An energy needs assessment conducted by East African Wild Life Society among households within and around Mt. Suswa Conservancy has revealed that over 90% of these households rely on biomass to fuel their traditional cooking stoves. This reliance has led to escalating levels of forest destruction in the conservancy as well as habitat reduction for baboons, leopards, spotted hyenas, african civets and rock hyraxes who call Mt. Suswa Conservancy home. An increase in respiratory disorders, predominantly among women and school going children has also been noted.
In response, EAWLS in partnership with the Karen Country Club (KCC) recently installed an institutional rocket stove at Karuka Primary School, Mt. Suswa Conservancy. The rocket stove has a capacity to cook for up to 250 people at a go and is expected to benefit over 225 people directly. This rocket stove uses less firewood than traditional cook stoves and ensures complete fuel combustion, thus faster cooking times.
Karuka Primary School is but one of several schools located around Mt. Suswa Conservancy that use traditional cook stoves to prepare meals for their students and teachers. These traditional cooking stoves are inefficient as they do not fully combust biomass thus, up to 75% of heat they produce is lost. Their combustion processes also release compounds including carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides, particulate matter and black carbon that are hazardous to human health.
Indoor smoke from biomass is linked to childhood pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer and is ranked in the top 10 risk factors for the global burden of disease by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
To facilitate the use of their traditional cooking stove, Karuka Primary School pupils previously had to carry at least two pieces of firewood to school every day – a tedious exercise that exposed them to various hazards including attacks by wild animals.
This installation of this and other rocket stoves is a step forward in helping Kenya realise a 100% transition to renewable energy. Furthermore, this initiative champions sustainable development through improvements to human health, energy access as well as biodiversity protection.
If you would like to partner with EAWLS to install rocket stoves in Mt. Suswa Conservancy and reduce biomass dependence, please contact Jabes.Okumu@eawildlife.org.
The best way to support wildlife conservation is to plan your visit for later. The worse you can do is ask for a refund.
Do you have a safari planned to Africa this year? If so, we encourage you to change the dates; and not to cancel…
Several African states have imposed far-reaching restrictions in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus.
South Africa has declared a national disaster and announced a ban on travel from the worst-affected countries, while Kenya has also imposed sweeping travel restrictions with ripple effects on the continent’s tourism sphere.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) estimates that up to 50 million jobs could be lost because of the virus, while the travel sector could shrink up to 25 per cent in 2020.
The survival of the tourism industry- in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic- is key for the preservation of Africa’s wildlife and wild places. Protected areas in many developing countries rely heavily on tourism fees. For example, national parks in Kenya, home of the iconic Nairobi National Park, derive almost 70% of their income from tourism revenue (such as entrance fees, restaurants, accommodation, concession fees).
In light of this, many of East Africa’s tourist destinations are now urging travelers to try to postpone their trip, rather than cancel. ”Keep money on account for a postponement rather than demand a refund. When things go back to normal, you have something booked,” advices Embark’s CEO, Jack Ezon.
We recommend that you not give up on your safari, on an experience of a lifetime because of the Coronavirus, and instead make a fully informed decision by speaking directly to your safari tour operator, accommodation and airlines. Africa needs you: postpone, don’t cancel.
By Nancy Ogonje, Executive Director, East African Wild Life Society
First of all, we hope that all of you and your loved ones are coping with this difficult environment we find ourselves in due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We want you to know that you are in our thoughts and that we sincerely hope you remain healthy.
We are currently facing significant disruptions to our lives and a major and largely unforeseen global challenge that affects people in all corners of the world. The East African Wild Life Society is no exception: the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting our members, our partners—both regional and across the globe—as well as our staff.
With COVID-19-related challenges mounting, EAWL’s mission becomes even more urgent—not only to protect wildlife, but also people—because we are all now suffering the consequences of the dangerous wildlife trade practices that for years, EAWLS has been advocating against.
This period will be challenging as we continue to champion a change in our relationship with wildlife while not being able to properly mobilise our teams to carry out conservation projects on the ground.
Where we can, we plan to increase our online presence so that people indoors remain connected to the natural world. If you would like to offer additional support to help with EAWLS’s ongoing activities during the lockdown period, please follow this link.
Through this crisis, the East African Wild Life Society will continue to be the voice that nature needs. We hope you and your families will join us at the other end, all the more willing to fight for nature at this pivotal tipping point for our planet.
With a soaring infection rate, growing death toll and widespread lockdowns which are shutting down entire economies and costing people their jobs, it is hard to see any positive side of the coronavirus pandemic. However, it seems the lockdown has had an unintended benefit – blue skies.
Satellite images released by NASA and the European Space Agency show a dramatic reduction in nitrogen dioxide emissions – those released by vehicles, power plants and industrial facilities – in major Chinese cities between January and February. The visible cloud of toxic gas hanging over industrial powerhouses almost disappeared.
While not a greenhouse gas itself, the pollutant originates from the same activities and industrial sectors that are responsible for a large share of the world’s carbon emissions and that drive global heating.
One expert said the sudden shift represented the “largest scale experiment ever” in terms of the reduction of industrial emissions.
The exponential growth of the coronavirus pandemic also teaches us a valuable lesson about the perils of ignoring destructive processes—and perhaps even larger, longer-term disasters—that increase exponentially.
Aside from the coronavirus pandemic, the biggest, most destructive exponential growth processes that we must grapple with today are those associated with global climate change.
“If we can think about how to prepare for climate change like a pandemic, maybe there will be a positive outcome to all of this,” says Christopher Jones, lead developer of the CoolClimate Network, an applied research consortium at the University of California, Berkeley. “We can help prevent crises in the future if we are prepared. I think there are some big-picture lessons here that could be very useful.”
It is no secret that there has been major damage to Kenya’s forests, which cover about 7.4 per cent of the total land area against the recommended global minimum of 10 per cent.
The country’s closed canopy forests cover only 2 per cent of the total land area, compared to the African average of 9.3 per cent and a global average of 21.4 per cent. Most of the closed canopy forests in Kenya are montane forests that are also the nation’s water towers.
In recent years, Kenya’s forests have been depleted at an alarming rate of 5,000 hectares per annum, resulting in an estimated annual reduction in water availability of over 62 million cubic meters.
In response, the East African Wild Life Society pioneered the The Forest Challenge – an annual event meant to raise funds for the conservation of forests and raise awareness on their importance.
The Forest Challenge Rehabilitation Program launched in 2015, has so far restored over 8.5 hectares of degraded montane forests in Eburru and Kereita Forests that form part of the larger Mau forest complex and the Aberdare water towers respectively.
This forest rehabilitation program is intended to provide a fillip to efforts to achieve Kenya’s stated objective of increasing the national tree cover to at least 10 per cent of the country’s total landmass by 2022.
Monitoring of the tree seedlings planted under the Forest Challenge Rehabilitation Program is critical in ensuring that the saplings planted take root and thrive. Thus, the Forest Challenge Rehabilitation Program employs an elaborate three-year tree care strategy, and works closely with the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and Community Forest Associations (CFAs) to implement it.
In this program, CFAs are empowered to work closely with KFS to undertake the aftercare activities for all the newly planted sites for a duration of up to three years. These aftercare activities include watering the trees when there is inadequate rainfall; spot weeding in order to remove competition for moisture and nutrients as well as protecting the trees from destruction by humans, livestock and wildlife. This not only enhances tree growth success rates but also creates ownership among the local communities while empowering them economically.
On 20th March 2020, the East African Wild Life Society’s project team visited the Forest Challenge Rehabilitation site in Eburru Forest to assess the success rate of the 4,500 tree seedlings planted in two phases in May 2019 with proceeds from the 2018 Forest Challenge.
The assessment showed that 85 per cent of the trees planted in the first phase had survived and were thriving – a very exciting development! An assessment of the trees planted in the second phase is scheduled as soon as the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
We want to thank our donors and corporate sponsors of the Forest Challenge for enabling us to plant and grow these trees. We look forward to more tree planting in the years to come!