How Quickly Time Flies

How Quickly Time Flies

Time does fly! When we look back at our journey with trees and with all you readers, it brings us immense joy that more & more tree-lovers are not only asking about indigenous trees but also trying to plant a few. We would like to thank all of them for their love and support!

Tree cover – less soil erosion

Tree cover – less soil erosion

I, personally, am really sorry for not writing any post in the last few days. I was busy with fieldwork. Also, I just don’t want to repeat the similar facts/things, which are published in previous posts. Instead, I would like to have some reciprocation from you guys if you want to know anything more. May it be any native tree, types of animals found in Kenya or anything else related to conservation. Like, one of our readers asked me about ‘How bad is Plastic?’ There definitely will be a post in upcoming time, throwing some light on this very subject.

Over the years we have planted lots of native saplings together with many schools and also Purdue students from USA. How many trees have you planted? Let there be a few native trees dedicated to your loved ones. Because these trees silently teach us many important lessons. Have a heart like trees and learn how to be grateful to the ones who have helped you. What have you done in return for your environment?

Tree planting.

Tree planting.

Trees love us selflessly; they grow, fight against adversities and dedicate their whole life serving us. But instead of expressing our gratitude, we cut them down insensibly.

Tree felling – for charcoal making.

Tree felling – for charcoal making.

They are one of the greatest resources of the Mother Earth and the most gracious & faithful company. They offer shelter, delicious foods and beautiful life, give us fresh strength by purifying air and teach us wise lessons to live a happy and motivated life. They serve humanity in every possible way only to return our single help of seeding them. Today, we have distinct sympathy with nature…we no more feel their pain when we tear their leaves, no more hear the scream when we chop them down, no more hear the part of their joy when it’s raining; which leads us to accomplish the most shameful acts such as deforestation and our own destruction.

Loss of trees leads to soil erosion.

Loss of trees leads to soil erosion.

If you love trees, show it and act likewise! Just remember this line by an unknown author… “We say we love flowers, yet we pluck them. We say we love trees, yet we cut them down. And people still wonder why some are afraid when told they are loved.”

The Tsavo West National Park is a section of one of the largest wildlife conservancies on the planet, as well as one of Kenya’s largest wildlife national parks. It is well-known for its resident population of Red Elephants as well as the tale of the Tsavo Man-eaters. Unfortunately, most of the communities bordering these parks have never had a chance to visit them due to the cost. For these reasons Amara organizes game drives with Purdue University students each year into Tsavo West National Park. We also encourage children to form Wildlife Clubs and embrace their wildlife and environment. This year Mrabenyi Secondary School in Taita Taveta County had the opportunity to tour the vast Park and interact with the University students from USA.

 

tHistorically, the Tsavo Area is renowned for the Man-eaters of Tsavo, two mane-less lions who developed a taste to prey on humans back in the early 1900’s (various reasons are cited for this, one recently being that they suffered from tooth decay and pain that made hunting difficult for them!). Although they were later shot, they killed many people that were constructing the railway line connecting Mombasa and Nairobi. Additionally, it was the main battlefield between the Germans and the Britons in Africa in the course of World War I. Currently the area is very peaceful and is now famous for its resident Red-colored Elephants, that enjoy dust-bathing in the red colored soil. The serene environment of Tsavo comes mainly with thorny bushland, open grasslands and among the most beautiful scenic areas are; the Yatta plateau, the World’s longest lava flow stretching 290km; Mzima springs; Shetani Lava Flow; Chaimu Hill; and Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary.

Divi Theme Examples

How Well Do You Know Your Environment?

How Well Do You Know Your Environment?

There are those in our midst who understand wildlife biology and are expert in their biomes and ecology while others are at home in fields such as sociology, political science, and law. Some of us come to wildlife activism with no other training than a firm conviction that it is the right thing to do—to bend ourselves to do all that we can to contribute in any way to prevent the extinction of elephants in the wild.

A herd of elephants.

A herd of elephants.

I sat there in amazement as Jacob, my friend and colleague narrated his experiences on the journey he has taken while spreading the gospel of conservation – asking us simple but hard questions about the environment, as we were chagrined at our ignorance.

Jacob in the middle with school kids

Jacob in the middle with school kids

Stories and facts about elephant and rhino horn poaching, or of game meat, are nothing new and are well known and he widely discussed these topics. The same destruction is happening to habitat. Trees are being felled illegally every day and in high numbers, forming an equally serious threat. Tree cover guarantees rainfall and acts against soil erosion and for many animal species, the tree leaves provide a needed source of food and nutrition. Yet trees around protected areas of Kenya’s National Parks are becoming fewer and harder to come by. The demand for timber is high, so high that nowadays people are desperate enough to take high risks in obtaining the desired wood and are cutting trees inside the parks, such as Tsavo National Park.

Man caught illegally chopping trees.

Man caught illegally chopping trees.

And I thought of the many creative, talented individuals in Kenya today who have misplaced priorities; whose biggest achievement, according to them, may be posting a Facebook post that gets many likes or a tweet that gives them a lot of interactions, the many online enthusiasts who are ready to bark at a fellow online user because they can write good English and argue about things that matter most to people two worlds away, the propaganda spreaders, the poets who are confident only because they receive snaps after every punch line they deliver, and myself. I saw how little I know about my country, about Africa, especially about the most important things – land, the economy, the business of politics, and the real value of having a healthy environment.

Aerial view of land denuded by charcoal harvesting.

Aerial view of land denuded by charcoal harvesting.

Today some may view me as a knowledgeable person, but I’m barely done knowing myself. I have a whole continent to explore, and so do you. Our dirty politics is killing us. And now this ignorance is taking away the magic of mother Earth, because we think we are getting wiser with all this noise happening around in the news and tech world, seldom considering the effects these developments have on the place we live. So, how well do you know your environment?

 

The Tsavo West National Park is a section of one of the largest wildlife conservancies on the planet, as well as one of Kenya’s largest wildlife national parks. It is well-known for its resident population of Red Elephants as well as the tale of the Tsavo Man-eaters. Unfortunately, most of the communities bordering these parks have never had a chance to visit them due to the cost. For these reasons Amara organizes game drives with Purdue University students each year into Tsavo West National Park. We also encourage children to form Wildlife Clubs and embrace their wildlife and environment. This year Mrabenyi Secondary School in Taita Taveta County had the opportunity to tour the vast Park and interact with the University students from USA.

 

tHistorically, the Tsavo Area is renowned for the Man-eaters of Tsavo, two mane-less lions who developed a taste to prey on humans back in the early 1900’s (various reasons are cited for this, one recently being that they suffered from tooth decay and pain that made hunting difficult for them!). Although they were later shot, they killed many people that were constructing the railway line connecting Mombasa and Nairobi. Additionally, it was the main battlefield between the Germans and the Britons in Africa in the course of World War I. Currently the area is very peaceful and is now famous for its resident Red-colored Elephants, that enjoy dust-bathing in the red colored soil. The serene environment of Tsavo comes mainly with thorny bushland, open grasslands and among the most beautiful scenic areas are; the Yatta plateau, the World’s longest lava flow stretching 290km; Mzima springs; Shetani Lava Flow; Chaimu Hill; and Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary.

Divi Theme Examples

Climate Change

Climate Change

Predictions for our changing climate paint an alarming picture—rising sea levels, changing weather patterns, and increased incidences of natural disaster e.g., the latest hurricanes in USA and Caribbean nations all threaten to greatly impact human life. While climate change impacts everyone, degrading resources and increasing instability will most greatly affect the lives of rural poorer people, the majority of whom are women, who depend upon natural resources for their livelihoods

Bare land due to lack of rain

Bare land due to lack of rain

In communities that rely on their environments to provide basic food, water, and energy resources, the impacts of climate change can be devastating.  Too much or too little water can decimate crops and force migration.  As vital resources become scarce, more time is devoted to resource collection, less healthy options are exploited, and less sustainable practices are employed.  For those who survive off natural resources, climate change presents a challenge that most communities are simply not prepared to face.

One of our film shows.

One of our film shows.

Despite the grim predictions, there is hope. The communities that most rely on natural resources can be equipped with knowledge to adapt to changes while also serving as a powerful force to mitigate future climate impacts.  At Amara, we recognize the powerful role that communities bordering protected areas play, and as the primary users of these resources, the role they can play in bolstering their community’s resiliency. To ensure this, we educate them through film shows, workshops/barazas to be responsible and manage their resources and renew their environments.  When these people are empowered to become stewards of their environments the result is communities that are better able to adapt to changes.  As resource degradation is both a result and a cause of climate change, women and men alike are enabled to restore degraded ecosystems and reduce activities that affect climate change

The Tsavo West National Park is a section of one of the largest wildlife conservancies on the planet, as well as one of Kenya’s largest wildlife national parks. It is well-known for its resident population of Red Elephants as well as the tale of the Tsavo Man-eaters. Unfortunately, most of the communities bordering these parks have never had a chance to visit them due to the cost. For these reasons Amara organizes game drives with Purdue University students each year into Tsavo West National Park. We also encourage children to form Wildlife Clubs and embrace their wildlife and environment. This year Mrabenyi Secondary School in Taita Taveta County had the opportunity to tour the vast Park and interact with the University students from USA.

 

tHistorically, the Tsavo Area is renowned for the Man-eaters of Tsavo, two mane-less lions who developed a taste to prey on humans back in the early 1900’s (various reasons are cited for this, one recently being that they suffered from tooth decay and pain that made hunting difficult for them!). Although they were later shot, they killed many people that were constructing the railway line connecting Mombasa and Nairobi. Additionally, it was the main battlefield between the Germans and the Britons in Africa in the course of World War I. Currently the area is very peaceful and is now famous for its resident Red-colored Elephants, that enjoy dust-bathing in the red colored soil. The serene environment of Tsavo comes mainly with thorny bushland, open grasslands and among the most beautiful scenic areas are; the Yatta plateau, the World’s longest lava flow stretching 290km; Mzima springs; Shetani Lava Flow; Chaimu Hill; and Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary.

Divi Theme Examples

Communities Role In Disaster Mitigation

Communities Role In Disaster Mitigation

Natural disasters have always made man feel helpless in spite of technological advances, for example earthquakes, floods etc. Apart from the trail of death and destruction of human property this leaves behind, it also causes widespread destruction of ecological habitats with lasting effects on the populations of several species.

Soil erosion on bare land- effects of tree harvesting.

Soil erosion on bare land- effects of tree harvesting.

The consequences vary from loss of livelihood for fishermen to unknown damages to coral reefs and flora and fauna when waves come a few miles inland. In some fragile areas down on the coast, it may take years for the coral reefs to recover, and mangrove stands and coastal tree plantations may be destroyed or severely affected. With so much seawater coming inland, salination is another effect that makes the soil less fertile to support vegetation and increases erosion, thus impacting food insecurity. For people, fisheries, housing and infrastructure are the worst affected.

Land reclamation for agriculture and settlement, setting up of resorts on high-risk beaches and the drastic loss of mangrove forests by man increases the damage caused by these disasters. Are we prepared for natural disasters?

Sand harvesting along the river banks

Sand harvesting along the river banks

People have to learn to respect the forces of nature in the quest for development and better opportunities. The indiscriminate conversion of natural shorelines and mangrove forest ecosystems for farming, urban settlements, tourism development and other often unregulated and unplanned human activities, over the past several decades have made the coastal areas and its inhabitants much more vulnerable to the immense destructive force of earthquakes or floods.

Pile of harvested sand

Pile of harvested sand

Apart from modern technology, we can also use natural barriers to protect us from natural disasters. Coral reefs for example act as natural breakwaters, providing a physical barrier that reduces the force of a wave before it reaches the shore, on the other hand mangrove forests act as natural shock absorbers, also reducing destructive wave energy and buffering against coastal erosion.

The role of local communities in disaster management is very important. Many senior citizens are aware of incidents that happened in the past, which others may not be aware of, and what human actions impacted them. One just needs to make them aware of the risks faced, and provide support to make sure that the environmental impact of human activities is honestly addressed and considered before more disasters happen.

The Tsavo West National Park is a section of one of the largest wildlife conservancies on the planet, as well as one of Kenya’s largest wildlife national parks. It is well-known for its resident population of Red Elephants as well as the tale of the Tsavo Man-eaters. Unfortunately, most of the communities bordering these parks have never had a chance to visit them due to the cost. For these reasons Amara organizes game drives with Purdue University students each year into Tsavo West National Park. We also encourage children to form Wildlife Clubs and embrace their wildlife and environment. This year Mrabenyi Secondary School in Taita Taveta County had the opportunity to tour the vast Park and interact with the University students from USA.

 

tHistorically, the Tsavo Area is renowned for the Man-eaters of Tsavo, two mane-less lions who developed a taste to prey on humans back in the early 1900’s (various reasons are cited for this, one recently being that they suffered from tooth decay and pain that made hunting difficult for them!). Although they were later shot, they killed many people that were constructing the railway line connecting Mombasa and Nairobi. Additionally, it was the main battlefield between the Germans and the Britons in Africa in the course of World War I. Currently the area is very peaceful and is now famous for its resident Red-colored Elephants, that enjoy dust-bathing in the red colored soil. The serene environment of Tsavo comes mainly with thorny bushland, open grasslands and among the most beautiful scenic areas are; the Yatta plateau, the World’s longest lava flow stretching 290km; Mzima springs; Shetani Lava Flow; Chaimu Hill; and Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary.

Divi Theme Examples

Community and Wildlife Conservation

Community and Wildlife Conservation

Kenya’s Park boundaries were gazetted beginning in 1948. After Independence in 1963, the Kenyan Government put rules in place to stop people from entering the National Parks and the Game Department was set to uphold those laws. Prior to this time, in most places, care for the wildlife and environment had been under the control of strict systems of Elders. Some of the communities had had shrines that ended up inside the Parks after the boundary demarcation, and they were not allowed to access these special places. Anyone found in the park was beaten and taken to court, sometimes people only suspected to be involved in poaching were arrested in their homes. This continued for a long time.

Njavungo Council of Elders with our Director Lori

Njavungo Council of Elders with our Director Lori

A very bad attitude developed among the communities around the Parks and they influenced people in urban areas to feel the same way. Communities became hostile to the Game Department officers and rangers. The work of the rangers was extended to the Kenya Wildlife Service, as the department was renamed in 1989, and people felt that they continued beating and arresting suspects.

This bad attitude towards the rangers among the communities was also extended to wild animals. People began hating the rangers and wild animals, and this attitude was accelerated by the poor wildlife act, which was only written for the protection of wildlife. Communities felt that the government had taken away their wildlife and they could not see any benefits.

This hostility between Kenya Wildlife Service, wildlife and the communities who border the parks, continued for a long time.

Masai community during one of the film shows

Masai community during one of the film shows

Amara Conservation began with a different perspective towards conservation of our wildlife; with a goal to bridge the gap between whole groups of people and wildlife by engaging the communities to participate in Conservation for their mutual benefit. Amara Conservation is doing this through educating the entire about the importance of wildlife and conservation, by showing Conservation education films in local languages, and holding talks and forums about the importance of Wildlife.

Film Show in progress

Film Show in progress

Amara Conservation became the first organization in Tsavo, that solely engage, involve, and work with the communities towards conservation of wildlife. As Nelson Mandela, said “education is the only tool which can be used to change the world”, and education is power. Amara Conservation by educating the entire community, has helped change the attitudes of many towards conservation. Mbulia Group Ranch/ Mbulia Conservancy is our testimony that education is power, because our conservation education has empowered most of the communities and some have started projects which are environmental friendly. Another example is Sowene in Taveta, who transformed from a very experienced poacher to now a motorcycle taxi driver after our programs helped him see the value of protecting wildlife. We believe our efforts in providing conservation education in the communities will help change the attitudes and most communities will turn to become conservationists in the near future.

 

The Tsavo West National Park is a section of one of the largest wildlife conservancies on the planet, as well as one of Kenya’s largest wildlife national parks. It is well-known for its resident population of Red Elephants as well as the tale of the Tsavo Man-eaters. Unfortunately, most of the communities bordering these parks have never had a chance to visit them due to the cost. For these reasons Amara organizes game drives with Purdue University students each year into Tsavo West National Park. We also encourage children to form Wildlife Clubs and embrace their wildlife and environment. This year Mrabenyi Secondary School in Taita Taveta County had the opportunity to tour the vast Park and interact with the University students from USA.

 

tHistorically, the Tsavo Area is renowned for the Man-eaters of Tsavo, two mane-less lions who developed a taste to prey on humans back in the early 1900’s (various reasons are cited for this, one recently being that they suffered from tooth decay and pain that made hunting difficult for them!). Although they were later shot, they killed many people that were constructing the railway line connecting Mombasa and Nairobi. Additionally, it was the main battlefield between the Germans and the Britons in Africa in the course of World War I. Currently the area is very peaceful and is now famous for its resident Red-colored Elephants, that enjoy dust-bathing in the red colored soil. The serene environment of Tsavo comes mainly with thorny bushland, open grasslands and among the most beautiful scenic areas are; the Yatta plateau, the World’s longest lava flow stretching 290km; Mzima springs; Shetani Lava Flow; Chaimu Hill; and Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary.

Divi Theme Examples