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Conservation Careers Fair Kenya-2020

Young people are stepping out to make a positive difference in the conservation of nature and wildlife all across the world.

With the many challenges facing our environment becoming more pronounced, we need more young people in every household to have a successful career in conservation thus promoting the conservation of nature and wildlife.

However, the number of students taking up a conservation-related course in Kenya has drastically reduced. To be able to change this narrative, Biophilic Conversations will be hosting the first-ever Conservation Careers Fair in Kenya in 2020.

Networking and making important professional contacts are often the most important components of any successful job search. The Conservation Careers Fair Kenya will bring together different potential conservation organizations and prominent Kenyan training institutions offering environmental and conservation-related study programs. This will create a platform for young people in conservation and employers to connect.

The careers fair is for any young Kenyan who wants to spend their career promoting coexistence between our wildlife and people and develop sustainable ways to ensure we live in a planet where both people and nature thrive. For students, this will guide them in a successful conservation career.

“It is still not too late to act. It will take a far-reaching vision, it will take courage, it will take fierce, fierce determination to act now, to lay the foundations where we may not know all the details about how to shape the ceiling. In other words, it will take cathedral thinking. I ask you to please wake up and make changes required possible” – Greta Thunberg

Through this careers fair, Biophilic Conversations aims to cultivate an environment more conducive to participation by young Kenyans, who are the future of conservation in our country. By partnering with various representatives from Kenya’s conservation scene, we will demonstrate to young Kenyans that environmental conservation is a rewarding and viable career path to take.

The event includes career talks, panel discussions and various other engaging activities covering a host of career-related topics that open minds to the opportunities available in this diverse sector.

We need your support to be able to achieve this, if you have links with Kenyan conservation government agency, local or international universities that offer conservation-related courses, local and international NGOs, please drop us an email on info@biophilic.co.ke.

We aim at inspiring the next generation of conservationist and we need your help in every step we take. If you are thinking about a career in conservation, then this is for you.

Feel free to tag the conservation organization you have always wanted to work with, and let them join the Careers Fair.

Successful Egg Harvest Breaks New Ground in Saving the Northern White Rhinoceros

There are only two northern white rhinos left worldwide, both of them female. Saving this representative of megafauna from extinction seems impossible under these circumstances, yet an international consortium of scientists and conservationists just completed a procedure that could enable assisted reproduction techniques to do just that. On August 22, 2019, a team of veterinarians successfully harvested eggs from the two females who live in Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya — a procedure that has never been attempted in northern white rhinos before. The eggs will now be artificially inseminated with frozen sperm from a northern white rhino bull, and in the near future the embryo will be transferred to a southern white rhino surrogate mother. The successful procedure was a joint effort by the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) BerlinAvanteaDvůr Králové ZooOl Pejeta Conservancy and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).

With neither Najin and Fatu, the two northern white rhino females, able to carry a pregnancy, the future of the northern white rhino now rests solely on pioneering artificial reproduction techniques. The successful harvesting of their eggs means that scientists are one step closer to being able to save the northern white rhino from complete extinction.

The procedure was the result of years of research, development, adjustments and practice. “Both the technique and the equipment had to be developed entirely from scratch”, says Prof. Thomas Hildebrandt from Leibniz-IZW and Dr. David Ndeereh from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), who headed the procedure. “We were able to harvest a total of 10 oocytes – 5 from Najin and 5 from Fatu – showing that both females can still provide eggs and thus help to save these magnificent creatures.”

The procedure was conducted with a probe, guided by ultrasound, which harvested immature egg cells (oocytes) from the ovaries of the animals when placed under general anaesthetic. “The anaesthesia went smoothly without any complications although these animals had not been immobilized for the last five years,” says Frank Goeritz from Leibniz-IZW.

“The number of harvested oocytes is a wonderful success and proof that the unique cooperation between scientists, experts in zoos and conservationists in field can lead to hopeful prospects even for the animals that are imminently facing extinction”, adds Jan Stejskal from Dvůr Králové Zoo, where the two rhinos were born.

It was the partnership between Dvůr Králové Zoo, Ol Pejeta Conservancy and KWS that led to the translocation of Najin, Fatu and two male northern white rhinos from the Czech Republic to Kenya in December 2009, when it was hoped that breeding would be stimulated by the rhinos being closer to their natural environment. Although mating attempts were witnessed, there were no pregnancies. “We came to the conclusion after a health assessment in 2014 that, owing to various health issues, neither Najin or Fatu are able to carry a pregnancy”, explains Dr. Robert Hermes from the Leibniz-IZW. Two males – Suni and Sudan – died of natural causes in 2014 and 2018 respectively. Their sperm was cryo-preserved in the hope that assisted reproduction techniques would advance enough so that they could pass on their genome to a new generation.

“On the one hand Ol Pejeta is saddened that we are now down to the last two northern white rhinos on the planet, a testament to the profligate way the human race continues to interact with the natural world around us.  However we are also immensely proud to be part of the groundbreaking work which is now being deployed to rescue this species.  We hope it signals the start of an era where humans finally start to understand that proper stewardship of the environment is not a luxury but a necessity,” says Richard Vigne, Managing Director of Ol Pejeta Conservancy.

“The concerted efforts to save the last northern white rhinos should guide the resolutions the world makes at the ongoing CITES meeting in Geneva. The assisted reproductive technique should galvanize the world’s attention to the plight of all rhinos and make us avoid decisions that undermine law enforcement and fuel demand for the rhino horn,” says Hon. Najib Balala, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife.

“We are delighted that this partnership gets us one step closer to prevent extinction of the northern white rhinos. This is particularly touching given the heartbreaking death of Sudan, the last male, who died of old age last year in Kenya,” says Brig. (Rtd) John Waweru, the Kenya Wildlife Service Director General.

“Yesterday’s operation means that producing a northern white rhino embryo in vitro – which has never been done before – is a tangible reality for the first time,” says Cesare Galli from Avantea, the Italian laboratory of advanced technologies for biotechnology research and animal reproduction. Avantea will now fertilise the eggs in vitro using the cryo-preserved semen of Suni and Saút.

The procedure is part of an international research project named “BioRescue”, a consortium to which Leibniz-IZW, Avantea, and Dvůr Králové Zoo are a part, and which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). As well as harnessing the collective knowledge and expertise of the consortium to conduct the in vitro procedure, the project will also lead the development of techniques and procedures to create artificial gametes from stem cells. This will involve transforming stored tissue from northern white rhinos into induced pluripotent stem cells, and then into primordial germ cells. Germ cells can then be matured to develop into eggs or sperm cells – essentially widening the genetic basis and the quantity of the gametes. The stem cell approach is primarily carried out by BioRescue consortium members Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (Germany), Kyushu University (Japan) and Northwestern University (USA).

The whole procedure was conducted within an ethical framework that has been developed beforehand by ethicists and the other scientists and veterinarians involved in the procedure. “We developed a dedicated ethical risk analysis in order to prepare the team for all possible scenarios of such an ambitious procedure and to make sure that the welfare of the two individuals was totally respected”, says Barbara de Mori, the conservation and animal welfare ethics expert from Padua University. In addition, the procedure was conducted in compliance with Kenyan laws, policies and the relevant international requirements.

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Identification of Predators Responsible for Kills

As a wildlife officer, one of the skills I have realised one has to have in his fingertips  is the identification of predators responsible for kills be it in the bush “my office” or while responding to Problematic Animal Control (PAC), these skills come in handy when identifying the predator responsible for the kill so as to come up with the ideal solution for the specific animal.

A basic autopsy of the animals killed i.e shoats or cattle can reveal so much; dies the animal have a bite mark on the neck, was it constricted, which parts have been bitten off and how many of them have been killed can be key to identifying the culprit (predator) of which the most common are; Spotted Hyena, Leopard, Lions and wild dogs among other small carnivores.

 

For understanding the impact of predators on prey species, it is obviously necessary to know about their feeding: what prey species are they killing?  What proportion of them do they take?  What age, sex, and condition are these prey?  And how do they compare in number and agesex distribution with the live prey population?

It must be remembered that most predators are extremely flexible in what they eat.   Their diet certainly varies from place to place, depending partly, of course, on what prey species are present in different areas.  For the samreason, the diet may vary with season as the prey species present change.   Even if the numbers of different prey species in an area do not alter, there may be differences·itheir catchability, due behaviour of the prey.

It is extremely difficult to sawhat proportion of prey animals are truly “available” to the predators.   And there are certainly differences between individual predators in the prey animals they take. 

Kills can be examined by waiting until the predator has finished feeding, or if this is impossible (e.g. because of lack of time, or because a small prey animal is likely to be totally consumed) by temporarily driving it from its kill. Predators can usually be made to withdraw by driving slowly towards them and separating them from their kill which can then be observed from close range.  Although most predators will flee from a human on foot, this method disturbs them considerably, and they may not then return to their kill.

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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 

Black Panther mytery demystified

HOW A 24-YEAR OLD SAMBURU WARRIOR CAPTURED IMAGES OF KENYA’S BLACK LEOPARD

Letoluai Ambrose, Research Assistant, Sandiego Zoo Global

The story of a black leopard being allegedly seen in Kenya for the first time in 100 years broke out this week – but a young Samburu warrior is really the silent figure behind the discovery.

“The remote camera that I helped set up started capturing images of the black leopard from January 2018. I have many images and videos of the animal,” Letoluai Ambrose, a Research Assistant with Sandiego Zoo Global told me. He seemed perturbed by the interest that the leopard has received from all over the world since last week.

Letoluai, 24, grew up in Koija near Loisaba Conservation. He studied wildlife science at Kenya Wildlife Service Training Institute and returned home to support conservation efforts.

He was hired by Sandiego Zoo Global as a research assistant in a project that studied the behaviour of leopards in the Laikipia plateau. Part of this research is finding ways of mitigating the problems that leopard cause within the pastoralist communities.

During his interaction with the community, he heard about the presence of black leopards.

Letoluai Setting up remote cameras

“At first I did not believe what they were telling me since historically we have been hearing such stories from old people,” he said.

At a later date, an elder asked him “Why don’t you capture the big black one in Lorrok area with your cameras?” He also confirmed with the owner of Lorrok ranch about the sighting.

He wrote an email to his boss and fellow scientist, Nicholas Pinfold, about the presence of the black leopard and they agreed to place trap cameras with the hope of capturing images.

The activities of the black leopard started appearing in the cameras and a paper about its presence was published here.

Melanistic Leopard that was captured since Jan 2018 and circulated on social media as the #blackpanther

A pseudo-melanistic leopard has a normal background colour, but the spots are more densely packed than normal and merge to obscure the golden-brown background colour. Any spots on the flanks and limbs that have not merged into the mass of swirls and stripes are unusually small and discrete, rather than forming rosettes. The face and underparts are paler and dappled like those of ordinary spotted leopards.

But the leopard became famous when Letoluai was requested by the owner of Lorrok Ranch to take a British photographer Will Burrad-Lucas to see the leopard. He showed the photographer where to place his remote cameras.

“Will Burrad captured quality images but the media should not state that he found the leopard. He was only here for three days,” Letoluai mused.

Letoluai states that no individual can take credit for research findings because so many people are involved in the activity.

”Were it not for that elder, the local rangers, the landowner and the involvement of scientists from Sandiego Zoo Global, we would not have made this discovery. Everyone had a role and no one person can claim credit,” said Letoluai.

Some sections of the media have claimed that this was the first time that a black leopard has been seen in Kenya in 100 years but to the contrary, the cats have been sighted many times in different parts of Kenya.

Credits: Published by Naloolo Explorers

Author: John Kisimir – jkisai@gmail.com

 

Letoluai Ambrose    Closing remarks: Black leopard sighting has attracted global attention and I believe wildlife conservation in Laikipia, Samburu and Kenya will attract the interest of many. I also believe pastoralist communities which face direct conflicts with this carnivores will be considered for benefit of conservation African leopards.
Conservation of African leopards can only be successful if Local communities will be involved in the process.
About Photographer I will be reluctant to speak about it .” He has the picture and we have the leopard at Laikipia nothing we can complain at all. Let us focus on the conservation of African leopard and understand why melanism on them at this particular area
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Call for Volunteers Global March for Elephants, Rhinos and Lions #gmerl2019

This is an invitation to you to support the Global March Nairobi Edition, which takes place on April 13th 2019.

We shall be marching 10KM from National Museums of Kenya at 8 AM TO Kenya Wildlife Service Headquarter where we aim to arrive at 12. Marching, singing, chanting, dancing, spreading the message to all near and far, making sure our voice is heard both national and international media.
Then between 12 pm and 2 pm we shall have Edutainment, Exhibitions, music (live performances) networking opportunities, and speeches from our esteemed guest speakers.

As you know, the Global March for Elephants, Rhinos and Lions (GMFERL) is a worldwide call to action to condemn the poaching of elephants, rhinos and the trafficking of wildlife trophies. It is a call for governments, civil society, grass root communities, media and all stakeholders to be proactive and collaborative towards ensuring the survival of elephants and rhinos.

This year we are advocating for our stance as a country and as the Continent of Africa at CITES Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species. We want to not only let our voice as Kenya be heard on the issues that matter most to us from closing domestic markets of Ivory Trade, to protecting our Giraffes, Whales, Pan Cake Tortoise, Pangolin, Lion and rhino by ensuring their protection on a local and international scale is at its highest. But we also want Africa to realize that an animal does not need a visa to roam across our borders, and the actions of any African country in regards to our wildlife and biodiversity affects us all and hence we must speak with ONE VOICE if the future of our wildlife is to be safeguarded.

This year we are hosting the biggest march yet and in order to do that, we need an army of dedicated, disciplined, energetic passionate volunteers.

This is an invitation to you to support the Global March Nairobi Edition, which takes place on April 13th 2019.

We shall be marching 10KM from National Museums of Kenya at 8AM TO Kenya Wildlife Service Headquarter where we aim to arrive at 12. Marching, singing, chanting, dancing, spreading the message to all near and far, making sure our voice is heard both national and international media.
Then between 12pm and 2pm we shall have Edutainment, Exhibitions, music (live performances) networking opportunities, and speeches from our esteemed guest speakers.

As you know, the Global March for Elephants, Rhinos and Lions (GMFERL) is a worldwide call to action to condemn the poaching of elephants, rhinos and the trafficking of wildlife trophies. It is a call for governments, civil society, grass root communities, media and all stakeholders to be proactive and collaborative towards ensuring the survival of elephants and rhinos.

This year we are advocating for our stance as a country and as the Continent of Africa at CITES Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species. We want to not only let our voice as Kenya be heard on the issues that matter most to us from closing domestic markets of Ivory Trade, to protecting our Giraffes, Whales, Pan Cake Tortoise, Pangolin, Lion and rhino by ensuring their protection on a local and international scale is at its highest. But we also want Africa to realize that an animal does not need a visa to roam across our borders, and the actions of any African country in regards to our wildlife and biodiversity affects us all and hence we must speak with ONE VOICE if the future of our wildlife is to be safeguarded.

This year we are hosting the biggest march yet and in order to do that, we need an army of dedicated, disciplined, energetic passionate volunteers.

This is an invitation to you to support the Global March Nairobi Edition, which takes place on April 13th 2019.

We shall be marching 10KM from National Museums of Kenya at 8 AM TO Kenya Wildlife Service Headquarter where we aim to arrive at 12. Marching, singing, chanting, dancing, spreading the message to all near and far, making sure our voice is heard both national and international media.
Then between 12 pm and 2 pm we shall have Edutainment, Exhibitions, music (live performances) networking opportunities, and speeches from our esteemed guest speakers.

As you know, the Global March for Elephants, Rhinos and Lions (GMFERL) is a worldwide call to action to condemn the poaching of elephants, rhinos and the trafficking of wildlife trophies. It is a call for governments, civil society, grass root communities, media and all stakeholders to be proactive and collaborative towards ensuring the survival of elephants and rhinos.

This year we are advocating for our stance as a country and as the Continent of Africa at CITES Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species. We want to not only let our voice as Kenya be heard on the issues that matter most to us from closing domestic markets of Ivory Trade, to protecting our Giraffes, Whales, Pan Cake Tortoise, Pangolin, Lion and rhino by ensuring their protection on a local and international scale is at its highest. But we also want Africa to realize that an animal does not need a visa to roam across our borders, and the actions of any African country in regards to our wildlife and biodiversity affects us all and hence we must speak with ONE VOICE if the future of our wildlife is to be safeguarded.

This year we are hosting the biggest march yet and in order to do that, we need an army of dedicated, disciplined, energetic passionate volunteers.

Any information needed about the march please email Info@suso.world or vincento@wildlifedirect.org

See you there

“MY PART IN HEALING THIS FRAGILE PLANET” JAGI GAKUNJU

What force drives a man to be successful in business, an intrepid adventurer and a renowned conservationist?

Sit back relaxed, into your comfort zone because am about to narrate a  remarkable story about  Jagi Gakunju, but before we get to that lemme break the ice by a brief introduction.

Jagi Gakunju was born into a pioneering Christian family, his father having been ordained a pastor in 1935. His first memories are of the concentration camp where his family members and other Nyeri residents were interned during the Emergency. After independence, he graduated from the University of Nairobi and joined ALICO, an insurance company. A couple of months later, he unearthed a sophisticated fraud. After training overseas, he had mastered the new computer technology and was sent to train ALICO employees in the Caribbean. Developed to West Africa as the Regional Claims Manager, he was in charge of five countries. Back in Kenya, he left ALICO and joined Africa Air Rescue where his innovative sales strategy saw the company’s turnover grow by leaps and bounds. In 2003, he became the CEO of AAR.

Success in business is only half the story. Jagi has always loved nature. He has climbed Mt. Kenya 14 times and was the founding president of the Uvumbuzi club, an organization devoted to discovering the wild places of Africa. The club’s most famous achievement was in 1989 when Jagi lead members overland to the Okavango Delta in Botswana. A keen ornithologist, Jagi turned the piece of land he inherited from his parents into a nature reserve known as the Wajee Nature Park. About 120 species of birds have been recorded there and the Park has been registered as one of the official Important Bird Areas  (IBA) of the world.

Now retired, Jagi is “busier than ever” devoting his time to the Wjee Park and to many other conservation organizations of which he is a member: Friends of Karura forest, Soysambu Conservancy, Friends of Conservation, Friends of Nairobi National Park, Wildlife Clubs of Kenya, African Fund For Endangered Wildlife, Uvumbuzi, Friends of City Park, Cycling out of Poverty- Coop Kenya, African Network for Animal Welfare, Riverline Nature Reserve Trust, and Wajee Mara Camp.

He begins with the story of his father, a World War II veteran who survived being murdered because of witchcraft. Born in Nyeri in 1948, Gakunju is a child of traditional and modern crossroads during the Mau Mau era, then walks us through his school life in a new environment far from home, the numerous by road on foot adventures to various destinations in Africa which will give you chills and keep you at the edge of your seat.

Living on the Edge brings new personal experiences such as Gakunju’s life in the concentration villages during the State of Emergency. This book is a “Must read” Living on the edge is available at various bookshops including; Textbook centre-Sarit, Hub, Galleria, Yaya, Prestige, Nature Kenya Bookshop and Museums of Kenya.

What really strikes me in this book is his sheer daring attitude for adventure and exploration, His reflections and perceptions are well portrayed in his book I quote ” As regards to my main passion, the environment, the most positive development I have noticed recently is the creation of community conservancies. Unlike in the past when the government looked after wildlife for the benefit of outside tourists, today communities are starting to feel that they “own” the natural resources. In a similar connection. I am happy that many Kenyans are becoming increasingly health-conscious, and that traditional African foods are making a comeback.

Then, of course, there are things which are getting worse. Corruption has become like cancer in our society. In my opinion, those who steal drugs from the poor should be charged with murder. The gap between the rich and the poor also appears to be widening whereas, after independence, we thought that it would diminish.

The number of unemployed youth is truly worrying. Our education system should be training for self-employment but currently, it is geared more towards the regurgitation of information, much of which is in fact quite useless in later life.

Despite the increasing number of Kenyans intermarrying, our leaders carry on propagating negative ethnicity. Instead of creating a nation, we have consolidated tribal empires. During elections, citizens vote for their tribal kings while issues are largely ignored. Due to their lack of vision, our leaders make poor use of the many resources we have. We ought to follow the example of a tiny Singapore, at one time a very poor country, but which has used its only resource, its port, to become many times richer than Kenya.

I believe that each of us should do the little we can to protect the environment. When I inherited Wajee Nature Park from my parents and opted to leave it for the trees and the birds, many of my neighbours thought I was crazy. According to them, I should have used it to grow crops and make money. For me, I felt that creating the Park was the only small contribution that I as an individual could make to safeguard mother earth.

While individuals can play an important part, I also hope that Kenya will in future come up with an overall integrated land policy, something that is missing at present. I feel it is not too late to achieve this.

Getting numerous degrees is all the rage these days but no matter how many you are awarded, one will be missing. That is called travel: travelling with an open mind and interacting with the local people. If you fail to travel, your thinking will be confined to what you have seen in your home area. When you travel, you will see how little you know and how much you have to learn. I had an ambition to go to all the continents and interact with the locals and can now say that I have visited all of them, including Australia. The exception was Antarctica. This travel was one of my best life investments.

When I am at times requested to give motivational talks to the youth, I stress some of the points outlined above. I advise them to invest in hard work, integrity and honesty rather than taking short cuts. I tell them that education is only which is relevant today can be obsolete in five years. They are fortunate that a massive amount of information is available today so there is no excuse for them not to carry on learning. They should invest in several skills since most jobs today require people to multitask. It may not be easy for them to be employed, but the opportunities for self-employment have never been better, thanks to the internet. I am convinced that if a good number of young people take these lessons seriously, our future as a country will be bright.

Passion is the best medicine in succeeding in whatever you are doing. Conservation to me is like a “religion” because I have come to appreciate that human beings, animals, insects, trees and plants and indeed all living things are all interconnected. If one of them becomes extinct because of our reckless use of finite resources in this fragile planet, we shall all become extinct. 80% of all the food we eat is pollinated by insects. Without pollinators, we cannot survive. I have also come to realise that the survival of this fragile planet is in the hands of ‘man’-Human beings, for the first time in this Century. We have the power to destroy or to heal mother earth. If we destroy this planet, there is no plan B”.

If you’ve been inspired, guess what! That’s just in a nutshell of what the book is all about. To order for your own copy of Living on the edge call +254 722 759 515

 

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THE ROLE OF WILDLIFE DISPERSAL CORRIDORS IN WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT

Globally, one of the main biodiversity challenges is the loss of connectivity in wildlife conservation areas mainly due to human-induced factors that exert pressure on land and water resources. Indeed, many protected areas are too small to maintain viable populations of African wildlife. Despite diverse species inhabiting savannas and have for a long time had expansive habitats to utilize, the savanna ecosystem is increasingly under threat from habitat fragmentation and loss of wildlife dispersal areas to agriculture and human settlement.

Land fragmentation represents an obstacle to maintaining ecological connectivity and viable wildlife populations. Reduced landscape connectivity and impeded movements may result in higher mortality, lower population viability and lower production leading to smaller populations. In view of their great mobility and extensive spatial requirements for survival, large mammals are vulnerable to fragmentation effects.

The fragmentation effects result when animals within populations are unable to cross to connecting habitats, access mates or other biological requirements. These effects have underscored the need to maintain and restore essential movements of wildlife species particularly those with high traffic volumes, it is for this reason that wildlife corridors are constructed.

 

CORRIDORS/FENCE GAPS AND USE OF CAMERA TRAPS FOR MONITORING AT OL PEJETA CONSERVANCY

Infrared cameras used at the fence gaps to monitor wildlife traffic in and out of the conservancy coloured pictures taken during the daytime while black and white at night

A wildlife corridor is an area of habitat connecting wildlife populations separated by human activities or structures such as roads development or logging. This allows an exchange of individuals between population, which may help prevent the negative effect of inbreeding and may moderate some of the worst effects of habitat fragmentation.

Elephants Entering OL Pejeta from Mutara using the corridor

 The OL Pejeta Conservancy has well-modified wildlife corridors/ fence gaps classified according to their width indirectly proportional to size and number of animals using it. All animals are free to more in and out of the conservancy by way of specially constructed game corridors that only restrict the movement of rhinos knee high post in the ground, situated very close together present no challenge for elephant rates, antelope and carnivores that are easily able to jump or step over. Rhinos are unable to do this and as a result, are restricted from moving into areas where they are in danger of being slaughtered for their horn it also operates a successful livestock program which serves to benefits local pastoralist and wildlife. 

 The OlPejeta conservancy have got three constructed corridor  located on the Northern part of the conservancy with the reason being that to the Southern part of it there is small scale farming taking place by the local communities inhibited the area, the northern corridors enable dispersal of wildlife to the greater Laikipia ecosystem thus increasing their probability of survival and range while at the same time reducing pressure on the conservancy.

Connectivity is essential between adjacent conservation areas

 Advantages of the corridors

  •   They  allow the wild animals to have the freedom of movement in and out the other protected areas such as Mt. Kenya National Park, Mutara ranch, Solio ranch
  • They help prevent inbreeding of animal in order to acquire strong genes from other species of animals away from the protected area
  •    Helps the conservancy to acquire species of animal that they don’t have on  their records of wild animal species of OlPejeta through the aid of the camera traps
  •     Help elephants from breaking the fence thus promoting good wildlife management techniques

         Help in developing the checklist of wild animals within the protected area this is done through monitoring the footprints of the wild animals in the process of animals moving in and out of the protected area and through the images captured by the cameras which operate even at night.

    

            Although game corridor has numerous advantages there are still some challenges in line with the management such as:

  • Competition for natural resources such as food, space, cover and water 
  • Disease reservoir for livestock example zoonosis  transmission of disease can be from livestock to   wild animal 
  • Livestock predation example is lion predating against cow  

           

Connectivity within adjacent conservation areas is inevitable, fence gaps are the best alternatives

           Way forward 

 Wildlife corridors are not proposed as mitigation for loss of core habitat.  However, with careful planning and design, wildlife corridors can help reduce the negative effects of habitat fragmentation by allowing dispersal of individuals between large patches of remaining habitat.  While additional study on the efficacy of wildlife corridors is necessary, some general principles of evaluation and design are available and should be implemented.  Monitoring the use of corridors by target wildlife species is an important step in corridor planning, to allow for adaptive management. 

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ANNUAL NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL COMPETITION 2019

Every year, from the 1st of January to the 31st of March AFEW  Giraffe Center normally has an environmental competition. This year is no exception, are you a student with a passion for environmental conservation? or better yet have a sibling or know of or a young individual whose talented in drawing? or a school teacher? Well, the annual national environmental competition 2019 is calling for participants, and if you know of anyone in the cader or if you are eligible then don’t hesitate here is your opportunity to portray your talent and get awarded for it.

  This is an environmental competition hosted by AFEW Giraffe Centre. Its aim is to encourage Kenyan students to get involved in environmental conservation through Art and essay writing. The winners of the competition are awarded gifts and the best of the best get to go on a one-week safari around different conservancies and national parks around Kenya, free of charge.

The poster above elaborates more about all you need to know about the competition, there’s something for everyone. Get started, circulate the poster to the schools around you or better yet share it with the students and teachers you know and for the tertiary level students, here is your opportunity to make your best of your writing skills “personally this is where my writing skills came to play” so make the best out of your talents, bring in your creativity and zeal for conservation.

The top prize of a one week adventure on a fully sponsored safari for the trophy winners to some of the best touristic destinations in Kenya should not just pass you, dare to take part. https://www.giraffecentre.org/