Stopping Wildlife Trade: When the Ecosystem is Bleeding

Lupita poses with an elephant during her Kenyan tour Photo: Facebook/Lupita

Well written piece Mr. Malanda, thank you!? While we believe that taking care of orphaned baby elephants is a good thing, at the same time it’s important to work together to take care of the ecosystems and all who depend upon them.  LB

Snapshots: That is how NOT to save elephants, Lupita By Ted Malanda

First, dearest Lupita, if you want to save elephants, never say you love them. Revere and fear them. Love blinds one to reality. We don’t view elephants as ‘beautiful’ creatures down here. They destroy our crops, flatten our huts, kill and impoverish us. That is why newspapers call them ‘marauding herds of elephants’.

You will see pictures of angry villagers demonstrating against rampaging jumbos, or gleefully chopping an elephant they have just speared into pieces of meat for the pot. If you are very lucky, you might see a picture of a KWS ranger atop an elephant carcass, rifle in hand, trying and failing comically to reenact Ernest Hemingway’s aristocratic pose from one of his hunting expeditions in Africa. You could also bump into a picture of elephant carcasses shrunk with starvation, following a prolonged drought, or a tiny report tucked away in a corner of the newspaper describing terrified villagers fleeing, after a herd of ‘marauding elephants’ trumpeted into their village with the swagger of a well-fed politician. This in a place where elephants have not been seen in 50 years. Read more

Elders Meeting by Peter Towett

IMG_4733

African cultural values are based on a foundation of the past that informs the present, a leading reason why elders are so well respected. Always acknowledge an elder. Amara is honoured to have been recognized by the Elders of Taita Taveta County for on the work we’ve been doing in this region for many years.

IMG_4734

They made Director Lori Bergemann a Taita woman and gave her the name Malemba, which means green leaves to describe hope in life.

IMG_6076

Lori Bergemann with the Elders

The elders have broad knowledge about how their county used to be, and can see destruction that has take place in recent times. They want to turn this around and reach out to the people reminding them how the Taita community practiced traditional ways that conserved the environment and wildlife.

IMG_6257

Amara, KWS, KUAPO and Tsavo Pride worked together to assist the Elders doing a vastly successful trial run in test villages sharing their knowledge of the traditions and the need to work together going forward to benefit everyone.

IMG_6330

Recently the Council of Elders held a fundraising event attended by our field coordinator Jacob Dadi, where he made a presentation and contribution on our behalf. The County Governor was present as the guest of honor.

IMG_6373

The governor expressed his willingness to support the Council of Elders and work with them. We wish them well and look forward to continuing our program working together!

IMG_6380

Adventure in Tsavo West!

IMGA0026

While many people know that our country Kenya is an attractive destination for wildlife, others keep saying that wildlife does not benefit them. At Amara we absolutely disagree with that. Every protected area in Kenya is unique in its own way.

IMGA0053

We are blessed as Kenyans to have a good number of parks and reserves. Masai Mara game reserve is one of them and is the seventh wonder of the world.

Personally, I have visited quite a number of the parks and game reserves and one of the parks that caught my attention with its beauty and scenic nature is Tsavo National Park. I lack words to describe it, but if I’m to support my case then it’s a “complete wilderness”.

IMGA0065

The serene environment comes mainly with thorny bush land, open grasslands and among the most beautiful sceneries are; the yatta plateau which is the world longest lava flow stretching 290km; Lugards Falls, Mzima Springs, Shetani Lava, Chaimu Hill among other attractions.

Wildlife lures our eyes to excitement and happiness. Tsavo National Parks are also home to diverse wild animals including, elephants, zebras, cheetah, leopards, lions, buffalos. Tsavo West National also has a rhino sanctuary which is monitored 24hrs due to poaching.

IMGA0113

If we all participate by visiting our parks and reserves we will be building our own country and getting to appreciate the vital resources available in our beautiful country. We at Amara together with Purdue University offer such opportunities to kids bordering protected areas in Tsavo.

During each school trip, students are accompanied by a KWS field officer who has a wealth of knowledge on various conservation concepts.

IMGA0103

The officer’s duty is to ensure that the participating kids are given an overview on the biodiversity, and challenges facing them in protecting the park.
The school trips offer the best opportunity to teach wildlife conservation outside the classroom setup in a fun and interactive manner. LB

Sports and Conservation: Peter Towett

IMGA0176

The remarkable aspect of sports is not the ability to improve fitness and burn calories, but the power to draw people of any religion, ethnicity or community and schools into a world where the rules are universally scripted and where the only concern is if your sportsman/woman will be the last one standing.

IMG_4712

It would seem that the only natural thing to feel with your neighbours, family, friends, even strangers is a shared mood of pensive excitement, and a mutual bond of identity and belonging. At the heart of development is people and this is the essence of sports. Kenya is a great sporting nation and has been recognised for its exploits in athletics, rugby and volleyball.

IMG_4713

At Amara we share the same belief in sports and we recently held a tournament with communities in Kishushe bordering Tsavo National Park. The games were adrenalin moving as we had an interschool and a community football team, with the presence and support from Purdue University, the participants were awarded gifts for the first team and runners up.

IMG_4714

Amara Conservation’s core fundamental belief is that the people who live near or in the threatened ecosystem are the best positioned to repair and protect that ecosystem for the long term, while we also make them understand that their quality of life is reliant upon the health of their natural environment and that they have the direct hand in identifying and creating ways to protect and sustainably use their natural resources, both nature and people are served.

IMG_4716

We give thanks to this year’s Purdue students for making the event successful and also for raising funds to support school trips every year for the less privileged kids in Kenya.

IMG_4718