government and non-government jobs in tourism and environment-related disciplines owe their interest from being members of WCK in the youthful age.

WCK has over 3000 registered institutions and seven regional offices demarcated along broad thematic areas: Rift valley-alkaline lakes ecosystem, Nairobi-savannah grasslands ecosystems and Eastern-semi arid ecosystem. WCK encourages schools, colleges, individuals and organizations to be members and support conservation efforts. Member schools and colleges learn and participate in conservation activities.

You can register the schools and inspire the young pupils, organize for educational trips to various parks and by doing this you will have raw field exposure.

Membership benefits

3 issues of Komba-WCK magazine

Reduced fee to KWS Kenya National Parks and Reserves

Free lectures and video/slide shows

Borrowing wildlife video films at reduced rates

Memberships rate accommodation at WCK hostels

WCK roadshows by the Mobile Education Unit

Individual (Associate) and Cooperate members also enjoy the above benefits save for reduced fee to KWS Kenya National parks and Reserve as this is limited to school groups.

Interested parties are requested to contact us at the address below

The Membership Clerk

Wildlife Clubs of Kenya

PO BOX 20184,00200 Nairobi

winnie@wildlifeclubsofkenya.org/windwiga@yahoo.com

 The list of conservation organizations in East Africa is quite long, the exposure you require is closer than you think. Feel free to share your experience with us and help us inspire a fellow youth 

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Dealing with Wildlife poisoning in Kenya- Scavengers dilemma

Scavenging animals in Kenya are on high alert. What used to be a delicacy has recently become their death bed.

Wildlife poisoning has emerged as one of the major threats affecting our wildlife populations in Kenya. Aggrieved persons have resorted to using poisonous chemicals in retaliation for human-wildlife conflict cases, for example, lemme take you back to December 2015 when two Lions from the famous Marsh Pride and 15 White-Backed vultures were poisoned alongside other species in the Maasai Mara ecosystem as a result of retaliatory killing due to conflict.

Wildlife poisoning is a silent killer that indiscriminately kills large numbers of animals and is harmful to human and ecological health. A poison is any substance that can cause severe organ damage or death if ingested, breathed in or absorbed through the skin. The use of poison to kill wildlife is silent, cheap and easy and has, therefore, become a common method used in the illegal control of damage-causing animals, harvesting fish and bushmeat, harvesting animals for belief-based uses, poaching for wildlife products, and killing of wildlife sentinels.

Poisoning of birds, including migratory species, occurs year-round in Kenya’s rice schemes and in other water bodies. Fish are also harvested using poisons and both poisoned fish and birds make their way to local markets where they are often sold to unsuspecting customers with potentially grave impacts for human health.

The Wildlife Conservation and Management Act 2013, has identified wildlife poisoning as one of the major wildlife crimes that is punishable by law. Poisoning has had a profound negative effect on our carnivores: lions, hyenas, leopards, cheetahs, and wild dogs, and on birds of prey: vultures, eagles and other scavengers. Aquatic species including fish have also been affected due to water pollution with poisonous chemicals.

Common Chemicals Used to Poison Wildlife in Kenya

There are a number of toxic chemicals such as agro-chemicals, plant-based extracts and heavy metals which have been used in the illegal poisoning of wildlife in Kenya. Over the last 8 years, the majority of poisoning incidents have been carried out using agro-chemicals which can be broadly classified as pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, acaricides. The most commonly used pesticides are organophosphates, pyrethroids and carbamates.

During the period between 2009 and 2017, some of the wildlife poisoning incidents and chemical compounds identified are summarized below.

Year Month Species affected Number affected Chemical (Compound identified) Location County
2009 Apr Lion 1 Carbamate Maasai Mara Narok
2009 Apr Vultures 40 Carbamate Maasai Mara Narok
2010 Vultures 20 Amitraz (Acaricide) Maasai Mara Narok
2011 Feb Fish Mass die off Pyrethroid Maasai Mara Narok
2011 Elephant 1 Ouabain (Plant extract) Siyapei Narok
2014 Lions 5 Carbamate Ngurumani Kajiado
2015 July Lions 1 Carbamate Laikipia
2015 Nov Lions 2 Carbamate Maasai Mara Narok
2015 Nov Vultures 15 Carbamate Maasai Mara Narok
2016 Feb Elephants 2 Carbamate Maasai Mara Narok
2016 Elephant 1 Ouabain (Plant extract) Tsavo Taita Taveta
2017 May Elephants 2 Pyrethroid Ngurumani kajiado

Table1; Summary of chemical compounds, wildlife species affected, location and year (KWS 2017)

Some of the clinical symptoms to look for in Suspected Poisoned Animal

Clinical symptoms of poisoned animals Generally, animals display similar symptoms of poisoning depending on their taxa. Poisoned mammals may exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Paralysis
  • Muscle spasm
  • Vomiting
  • Severe dehydration
  • Drooling of saliva/ hyper-salivation
  • Increased tearing/ hyper-lacrimation
  • Lethargy
  • Disorientation
  • Convulsions
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

Poisoned bird species may exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Unable to fly
  • Paralysis
  • Convulsions
  • Drooping wings
  • Blood in the droppings
  • Skin irritation
  • Drooping dead
  • Mass-die-offs

Poisoning of animals around Mara ecosystem is on the rise and drastic measures need to be put in place to curb the menace. On 22nd November a concerned friend of mine who runs a tour firm www.namnyaksafaris.com sent me the photo and video of a tawny eagle which evidently was poisoned, this was at Oloolaimutia and I advised him to report the incidence to the local authority which he had already done.

Credit www.namyaksafaris.com

 

 All wildlife poisoning cases requiring treatment should be handled by qualified veterinarians registered by KWS

If you ever come across Poisoning cases that require rehabilitation  in Kenya are to be referred to KWS Nairobi Animal orphanage or to KWS approved orphanages some of which are listed below among others;

Nairobi Animal Orphanage

Tel: 020 2379407, 020 6002345,  020-2379408, 020-2379409, 020-2379410, 020-2379411, 020-2379412, 020-2379413, 020-2379414,

Call Center: 0800 597 000 or 0800 221 5566

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Tel: 0202 301396, 0733 891996

Raptor Rehabilitation Center Karen, Nairobi

Tel: +254721969640/ 0723829529

For further reading refer to Response Protocol to Wildlife Poisoning Incidents in Kenya February 2018

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INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE VS FORMAL EDUCATION IN REGARDS TO CONSERVATION

Indigenous or local knowledge refers to a complete body of knowledge, know-how and practices maintained and developed by peoples, generally in rural areas, who have extended histories of interaction with the natural environment. These sets of understandings, interpretations and meanings are part of a cultural complex that encompasses language, naming and classification systems, practices for using resources, ritual, spirituality and worldview. It provides the basis for local-level decision-making about many fundamental aspects of day to day life: for example hunting, fishing, gathering, agriculture and husbandry; food production; water; health; and adaptation to environmental or social change. Non-formal knowledge in contrast to formal knowledge is handed over orally, from generation to generation, and is therefore seldom documented.

 It is the dynamic way in which the residents of an area have come to understand themselves in relationship to their environment and how they organize their folk knowledge of flora and fauna, cultural beliefs, and history to enhance their lives The indigenous peoples of Kenya live in areas that are rich in biodiversity. The knowledge of indigenous peoples is often enshrined in rituals, ceremonies and magic, thus underlining how culture, language, religion, psychology and spiritual beliefs cannot often be separated from their understanding of the natural world. This knowledge has passed through generations and assures the survival of the forest environment, its component parts, and the people and cultures dependent upon it and the ecosystem as a whole.

Despite all these positive advantages of indigenous technical knowledge advantages, there are some which are major setbacks to biodiversity conservation, as portrayed through various Kenyan cultures and cultural practices through totems, superstitions, and myths. Some practices promote the killing of wildlife species thus formal knowledge in biodiversity conservation is essential and critical in suitability in that formal education in biodiversity conservation promotes sound cultural practices.

The Kenya government’s efforts to incorporate indigenous knowledge into the formal education curriculum in the post-colonial era has partly been aimed at confronting power, authority, and prestige of western knowledge which subordinates indigenous forms of knowledge in formal schooling. This approach is one of the ways in which the government has tried to empower its citizens to take control of their own development.

 Incorporating indigenous knowledge in formal education signifies the recognition of the power of the role of both the individual and collective agency of change that is found in the potential of using multiple forms of knowledge in solving current problems inflicting Kenyan communities. The pluralistic approach to knowledge systems requires that different forms of knowledge and methods be authenticated and embraced in the school system and that no one system is used as a benchmark for other knowledge forms. Yet the integration takes place in the school environment that already privileges western epistemologies against indigenous epistemologies, a condition that continues to create hegemony in Kenya’s school knowledge construction. This has often created contradictions between what is intended by the curriculum reforms and what is actually implemented in classrooms, resulting in incongruence between students’ indigenous experiential knowledge and formal school knowledge. 

Therefore, attempts to indigenize the curriculum in Kenya have met with little success and have been implemented superficially. The expansion of western formal education created a situation where traditional education in colonized societies was portrayed by colonial powers as ineffective in managing biodiversity, lives and welfare of colonized peoples and communities.

Teachers’ attitudes toward and beliefs about the value and potential contribution of indigenous knowledge to sustainable development define how they integrate this form of knowledge into the formal school curriculum.

 Some of the challenges in the integration of indigenous knowledge in formal education arise from teachers’ lack of faith that such a curriculum can actually contribute significantly to addressing the socio-economic needs of the country. Teachers’ inability to integrate indigenous knowledge in their practice may also be resulting from limited knowledge on what aspects to integrate. Although teachers are entrusted with the responsibility of fostering indigenous knowledge in the learning institutions of Kenya, there is no guidance on what aspects of culture are to be integrated into the curricula.

Although some indigenous knowledge is lost naturally as practices get modified or are left unused for long time periods, the current rate of loss can be attributed to modernization and cultural homogenization. The current educational systems that believe macro-level problems can only be addressed through the global knowledge pool and the slow growth of institution supporting grassroots innovations are also obstacles therefore to avoid more cultural erosion its essential for indigenous knowledge to be integrated into formal education curricula.

Kenya has sound existing research and academic institutions that could potentially play a vital role in promoting, recognizing, developing and protecting indigenous knowledge as well as incorporating it successively with formal education systems within its curriculum. This would water down to the grassroots level, ultimately leading to economic benefits.

Indigenous peoples and local communities have much to contribute to global discussions concerning sustainability and have a right to participate in matters that may affect them. As proponents and practitioners of both biological and cultural diversity and biocultural diversity, indigenous peoples and local communities have unique insights into possible solutions that can promote biodiversity conservation both locally and globally.

RHINO HORNS BACK ON THE MENU IN CHINA- BAN HAS BEEN LIFTED

China has lifted a quarter-century ban in the trade in Rhino horn apparently for scientific and “medicinal” use of the rhinoceros horn. China state council must be celebrating at the moment while I wonder  if the world declares that their treasured Panda also has medicinal value same as the tigers parts they have allowed to be traded on probably they would feel the pain that conservationists in Africa (other than the South Africans who farm white rhinos to crop off their horns) are feeling.

The rhino horn is primarily made up of keratin, the same substance that makes up our hair and fingernails but has been associated with westerners myths, that white rhino is used mainly by the Chinese as an aphrodisiac and to treat flu and convulsions.

Rhino horn costs around $65,000 per KG making it more valuable than gold and many times more valuable than ivory

In 2016 China banned the sale of Ivory thus reducing the ivory trade only to lift the ban of 1993 in Rhino horn that is said to allow tiger and rhino parts to be used for medicinal and scientific research and cultural exchanges underscoring that the trade will be “Strictly controlled” and the products must come from animals in captivity which will definitely further threaten the survival of especially black rhinos which are critically endangered especially here in Kenya, and just to drive the point home there’s no physical difference to tell apart between a rhino horn bred in the wild and that from captivity.

Opening the trade and creating the demand for the ready market will definitely place pressure on supply, risking sourcing moving beyond farmed white rhinos in South Africa to the remaining endangered population especially on black rhinos here in Kenya.

It’s about time that we local Africans the custodians of our unique wildlife heritage take a genuine stand in conserving our rhninos for posperity because we are the same culprits who will shoot down these magnificent iconic species to earn a few coin, its also about time that consumers of endangered species products understand that the decisions they make buying of this wildlife products to impress someone affects the lives of ordinary people thousands of miles away in countries they may never visit.

Only when the buying stops, the killing can too. “To love all animals is to love all life,to love all life is to be rooted in your spirituality” April Peerless

THE LOSS OF A SPECIES NORTHERN WHITE RHINO DILEMMA

 

The first time the full impact of the reality of the plight of the Northern White Rhinos was on a documentary “OL Pejeta Diaries” I was aware before on their decline but the magnitude of their extinction closing in this fast, its such a shame on humanity.

The sole threat to Rhinos is human greed! Rhino populations are facing serious threats from illegal trade, primarily poaching for ‘traditional medicine” from some far East countries, habitat loss and political conflicts, Humans have been the main driver of the population’s decline,

The first time I meet up with Sudan was during an educational field trip while in campus, I was excited and anxious to meet him but after I heard of his story from his keeper James Mwenda who know happens to be a very close friend of mine, I literally broke down, White Rhinos are social, friendly and have a charismatic charm in them that you can even pet and have a close picture with them as you pet their backs “only those in semi-captive environments and that are used to being in close contact with humans’ don’t you dare try this in the wild while on a game drive.

The gentle Sudan February 2018

“We cannot be the generation that wipes out Rhinos”

 The northern white rhinoceros, or northern square-lipped rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum cottoni), is one of the two subspecies of the white rhinoceros. Formerly found in several countries in East and Central Africa south of the Sahara, it is listed as Critically Endangered. This subspecies is a grazer in grasslands and savanna woodlands. As of November 2015, there are only three rhinos of this subspecies left. They all belong to the Dvůr Králové Zoo in the Czech Republic but live in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya and are protected round-the-clock by armed guards.

        HOW DID WE GET HERE??

 The zoo population is declining, and northern whites have rarely reproduced in captivity. There are now only three northern white rhinos left. They all belong to the Dvůr Králové Zoo in the Czech Republic but were transported to Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, Africa.They arrived at the conservancy after an air and road trip on 20 December 2009.

The three rhinos (1 male and 2 female), under constant watch by specialists and staff, lived in specially constructed bomas with access to a 400×400-metre paddock area, allowing them to acclimatize to their new surroundings.

These three are:

  • Sudan, a 45-year-old male (as of 2018), who was caught from the wild in Sudan at 3 years old.
  • Najin, a female, was born in captivity in 1989. She is Suni’s half-sister and mother of Fatu.
  • Fatu, a female, was born in captivity in 2000. She is the daughter of Najin.

To prevent any unnecessary injuries they might inflict on each other while interacting in their fenced area, and give their horns an opportunity to regrow to a natural shape (as their front horns had grown bent by much rubbing against enclosure bars in captivity), all three rhinos were sedated and their horns were sawn off. This also made them less vulnerable to the poaching that drove their species to near extinction, as the horn is what the poachers are after. In place of their horns, radio transmitters have been installed to allow closer monitoring of their whereabouts. They are protected round-the-clock by armed guards. Poachers have been selling their horns for $50,000 per kilo.

Since May 2010, the northern white rhino male Sudan was moved from the initial holding pens to a much larger 700-acre (2.8 km2) semi-wild enclosure. There he roams among many African animals, including several southern white rhino females and many plains animals. On 26 October 2011, the females were coaxed into the larger enclosure. Because Najin was overly protective of her daughter Fatu’s chance at mating, one of the two moved back into the smaller enclosure two weeks later.

Until 2011, the progress of this attempt at saving the northern white rhinoceros was documented on the initiative’s website; and their life in Ol Pejeta Conservancy is commented on the Conservancy’s website. Several documentaries are in the works, including an episode of Ol Pejeta Diaries entitled “Return of the African Titans” for Oasis HD Canada fall 2010, and a follow-up half-hour episode to follow. This translocation is also the subject of a BBC Last Chance to See special entitled “Return of the Rhino, presented by Stephen Fry and the zoologist Mark Carwardine; the TV program reported at the end that the two pairs of rhinos were “flirting.”

On 25 April 2012 and on 27 May 2012 Suni and Najin mated. Pregnancy of the female rhinos was monitored weekly. gestation period takes 16 to 18 months, so in January 2014 the Conservancy considered Najin not pregnant, and a male southern white rhino from Lewa Wildlife Conservancy was put to Najin and Fatu enclosure in Ol Pejeta to at least intercross the subspecies. To achieve this, both female northern white rhinos were separated from their male counterparts, which prevents them, for the time being, from producing a pure northern white rhino offspring. In 2015, however, a test conducted by Czech specialists revealed that neither of the females is “capable of natural reproduction”.

At the end of 2015, scientists from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, San Diego Zoo GlobalTiergarten Schönbrunn and Dvůr Králové Zoo developed a plan to reproduce northern white rhinos using natural gametes of the living rhinos and induced pluripotent stem cells. Subsequently, in the future, it might be possible to specifically mature the cells into specific cells such as neurons and muscle cells, in a similar way in which Katsuhiko Hayashi has grown mice out of simple skin cells. The DNA of a dozen northern white rhinos has been preserved in genetic banks in Berlin and San Diego.

In 2017, Ol Pejeta Conservancy teamed up with Tinder to launch a fundraising campaign in order to recover this species. Therefore, they created a Tinder account for Sudan, the last standing male of northern white rhinos, and the app’s users could swipe right to make their donations for the development of breeding methods

 The biological clock is ticking, as this species is at the brink of #extinction he is carrying the fate of his species. Humans are 100 percent to blame for what’s happened to the rhino populations across the planet, rhino horn is worth more than cocaine in the far East #iworry #killthetrade #killthemarket #killthedemand #rhinohorn has no medicinal value it’s made primarily of keratin same as our fingernails


THE LAST MALE NORTHERN WHITE RHINO DIES


Monday, March 19th, 2018- Sudan passed on at age 45 while being treated for age-related complications that led to degenerative changes in muscles and bones combined with extensive skin wounds, he was unable to stand up and was suffering a great deal the veterinary team from Dvur Kralove Zoo, Ol Pejeta and Kenya Wildlife Service made the decision to euthanize him.

In memory of Sudan

 https://g.co/kgs/wB8VUA

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RESCUING OWLS IN A SOCIETY THAT VIEWS THEM AS A BAD OMEN

 

Saving owls in a country that believe them to be harbingers of death seems impossible. But the Naivasha Owl Centre, founded in 2014, not only rescues and rehabilitates owls but Kenya’s biggest and most bellicose birds of prey the late Sarah HigginsSimon Thomsett, and Shiv Kapila, against all odds, set up the Centre and have successfully handled over 190 birds.

Throughout history and across many cultures, people have regarded Owls with fascination and awe. Few other creatures have so many different and contradictory beliefs about them. Owls have been both feared and venerated, despised and admired, considered wise and foolish, and associated with witchcraft and medicine, the weather, birth, and death. Speculation about Owls began in earliest folklore, too long ago to date, but passed down by word of mouth over generations.

Come to get up close with an Owl

In my culture, it was believed that owls were harbingers of death. If one saw an owl or heard its hoot, someone was going to die. In general, owls are viewed as harbingers of bad luck, ill health, or death. The belief is widespread even today, across various cultures and communities in Africa the story is quite similar and it’s going to take a while to change.

But owl mythology is very important today, especially to conservationists, because of myths and beliefs about
owls play a major role in the killing of owls today, especially in regions where the owl is considered evil

                      WHAT IT TAKES TO RESCUE RAPTORS

This all started back in 1986 with a little Barn Owl called Full stop. Sarah used to talk fondly of the first encounter with a giggling smile, He was brought to Sarah Higgins house in Naivasha with a badly damaged wing. When the vet said he could mend the bones but the bird would never fly properly again. Sarah build an owlery. From then, people started bringing in injured, sick and orphaned owls. And from there branched into treating raptors like eagles, kites and vultures, and other large birds such as pelicans and stocks.

Rescued fish Eagles

In 2014 Sarah, Simon Thomsett and Shiv kapila got together and formalized the Centre under a trust now known as the Kenya Birds of Prey trust.

The aim of the Trust is to rehabilitate all birds into the wild. The vet treats them, operates if necessary, and they stay there until they are fully recovered. There are a series of stages that birds pass through while they’re in their care, starting with treatment in the clinic and progressing to larger cages in which they can fly. They end up being trained in the rehabilitation area using falconry techniques.

It’s no easy job especially when it comes to releasing them due diligence has to be done, otherwise, it can be considered abandonment and neglect. These birds need to hunt and defend their territory to survive. The Trust’s falconers work with them, training them to hunt with the skill they’ll need to make a life for themselves.

Come meet Caro the First female falconer in East Africa

The Naivasha Owl Centre currently hosts 23 owls, 18 raptors (including three Crown Eagles), a vulture and two Marabou and Several of these will have to remain at the Centre but the majority will eventually be released once they have been brought back to total fitness. In many cases, falconry techniques are used to get them fit, as an unfit bird won’t be able to catch its food and will thus starve to death.

Rescued Vulture

The late Sarah Higgins lived on the shores of Lake Naivasha in Kenya’s Rift Valley, where she run a rescue Centre for owls and raptors, The Naivasha Owl Centre is one of the two arms of The Kenya Bird of Prey Trust. The Centre’s clinic is currently in need of medical equipment and the Centre would also like to build improved accommodation for the birds.

Please support her legacy, if you would like to donate, please do so through the Kenya Bird of Prey Trust, PO Box 358, Naivasha 20117 or you can email naivashaowls@gmail.com or visit

Website: www.naivashaowls.org for more information

I have been a regular visitor to the trust over the years and the amount of work the dedicated team carries out on a daily basis is phenomenal and outstanding, its actually open for the public feel free to walk in given that its conveniently located along the Moi south lake road next to the Lake Naivasha country club, a stone throw away from Karagita center, You can actually get a rare opportunity to hold an Owl see the beauty of the magnificent birds, it goes a long way into changing people’s perceptions of the species and actually their doors are always open for school groups they get to have a lecture on owls by the experienced falconers

Owl challenge, visit the rescue center tell us about your experience and don’t forget to send us a photo posing with an owl

ELEPHANT CALF RESCUE

 

            CONSERVATION IN ACTION! THE DAVID SHELDRICK WILDLIFE TRUST

Many Kenyans in the streets of Nairobi have no idea about the dedication and conservation work undertaken by the Sheldrick trust which is today the most successful orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in the world and one of the pioneering conservation organizations for wildlife and habitat protection in East Africa or even that there are elephants within Nairobi National Park, the park is too small to house wild elephants because they require quite a huge home range bearing in mind their destructive way of feeding and their huge appetites but there are elephants here, young little baby elephants this are orphaned elephants rescued victims of mainly poaching and human-wildlife conflict in terrible state of emaciation and distress, this one of a kind rescue center for orphaned elephants is called The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT).

Mud bath at the Nairobi elephant orphanage

My encounters with the DSWT started back in 2012 while I was on internship at the African Fund For Endangered Wildlife (AFEW) commonly known as the Giraffe Center undertaking  Tour Guiding and administration from the Wildlife Clubs of Kenya on a weekly basis I would get to accompany young children for  fully funded ecological trips majorly from underprivileged schools in the marginal areas or children’s   home by AFEW, I used to look forward to bringing these young children and five years later I got to experience firsthand the phenomenal work the rescue teams undertake on almost a daily basis, It was on a Monday 6th March 2017 Tsavo East National park. I was in the company of students from the Wildlife Clubs of Kenya who were undertaking various diploma courses in the field of conservation ranging from wildlife, tourism and tour guiding. I was really enthusiastic to not only inspire but equip the trainees with knowledge, skills, and attitudes to enable them to identify flora and fauna in the various study areas. 

We had left the Voi safari lodge for our afternoon game drive when we noticed something quite peculiar at a water point. As we came closer I saw that it was an elephant calf trying to find its way out from the muddy water. For hours we watched as elephants came to drink water. As they left, the little one tried to follow but could not make he was out. His little feeble legs and the slippery edges could not allow him to come out by himself. The safari drivers who came by told us that the calf had been there for now almost two days, and as much as I was super angry at them for not reporting the incident I knew leaving him there was not an option.  

Bahati drowning in the muddy water, trying to breathe through his trunk as the rest of the body is submerged

I called Joyce Musimbi – a friend of mine who was my classmate back in campus, and an education officer at Tsavo east. I explained to her the situation on the ground, and she told me to stay put as she communicates with the patrol and rescue team from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. 

I called her after a few minutes later to check on the progress, and the call went straight to voicemail. This is quite the norm due to the poor network coverage in the wilderness, and my next speed dial was to Edwin Lusichi, the head keeper at the Nairobi nursery.  

Bahati after the rescue

He contacted the team at Tsavo and called back to tell me that Joyce had already contacted them, and that they are on the way by this time the little calf was now at the center of the pond and only the tip of the trunk could be seen emerging from the muddy water. It was then that I realized that the calf was drowning. I couldn’t just sit back and watch. It was an open water area and I sprang out and into the water and we got the calf out. 

Bahati after the arrival of the DSWT rescue team

At this point, the rescue team had arrived and by the time we got the little one out they were there to take over. I then received a call from Angela Sheldrick, who sounded quite shaken about the news, especially learning that the calf had spent a night alone in the pond. I assured her by sending pictures that though he was quite emaciated, and had very red eyes, he would survive. The vets and rescue team took over, and I felt some relief as they ferried him off as darkness fell. Knowing he was in safe hands. 

He was taken to the orphanage the next day, and I checked in on him regularly. In the company of David Wanyama – a senior lecturer at the Wildlife Clubs of Kenya College – we went to the orphanage to check on him in the late afternoon before nap time.  

Bahati at the Nairobi elephant orphanage

Together we discovered he had been given the name ‘Bahati’ which is Swahili for luck – for he truly was the lucky one to survive such an ordeal! He was already showing signs of recuperation though he was still feeble and his eyes were still reddish. He also had a blanket on him to keep him warm, and after taking his milk he was tucked in and he fell asleep.

Nap time for the little one

  

After each orphan rescue, the long and complex process of rehabilitating begins at the nursery (elephant orphanage) nested within Nairobi National Park.  It is here that the milk-dependent elephant calves are cared for and healed both emotionally and physically by the dedicated team of elephant keepers. Each elephant remains at the Nursery until they are ready to make the journey to one of two rehabilitation stockades at Voi or Ithumba in Tsavo East National Park, this is after the calves are no longer milk dependent. The Ellie’s are moved to Tsavo after three years.

This second phase of rehabilitation at the Tsavo stockades proudly proceeds and sees to each elephant orphan’s gradual transition back into the wild herds of Tsavo, taken at each individual’s own pace over a period of up to ten years, in which time they grow to be part a much loved human-elephant family, finally living their lives free in the wild.

To date, the DSWT has successful hand-raised over 190 infant elephants and has accomplished its long-term conservation priority by efficiently reintegrating the orphans back into the wild.

One of the rescued orphan with a spear wound on its head

The amount of work put in place by the dedicated team of keepers is phenomenal and since its inception the DSWT has delivered outstanding results by leading the way in single species conservation, and in doing so has evolved into a multi-dimensional conservation body ready to meet the growing challenges faced by Kenya’s threatened wildlife and habitats, with the value of ivory and rhino horn increasing due to an insatiable demand, both elephant and rhino are under threat like never before.

To combat these devastating poaching activities which are in a constant rise, the DSWT operates nine fully-equipped Anti-poaching units working together with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). It sustainably supports the Kenya wildlife service in managing and protecting the country’s wildlife and wild habitats through many different projects including electric fencing and infrastructure as well as water resource. DSWT embraces all measures that complement the conservation, preservation, and protection of wildlife. These include; enhancing community awareness, addressing animal welfare issues, providing veterinary assistance to animals in need.


The elephant nursery located within the Nairobi National Park is easily accessed through the central workshop gate opposite Multimedia University. At the moment it is home to around 28 orphans and is open to the general public and tourists for one hour every day strictly between 11-12 for only 500 Kenya shillings or 7 USD fixed rate for residents and nonresidents. Set a date to visit these orphans and hear the stories behind each of them how they became orphans ending up being hand raised by this team of dedicated keepers. If you take part in their journey by fostering one of them you will be posted on the keeper’s diary until it has been released back into the wild.


Education, awareness and global action are key to stopping the demand for ivory which is fueling the slaughter of elephants. Consumers of these ivory products (white gold) need to be engaged in such awareness campaigns for them to understand that the decisions you make of buying of these ornaments to impress someone as a gift affects the lives of ordinary people thousands of miles away in countries you may never visit.


TRIBUTE TO BAHATI


Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass or glory in the flower, we will grieve not rather find strength in what remains behind. We have a unique status among things on this planet, and morality only applies to us. little Bahati who was less than two years months later at the orphanage we lost him, I feel disappointed and pissed off at  the tour drivers who saw the poor calf stranded in the pool as their clients took pictures of him and just left  had taken the initiative to report the incidence to any of the KWS rangers or call KWS Hotline number 0202587435 or to anyone at the lodges  where they spent the night he could have been rescued much earlier and have better chances of survival

Unless someone like you care a whole awful lot about the plight of elephants and rhinos, Nothing is going to get better it’s not, when we begin to see the animal kingdom as our kindred spirit to which we belong, we may then begin to love and care for it in our little ways, the sole threat to elephant populations is human greed, habitat loss and political conflicts in some parts of central Africa follows soot.

Success in conservation depends on how ready people are to do conservation: conservation cannot be left to conservation organization conservationists” conservation is far more than about wildlife.

Our wildlife is our heritage and it’s about time that we ordinary citizens take lead in matters of protecting our unique wildlife heritage.


BECOME AN ELEPHANT AMBASSADOR


Everyone has a stake in conserving elephants and rhinos, 40 years ago we had all the warning signs for the Rhinos today we have them for the elephants if we don’t stop the killings its eventually going to be just us humans left as the last animals, we must come together if we are to successfully educate and inform people as to the existence of the illegal ivory trade, the devastating toll it is having on elephant populations and through that, call on governments from around the world to take proactive steps to tackle this illicit trade and save  elephants.

We cannot afford to be the generation that wipes out elephants to extinction. The loss of elephants in the wild, an iconic, intelligent and social species, would not only make the world a lesser place it would have serious environmental and economic repercussions.

When the buying stops, the killing can too, you can become part of the change visit the nursery at Nairobi and once you hear their stories you will understand where my inspiration comes from, join our global community for wildlife warriors and ambassadors through petitions, public marches, joining conservation organizations and  social media 


If you are not radiant with joy and friendliness, if you are not filled with overflowing love and goodwill for all beings and all creatures and all creation, one thing is certain: You will never know true happiness.

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THE ROLE OF LEARNING INSTITUTIONS TOWARDS THE MITIGATION OF CLIMATE CHANGE

“Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors; we borrow it from our Children.”Ancient Indian Proverb. Higher Education is about the future vitality of our nation and our World. Our universities should play a critical role in enhancing conservation education, climate change, and sound environmental practices.

They educate for the future they have the responsibility to teach why we must “treat the earth well” and be models for our communities

Without action on Climate Change, anything else we do will be severely compromised, the development of an alternative economy that employs students and protects our environment from the effects of climate change have to be among the highest goals of the nation.

However, higher education is not powerless. As a sector, it is the economic bedrock of many communities and as influential in shaping public opinion as religion. Climate change affects everybody, especially students who will see dramatic changes in their lifetimes due to global warming. Schools in vulnerable areas such as coastlines will not be able to operate if their campuses are flooded by rising sea levels or devastated by hurricanes or flash floods and landslides in the rural areas. Without a livable climate, higher education, as well as all human endeavors, are irrelevant.

College and university campuses are critical in helping us to understand the impacts of climate change and how to adapt to a rapidly changing world. Given the systemic impact of climate change, it is prudent that future business owners, teachers, scientists, politicians, and other leaders understand the challenges they will face and are prepared to overcome them, there is also a need to provide them with the best chance for success in the monumental task in front of them; working to ensure prosperity, social equity and environmental integrity for all through the next century.

Climate change mitigation lectures should be introduced in the curriculums in both public and private institutions sensitize on Solutions such as ending fossil fuel subsidies, implementing a carbon tax, transitioning to renewables, and building green communities require collective action, changes to policy, and large-scale investments there is a need for involvement all of higher education, must be a driving force in continued examination of climate change and development of opportunities to assure cleaner more secure planet for future generations.

Although we are not able to control very many of the aspects of climate change, through united effort we may be able to mitigate the most damaging effects on humanity.

Education teaches us the importance of taking responsibility for our actions, and it is through collective action that the greatest feats can be accomplished. It is only when leadership on the federal and international level work together for the collective good that we will have any chance of faring well through the challenges wrought upon us by climate change.

As institutions dedicated to truth, justice, and human flourishing, higher education has all the justification it needs to be the most vocal advocate for climate change at all levels of decision making. Higher education is politically powerful. Its connection with people, its economic influence, its enormous intellectual and human capital, could easily make higher education the most effective advocate for climate change.

So far higher education has been largely absent from advocating for the solutions that we need.

Therefore, in addition to changing the curriculum, and reducing the influence of the market on higher education, their role will not only be to educate but should teach and engage in advocacy for the policies and solutions that we want. Some people find advocacy distasteful because they think it means protesting in the streets

Demonstrating is the most visible form of advocacy, but the majority of advocacy involves having conversations, writing letters, and conducting outreach and education.

The Nation needs to make drastic measures come up with a joint campus sustainability movement to make climate change an issue that higher education recognizes it should address, it is up to us to build on that momentum and advocate for the solutions that can make a real difference.

Climate change cannot be reversed by a single institution nor a single country. A collective intervention in the multitude of factors that impact climate change is necessary for success.

Effective leadership and federal/state policy must be based on research and education regarding climate and the environment, energy systems, along with human/social factors and behaviors

Climate action is prudent insurance against the uncertainties of continued warming on global environmental change and its implications for human health and well being as well as the integrity of ecosystems and diversity of life

We know the right side of this issue, so let us take a stand. The students of today and tomorrow will thank us.

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WILDERNESS HARDCORE SURVIVAL SKILLS

When it comes to selecting a camping site, ensure its a safe location: no dead logs hanging above, it’s not on a valley, and not too close to a river

Bushcraft is the name we give a collection of skills that all involve thriving in the wilderness. These set of skills are essential and I strongly believe we ought to all have them at our fingertips, I was recently watching the movie series ” I shouldn’t be alive” which reminded me of the numerous life-threatening incidences I went through and persevered at KWS Law enforcement Academy a while back at the Tsavo wilderness, the training by Asher and Munai at KWSTI was quite handy, the two day solo nights spending 48 hours all alone among buffaloes and Hyena at Hells gate survival with my comrades at UOE seemed like it was torture but I really got to learn a lot. imagine this you’re lost in the wilderness, definitely, no network coverage so don’t even think of calling anyone, you’re in the middle of a vast area with minimal supplies.
I always feel privileged whenever asked to pass this skills to the young generation. There’s no better place to learn about survival skills than out in the wild

This is where your natural instincts come handy, but if you’re not aware of your environment it’s of no help to you, a group of 60 university students went for a hike at the Aberdare forest back in October 2016 where three of the students and a guide got lost in the dense forest, lets put ourselves in their shoes and see how long we can survive before the search and rescue team finds us.
First things first what’s this SURVIVAL all about let’s start by understanding the basics

S -Size Up the Situation
Remember, security takes priority. Use your senses of hearing, smell, and sight to get a feel for the situation at hand.
Size Up Your Surroundings
Every environment, whether forest, jungle, or desert, has a rhythm or pattern. This rhythm or pattern includes animal and bird noises and movements and insect sounds.
Size Up Your Physical Condition
Check your wounds and give yourself first aid. Take care to prevent further bodily harm. For instance, in any climate, drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration. If you are in a cold or wet climate, put on additional clothing to prevent hypothermia.
Size Up Your Equipment
Perhaps in the heat of a long trek, you lost or damaged some of your equipment. Check to see what equipment you have and what condition it is in.
Now that you have sized up your situation, surroundings, physical condition, and equipment, you are ready to make your survival plan. In doing so, keep in mind your basic physical needs:
1. Water.
2. Food.
3. Shelter.

U -Use All Your Senses, Undue Haste Makes Waste
You may make a wrong move when you react quickly without thinking or planning. That move may result in your death. Use all your senses to evaluate the situation. Note sounds and smells. Be sensitive to temperature changes. Be observant.
R -Remember Where You Are
Spot your location on your map and relate it to the surrounding terrain. If there are other persons with you, make sure they also know their location. Always know who in your group. If something happens to them, you will have to get the map and compass from him/her. Pay close attention to where you are and to where you are going. Do not rely on others in the group to keep track of the route. Constantly orient yourself. Always try to determine, as a minimum, how your location relates to
The location of local water sources (especially important in the dry area’s desert).
Areas that will provide good cover and concealment.
This information will allow you to make intelligent decisions when you are in a survival and evasion situation.

You cannot afford to panic while lost in the wild

V -Vanquish Fear and Panic (keep calm)
The greatest enemies in a survival and evasion situation are fear and panic. If uncontrolled, they can destroy your ability to make an intelligent decision. They may cause you to react to your feelings and imagination rather than to your situation self-confidence will enable you to vanquish fear and panic.
I -Improvise
We have items available for all our needs. Many of these items are cheap to replace when damaged. Our easy come, easy go, easy-to-replace culture makes it unnecessary for us to improvise. This inexperience in improvisation can be an enemy in a survival situation. Learn to improvise. Take a tool designed for a specific purpose and see how many other uses you can make of it.
Learn to use natural objects around you for different needs. An example is using a rock for a hammer. No matter how complete a survival kit you have with you, it will run out or wear out after a while. Your imagination must take over when your kit wears out.
V -Value Living
All of us were born kicking and fighting to live, but we have become used to the soft life:
1. We have become creatures of comfort. We dislike inconveniences and discomforts.
2. What happens when we are faced with a survival situation with its stresses, inconveniences, and discomforts?
3. This is when the will to live- placing a high value on living-is vital.
4. The experience and knowledge you have gained through life and your training will have a bearing on your will to live.
5. Stubbornness, a refusal to give in to problems and obstacles that face you, will give you the mental and physical strength to endure.
A -Act Like the Natives
The natives and animals of a region have adapted to their environment: we are in the wild so get acclimatized don’t, for crying out loud we are believed to have evolved from primates switch to that mode.

Animal life in the area can also give you clues on how to survive. Animals also require food, water, and shelter. By watching them, you can find sources of water and food.

Animal life in the area can also give you clues on how to survive. Animals also require food, water, and shelter. By watching them, you can find sources of water and food.

WARNING

Animals cannot serve as an absolute guide to what you can eat and drink. Many animals eat plants that are toxic to humans.

L -Live by Your Wits, But for Now, Learn Basic Skills

Without training in basic skills for surviving, your chances of living through a survival and evasion situation are slight. 

The Psychology of survival in the Wilderness

It takes much more than the knowledge and skills to build shelters, get food, make fires, and travel without the aid of standard navigational devices to live successfully through a survival situation.

A key ingredient in any survival situation is the:

1-  The mental attitude of the individual(s) involved.

2-  Having survival skills is important.

3- Having the will to survive is essential.

4-Without a desk to survive, acquired skills serve little purpose and invaluable knowledge goes to waste.

Take action, be quick to assist a casualty

  •    There is a psychology to survival. A person in a survival environment faces many stresses that ultimately impact on his mind.
  • These stresses can produce thoughts and emotions that, if poorly understood, can transform a confident, well-trained person into an indecisive, ineffective individual with questionable ability to survive.
  • Thus, every person must be aware of and be able to recognize those stresses commonly associated with survival.
  •    The psychology of survival will identify and explains the nature of stress, the stresses of survival, and those internal reactions survivor will naturally experience when faced with the stresses of a real-world survival situation. 

Animal psychology 

How do animals behave and how we can relate to them so that we least bother them is important. Some ground rules include:

1) This is the natural home of animals. There interests and safety comes first.

2) Animals do not have the natural ability to think beyond their immediate environment, so do not expect them to make any rational decisions.

3) You are not the first choice of animal food(keep this in mind at all times), to a large extent they will keep away from you.

4) However when an animal feels cornered even if it’s a rat the animal can be very dangerous.

5) Mothers have a natural instinct to protect their offspring’s. Be extra wary with any lactating animal.

6) The onus is on you to avoid conflict with the wild animals. Making sure you pass unnoticed, or you alert the animals before you get to them can do this.

7) Take a non-aggressive pause and most animals will leave you alone.

8) The lone buffalo is still considered the most dangerous animal in the bush.

9) Do not get between a hippo and water, you will not believe what damage it can do.

Positive Aspects of Animal Behaviour

Some positive aspects of animals that we can all benefit from include:

1) Animals such as the baboon alerts one about prowlers in the night. 

      This makes them a safe group of animals to stay near especially in the night if caught up alone. Baboons also are extra cautious about the presence of crocodile and will alert you about this danger.

2) Some animals and birds operate near water ie. the African fish eagle, Egyptian goose, their sight indicates the presence of water.

3) Presences of some animals ie jackals and vultures circulating the skies can indicate the presence of carnivores or a kill hence need to be cautious.

4) The croaking of frogs suggests the presence of water. But its also an indicator that snakes are not very common.

5) An abundance of rats or mice is also an indicator that snakes may not be around.

A large group of herbivores scattering could mean that they are being hunted down or have been spooked.

Diarrhoea (a very common setback)

This is a common debilitating ailment that may be caused by such things as a change of water and food. Drinking contaminated water, eating spoiled food, becoming fatigued and using dirty dishes. You can avoid most of these causes by practising preventive medicine. If you get diarrhoea, however, and do no have anti-diarrhoea medicine with you. You may find one of the following treatments effective:

  •  Limit your intake to fluid for 24 hours.
  •  Drink 1 cup of strong tea every 2 hours until diarrhoea stops. The tannic acid in the tea helps to control diarrhoea. (This can be helpful at home, don’t get too used to meds)
  •    Tannic acid is also found in the bark of hardwood trees. Can be extricated from these trees by boiling bark for two hours and drinking the solution cold. 
  •   Make s solution of one handful of charcoal and treated water. Take 2 tablespoons of the solution every two hours until diarrhoea stops. 

Intestinal Parasites 

  • You can always avoid worm infestations and other intestinal parasites if you take preventive measures. For example, never go barefoot.
  • The most effective way to prevent intestinal parasites is to avoid uncooked meat and raw vegetables contaminated by raw sewage or human waste used as a fertilizer. • The following are home remedies you could use:
  • Saltwater. Dissolve 4 tablespoons of salt in 1 liter of water and drink. Do not repeat this treatment. • Tobacco. Eat 1 to 1.5 cigarettes. The nicotine in the cigarette will kill or stun the worms long enough for your system to pass them. If the infestation is severe, repeat the treatment in 24 to 48 hours, but no sooner.
  • Kerosene. Drink 2 tablespoons of kerosene but no more. If necessary, you can repeat this treatment in 24 to 48 hours. Be careful not to inhale the fumes. They may cause lung irritation.
  • Hotpeppers. Peppers are effective only if they are a steady part of your diet. You can eat them raw or put them in soups or rice and meat dishes. They create an environment that is prohibitive to parasitic attachment.

Bees and wasps.

  • If you get bitten or stung, do not scratch the bite as it may become infected.
  • If you are stung by a bee or wasp. Immediately remove the stinger and venom sac if attached by scraping with fingernails or a knife blade.
  • Wash the sting site thoroughly and apply an ice-park. If you find ticks attached to your body, cover them with a substance such as Vaseline. This will cause the tick to release its hold and you can remove it. Wash your hands after touching the tick since infective fluids from it can cause disease.
  • Other pests whose bites or stings can be dangerous are spiders, centipedes, scorpions, and ants. A few spiders have venomous bites that may be as painful as a wasp’s sting. A centipede’s sting is like a wasp. A scorpion’s sting can make you sick or kill you, depending on the species. Biting ants can cause a lot of discomforts and serious allergic reactions in some people. To treat a spiders or scorpions bite, clean the wounds extremely well and try to remove the toxin by suction or by squeezing the bite site.  Treat the bite as you would an open wound.

Snakebite.

A bite wound, regardless of the type of animals that inflict it, can become infected with the bacteria in the animal’s mouth. With non-venomous as well as venomous snakebites, this local infection is responsible for a large part of the residual damage that results. Excited, hysterical, and panicky reactions can speed up the circulatory system, causing the body to absorb the toxin quickly.  Before being treated for snakebite, you should determine if the bite was made by a venomous or non-venomous snake, you should be able to clearly describe the snake from its size, scale patterns, and head shape ( just so you know, all snakes bite) whether venomous or not it’s their defence strategy so before you start panicking thinking you’re about to die in the next 5 minutes remember you’re not in its food chain.

  • Fang punctures at the site generally indicate a venomous snake, especially if one or more of the following accompanies this:  Pain at the site of the bite, Swelling at the site of the bite within a few minutes to hours. Paralysis, weakness. Twitching and numbness. 

 If you suspect you have been bitten by a snake do the following;

  1.  Lie down with head slightly higher than the rest of the body. Make an incision no deeper than the two layers of the skin.
  2.  Remove toxin as soon as possible by using a mechanical suction device or squeezing.
  3.  Clean the bite site and hands extremely well.
  4.  Drink small amounts of fluids preferably water.
  5.  Don’t move around because activity makes the blood circulate faster thereby speeding up the spread of the venom.
  6.  Do not use your mouth to suck out the venom

Get medical attention as soon as possible

Improvise be creative to help save a life

All that said let’s resume back to surviving in the wilderness, how about we come up with an inventory of our to-do list.

  1. The sun will always rise and set from the East to the West (whether you’re lost or not)
  2. Use your shadow to tell where you are going to and heading from.
  3. Always keep warm, your feet should be dry at all times.
  4. Have a fire on at night.
  5. The location and size of your shadow will help you tell the time.
  6. Stop from time to time to look for landmarks so that you don’t end up walking in circles.
  7. If you’re in a group you need to delegate duties among yourselves: food, water, firewood etc
  8. Be alert at all times.
  9. Walk in a single file if you’re in a group, especially in a forest.
  10. Come up with signs and signals
  11. Personal hygiene should never be compromised.
  12. In the event you have a casualty, don’t leave anyone behind.
  13. Be your brother’s keeper

Feel free to chip in, let’s make the list as long as we can, please post  your experiences and how you survived