Be the change – By Towett

Elephants are a keystone species. They create and maintain the ecosystems in which they live and make it possible for a myriad of plant and other animal species to live in those environments as well. The loss of elephants gravely affects many species that depend on elephant-maintained ecosystems and causes major habitat chaos and a weakening to the structure and diversity of nature itself. To lose the elephant is to lose an environmental caretaker and an animal from which we have much to learn.

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Elephants are running out of space with time. Before we know it they will be gone — unless we collectively stop the senseless poaching and consumer demand for ivory, and allocate protected natural habitat in countries where elephants and other wildlife can thrive now, and in the future.

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What are you doing to STOP the killing and mistreatment of elephants?

You can make life better for abused individuals by boycotting circuses with elephants, and by appealing to others to do the same. Another way to help elephants is to give your support to those institutions, organizations, projects and individuals who work to better understand, conserve and protect elephants, whether this be through applied conservation, education or advocacy. Happy #WorldElephantday and elephants are #WorthMoreAlive.

The gardener – Elephant.

Elephants play an important role in maintaining biodiversity. They can be best described as the “Architects of the savannah”and natures constant gardeners, moving great distances foraging which open up dense bush land creating grasslands for grazers. Their knocking over of trees creates microhabitats for smaller creatures like reptiles and insects, which in turn provides food for birds. Defecating up to 17 piles of poo per day provides food for beetles, other insects and birds, as well as providing potting soil for the many seeds that have passed through their system to germinate. Indeed, a myriad of forest species are totally dependent on elephants for their survival.

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Where elephants go, other species follow. Lose the elephants and we will lose so much more. As human settlement expands, we must set aside corridors between protected habitats to ensure the continued movement of elephants and other wildlife. Elephants will do much of the biodiversity work for us if we allow them to. But we must stop the slaughter of elephants, and provide the space and protect their habitats for them to get on with their good work.

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John visits Amara.

This month, Amara welcomed John Carver to Kenya, visiting us in the field for the first time, he had an eventful and interesting trip around Kenya. John is an entrepreneur who has been involved in many successful for-profit and non-profit companies, and is on the Board of Directors of Amara USA. He has been a great supporter of our work.

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Lori and John

It was great for John to see first hand the beneficial work Amara does in the field. To sit, see a room full of hundreds of children go from no hands raised when asked the question “do we benefit from elephants”, to a room full of students who understand the benefits of wildlife, simply through providing information, is very moving. We are honored to be a part of something so important to the communities in Tsavo.

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An interactive session with the students

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John visiting orphan elephants

Through education and information sharing, Amara is helping humans and elephants coexist and support each other, ultimately protecting their beautiful land. We strive to make communities understand the crucial role these species play in one of nature’s most important ecosystems; once moderate changes in lifestyles can have a powerful impact on the viability of the creatures they share their environment with. As communities become aware of how organized thugs are wrecking their very own future, as well as that of their children, the trend is reversed and the sustainable outcome is possible and reached.

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John,Lori and Dan in Maasai Mara-Kenya

 

A day in the park – By Towett

A huge number of Kenyan children have never seen an elephant before, or even the most common of wildlife species due to the associated costs of visiting National Parks in Kenya. For this reason we at Amara together with Purdue University students arranges free field trips into Tsavo West National Parks, encouraging children to for Wildlife Clubs and embrace their wildlife and environment.

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Group photo

This year Kishushe Primary School in Taita-Taveta County had an opportunity to tour Tsavo west and interact with University students from USA.

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Interacting with kids

 

While classroom learning undoubtedly provides the foundation of education, there is so much to be gained from supporting indoor learning with outdoor experiences. Students can observe how the world works in real life situations, adding depth to curriculum-based learning and bringing the subject alive as they encounter real world examples first-hand. By being involved in this particular trip, students had a chance to view the most endangered ecosystems in the park.

 

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Kids climbing the beautiful Chaimu hills, Tsavo West

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Mzima Springs Tsavo West

 

The serene environment of Tsavo comes mainly with thorny  bushland, open grasslands and among the most beautiful sceneries is; the yatta plateau, which is the world longest lava flow, stretching 290km, Mzima springs, Shetani lava, Chaimu hills among other attractions.

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Purdue students at Information Center- Tsavo West

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Purdue Students

 

Wildlife lures our eyes to excitement and happiness. Tsavo National Parks are also home to diverse wild animals including, zebras, leopards, lions, and buffalos. During each school trip, a KWS field officer who has a wealth of knowledge accompanies students and gives them an overview on biodiversity and challenges facing them in protecting the park.

 

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Lori with Amara team, Purdue students and Kipalo staff

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 with Purdue University offer such opportunities to kids bordering protected areas in Tsavo. We give thanks to this year’s Purdue Students for making the event successful and also for raising funds to support school trips in Kenya. Ahsante sana!