Conservation of Nature Knows No Boundaries

Conservation of Nature Knows No Boundaries

We cannot brush aside problems that are linked to the environment, like internal conflicts, desertification, corruption and poverty. For a moment, we may assume that some of these issues do not concern us, but they do because we do not live in isolation. The international community must know that developed countries bear different responsibilities from those of the developing world, and they must understand that the development agendas of past ages might not have taken the health of the environment into consideration.

Brick making

Brick making

Whether this was true or not, the concern at the present moment, when some face an existential threat and others face a smoking hot threat, demands that we put the question of differences aside and save the sinking ship. In recognition that we all hold the present and future fate of the world; actions or omissions have potentially grave consequences.

Sand harvesting along the river banks

Sand harvesting along the river banks

Also we must recognize that the overall goal of environmental conservation on any level relies on what you and I do, on the way we behave. Environmental conservation is a relevant agenda both for the developing and developed worlds, not forgetting that the environment is a common, shared resource. After all, the external environment is just a reflection of the inner self.

If we want to save the environment and its species from extinction, we have to work across borders as their survival largely depends on habitats extending beyond national boundaries. With human populations growing – and corresponding increases in development, pollution, and consumption of natural resources – the need for international collaboration has never been greater.

 

Films shows on Conservation are an integral part of students’ lives

Films shows on Conservation are an integral part of students’ lives

Through our conservation programs at Amara, we are doing just that: helping local people to value and protect the world’s most treasured wildlife and habitats

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

Snakebite

Snakebite

Snakes are among the most feared creatures on earth. Despite their colorful appearance and ecological importance, some snakes’ venom can kill in minutes. The fear is however magnified by lack of knowledge about snakes. The fact is, a majority of snakes are non-venomous thus not harmful to humans. Out of about 400 snakes species in Africa only about 30 species are venomous. According to Bio-Ken snake farm, there are about 127 different snake species in Kenya out of which 24 species can cause human fatalities and another 10 species could cause a lot of pain while the remaining 93 are non-venomous. Lack of knowledge to distinguish which snakes are dangerous and which are not lead to general condemnation and fear of snakes. red-spitting-cobra

Red Spitting Cobra

Snakes play a critical role in balancing ecosystems. Naturally all snakes prey on small animals. As such they help control disease-carrying vermin and crop raiders like rats, mice, bats, and birds as well feed on slugs that cause diseases such as Bilharzia. Thus snakes are important in controlling pests in our surroundings. Over the years, the number of snake bites in Kenya has been on the rise. This has been attributed to environmental factors, global warming and increase in population. Experts have argued that due to global warming, previously cooler habitats are now becoming more habitable to snakes. Clearing of forests and the escalating droughts have forced the snakes to go into people’s houses to look for water. Also, rising population has pushed people to clear large parcels of land typically habited by snakes, thus causing conflict. In addition, the killing of animals that prey on snakes may have led to a population imbalance. Puff Adder

Puff Adder

Snake bites cause significant morbidity (illness) and mortality (death) worldwide. An estimated five million people worldwide are bitten by snakes annually, out of whom 100,000 die and 400,000 become permanently disabled. In Sub-Saharan Africa, snakebites cause 30,000 human fatalities per year, while an estimated 8,000 people undergo amputations. In Kenya, close to 500 human lives are lost annually as a result of snakebites while many more become permanently disfigured. Snakebites mainly affect people living in rural areas where there are no nearby health facilities. The high cost and scarcity of antivenom in many facilities prompts many rural communities to seek medical help from traditional healers or not seek help at all. Research from different scholars indicates that in Kenya, less than 30 % of the rural communities where the majority of snakebites occur seek medical treatment from hospitals. As a result, many incidences of snakebite and resulting morbidity and mortality go unrecorded. Lack of accurate and reliable snakebite data in Sub-Saharan Africa has led to misunderstandings and as a consequence policy makers have largely ignored the problem or consider it to be low priority. This situation led World Health Organization (WHO) to declare snakebites a neglected tropical disease in 2009. According to Snake Bite Rescue Rehabilitation and Research Centre Kenya (SNABIRC), an estimated 300-500 people are admitted to Kenyan hospitals due to snakebites every month. A third of these patients lose their lives and the rest become disabled to varying degrees; approximately 5 percent end up with amputation. This clearly shows the magnitude of the problem. Brown Spitting Cobra

Brown Spitting Cobra

Another challenge is that there is no antivenom manufactured in Kenya. Though there is milking of venom, all antivenom is imported from outside the country. The antivenom found in most hospitals is not species or area specific and the same drug is used across the country. However, according to health experts, antivenom must be species and area specific in order to be effective. Use of the wrong antivenom can be fatal. Therefore, there is a dire need to address these shortcomings. This should include availing antivenom to the local health facilities in the high risk snakebite areas, subsidizing the cost and/or better supporting production of antivenom locally to ensure availability of the correct treatment. The policy should also include training health professionals on snake identification and treatment protocols and most importantly, awareness on preventive measures, how to identify and distinguish venomous and nonvenomous snakes and how to handle snake bites. Brown House snake

Brown House snake

On 4th January 2014, the Kenya Wildlife Conservation and Management Act 2013 came into force. The Act awards Sh5 million for human death, KSh3 million for injury with permanent disability and a maximum of KSh2 million for other injuries depending on their extent. By December 2016 the claims from snakebites stood at KSh4.5 billion ($45 million). Consequently, The National Assembly committee on Environment and Natural Resources which is amending the act, is seeking to remove snakebite from the list of compensations. They argue that this will relieve tax payers from paying huge loses. However this will not help the future victims of snakebite. The big question remains to be seen as to what the government will do help the communities in high risk areas. We hope that appropriate measures are put in place to reduce the losses for all concerned.

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 effects on Maasai communities

Climate change effects on Maasai communities

Climate change is threatening the livelihoods of thousands of Kenyans, and one of the hardest hit communities is the Maasai. Traditionally, the Maasai are herders, who keep large herds of cattle for subsistence. The Maasai are a Nilotic ethnic group of semi-nomadic people inhabiting southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. They are among the best-known local populations due to their residence near the many game parks and their preserved culture.

maasai-land

Since time immemorial, the Maasai have had rich indigenous knowledge about their environment and how to monitor and predict climate and seasonal cycles through observation of behavioral characteristics of biological components and other traditional, socio-cultural methods. They still use the same knowledge to model weather events and livelihood management. However unpredictable weather variations have become so common that drought that used to occur after some years is now occurring every two years or less, and the trend continues to worsen.

maasai-herdsman-802888_1280

Due to changes in weather and rainfall patterns, water is becoming harder to find and in many places grass has stopped growing, leaving no food for the cattle. Cattle are the main source of food and income in this community, and they are not able to withstand longer drought. Many Maasai communities lose a lot of cattle, and have begun practicing early weaning of calves during persistent drought because cows cannot produce enough milk. During this time, the cows are weak and need to travel long distances in search for water and pasture. The beef cattle lose condition and produce less meat, therefore bringing less income.

 

As our Mobile Film Unit visits schools and communities, we emphasize to the communities the need of keeping smaller and therefore healthier cattle herds, and increasing sheep and goat flocks, as they require less grass to survive. Climate change is creating a need for a whole new perspective on livelihoods for the pastoralist societies.

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

Human Activities Affecting the Environment

Human Activities Affecting the Environment

Our natural heritage is being threatened by human activities, forests are disappearing at an unprecedented rate, and lakes, rivers and water catchments are being polluted. Our landscapes are being disfigured through day-to-day human activities like quarrying, sand mining, and brick- making along rivers. Our efforts to protect what is left of the biological diversity in Kenya and especially in Tsavo and its environs have never been more urgently needed.

After felling of trees

After felling of trees

Amara Conservation is trying to protect and conserve indigenous plants and animals by educating entire communities about how the destruction of natural habitats is continuing to put into peril their very existence. In many areas we are left with derelict and degraded sites, which require replacement of lost elements of the original ecosystem.

DSC00064-1

For example; the need for building materials from the rapid increase in population in urban areas, has contributed to the demand of housing that has come, especially with the construction of a new standard gauge railway through Tsavo, the people in these communities have turned to stone harvesting from the hills, creating paths while accessing the stones

 

Sand harvesting

Sand harvesting

Habitat restoration techniques and education must be employed to repair the damage caused by human actions. Amara Conservation has been visiting these communities and teaching them about the need to use resources wisely. As the destruction goes on, it not only affects those doing the quarrying or sand harvesting but also the communities and animals living downhill. Water flowing down the hill has rock particles with hazardous waste and is often contaminated, which may cause cholera, typhoid and other water-borne diseases for people living downstream.

Mound of garbage

Mound of garbage

We ask the communities to start doing little things at home like planting trees to avoid soil erosion; recycling; proper hazardous waste disposal; and general management of their land. These are things that will help make our waters safe and healthy not only for the people but also for our plants and animals.

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

Together we can make a Difference

Together we can make a Difference

Happy New Year to you, and fabulous 2017 from all of us at Amara Conservation.

As I sat here this morning opening the mail, I came across this unsolicited donation. What a nice surprise that from seeing us in action 2 years ago this family member was moved enough to send us this donation from afar! I can’t tell you how much we all appreciate their help for our education work with communities in Tsavo.

IMG_1419

It was sent to us the end of December 2016 and reads:

“Dear Amara Conservation,
Enclosed is a donation from my family Foundation. While studying and working in Kenya and Tanzania in 2014 I saw firsthand the incredible conservation education you do in Tsavo. It is our hope that this donation may be helpful to you in all your incredible endeavours.”

One of our objectives here at Amara is to strive to prevent a world without elephants. We do this by disseminating knowledge to people and schools living close to the wild. We saw the significant need for people to know and value the wild as their own, and hence the need for education on wild and environment. We believe in the power of information.

We would like to thank the Alden Family for their support – it is the help of people from all over that keeps us going. Your support will help us reach many more people in the vast Tsavo Conservation Area who urgently need information on the importance of the wild.

Thank you! You have made a real difference in the lives of the people we serve.

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