Safarilink, now a Corporate Silver member of EAWLS, is Kenya’s premier safari airline, distinguished for its commitment to the environment as the first carbon-neutral local airline.
EAWLS has revised its membership categories due to market demand for sponsorship rates. We wish to re-affirm our commitment to work tirelessly towards ensuring that we meet and exceed our strategic goals. By supporting EAWLS you are contributing to a cause that will have immense impact on the people, full diversity, beauty and richness of nature in the East African region.
The East African Wildlife Society (EAWLS) had the honour of hosting Dr. Matt Walpole− Senior Director of Conservation Programmes for Flora and Fauna International (FFI) on the 30th and 31st July 2019 at the EAWLS offices in Nairobi. The purpose of this workshop was to hold consultations with the EAWLS staff and Board of Directors regarding the development of the Society’s new strategic plan which will come into effect in 2020. The activities of this session entailed a critical examination of the internal and external activities of the Society to forge a clear path for its future.
The consultation session between Matt and the EAWLS staff on the 30th July was initiated with an overview of the work of FFI whose mission is largely focused on strengthening organisations to allow them to effectively fulfil their roles in conservation. The participants were challenged to share their outlook on the current position of the organisation including its strengths and areas for improvement. The final consultation session on the 31st July was focused on reflecting on the participants’ views on the long term vision of success for the Society.
EAWLS looks forward to further collaboration with FFI as we work to strengthen our organisational capacity to fulfil our mission of promoting the conservation and wise use of the environment and natural resources in East Africa.
It has been noted that the elephants of Mt. Elgon are the only elephants in the world known to go deep into caves to mine salt for their own consumption. This unique elephant culture, along with severe threats to the survival of elephants on Mt. Elgon and the fragile ecological status of the mountain call for urgent action to protect the pachyderms in that environment.
Their security profile and exposure to poaching has been largely unassessed. EAWLS’ Mount Elgon Elephant Project (MEEP) has kicked off with the training of community scouts on Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) and Cyber Trackers as monitoring tools to help collect data using smart phones on the Mount Elgon Cave elephants. Trainees were drawn from the Kenya Wildlife Service and the local community.
The African continent is endowed with rich biodiversity and natural resources from which its people derive their livelihoods. Increasingly, the continent’s rapid population growth and need for infrastructure and economic expansion pose threats to its ecological integrity.
The perception that conservation is about the preservation of nature at the expense of the well-being of the people has influenced and shaped conversations about development and the continent’s natural resources.
The good news is that the challenge of linking economic growth to environmental protection and sustainable resource consumption is possible; they need not be mutually exclusive. There are numerous opportunities to safeguard Africa’s natural resources and ensure its economic development.
A group of African leaders in conservation met in December 2017 and decided to form a platform where proponents of conservation in Africa could come together and engage in shaping the discourse around conservation in Africa. Consequentially, the African Conservation Platform was established to promote African leadership and voices to influence policymakers in the African Union and the African Development Bank on sustainable and inclusive future for Africa. The Platform acts as a catalyst in changing the conservation narrative in Africa; making conservation relevant to the African people.
World Ranger Day (WDA) is marked on July 31 every year to pay tribute to rangers who have been injured or killed in the course of their duty and to celebrate their colleagues who are still boldly performing their roles in protecting the world’s natural and cultural treasures — wild animals and their habitats. Rangers do not only ensure safety for wildlife but also that of people visiting our parks, reserves, sanctuaries, and conservancies.
EAWLS in partnership with Embassy of Finland to Kenya, Embassy of China to Kenya, Mara Conservation Fund and Intrepid Foundation has been supporting rangers in an array of ways through its conservancy support programme since 2014. The programme focuses on building the capacities of conservancy rangers through trainings and provision of equipment.
A total of 30 rangers have been trained on different aspects, including ecological monitoring, field safety, planning effective patrols, incident reporting and response, and professional ethics.
The most recent beneficiaries are rangers from Ol Kinyei, Mt. Suswa and Enonkishu Conservancies. The trainings have enhanced good working relationships among rangers, boosted their morale, enhanced quality data gathering as well as accurate and effective reporting of incidents.
The programme also supports rangers through the provision of anti-poaching equipment such as binoculars, motorbikes, portable tents, camel backpacks, sleeping bags, boots, uniforms and unit huts for radio room. These have not only boosted the morale of the rangers but also enhanced their effectiveness and efficiency resulting in reduced poaching of wildlife. In total, the programme has supported rangers from up to 20 conservancies in Maasai Mara, Amboseli, and Taita Taveta and the coastal and northern regions.
Rangers are on the frontline in defending not only our wildlife but also people and their livelihood.
EAWLS would like to encourage our partners, members and the public to support our rangers programme through funding or donation of equipment. The Society also appeals to you to plant least one tree to commemorate our rangers who died while defending our heritage.
Since its inception in 1995, the Kenya Forests Working Group (KFWG), an EAWLS-led forum, has been carrying out advocacy work and has driven policy reforms in the country’s forestry sector. The network has been key in the development of forestry laws, regulations and sound governance. KFWG also runs a monthly forum every last Friday of the month that brings together stakeholders from various parts of Kenya in the forest sector to deliberate on emerging issues that require urgent action.
The KFWG secretariat at EAWLS collaborates with government agencies and local communities and has played crucial roles in promoting the integration of local communities in forest conservation and worked to improve the capacity of communities for effective participation.
Since the beginning of 2019, KFWG’s Management Committee and the secretariat have been looking into ways of making the network more vibrant and efficient in executing its advocacy mandate and playing its watchdog role to ensure sound management and conservation of forest resources in the country.
Following a meeting held on the 18th June, 2019, a resolution on the way forward was passed. It underlines the need for the network to review its strategies further to ensure continued impact through engagement in the sector with other partners. The secretariat organised a stakeholders meeting on 2nd August, 2019. The forum deliberated on a plan to revise the KFWG strategy later in August.
EAWLS Programmes Manager, Jabes Okumu participated in the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund’s Experience-Sharing and Networking Event at Imperial Botanical Beach Hotel, Entebbe, Uganda from 2nd to 5th July 2019.
This event was organised by the Tropical Biology Association (TBA) under the CEPF-funded project entitled “Systematic Evaluation of CEPF and Capacity Development of CEPF Grantees”. The four-day event brought together CEPF grantees from 10 countries within the Eastern Afromontane Region to network, share experiences and lessons and discuss the sustainability of projects.
The CEPF programme is expected to close this year and therefore the workshop also sought to evaluate CEPF impact in the Eastern Afromontane region over the past seven years (since 2012) with a view to informing its new strategic focus and direction in the hotspot for the next phase. Projects implemented or being implemented by CEPF grantees vary from research, community livelihood and species and habitats conservation to Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) management and protection.
The event also sought to demonstrate the contribution of the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in attaining the Aichi Biodiversity targets under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). CEPF is a joint initiative of l’Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, European Union, Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan and the World Bank, and aims to strengthen CSOs.
Through this event, EAWLS was able to showcase the impact and the lessons learnt from the projects it has been implementing within Lake Ol Bolossat KBA in Kenya since 2016. Collectively, the grantees with guidance from the event facilitators developed shareable lessons that are authentic, significant and applicable.
The next triennial meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES CoP18) will be held in Geneva from 17th to 28th August. CITES seeks to ensure that international trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival in the wild.
The 2019 conference will adopt a wide range of decisions to expand and strengthen the global wildlife trade regime. A key highlight will be the 57 proposals that governments have submitted for changing the levels of protection afforded to over 500 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and plants.
Kenya and its allies in the African Elephant Coalition (AEC) will propose that all African elephants populations be placed in Appendix I to offer maximum protection under CITES in the face of the ongoing threats posed by the unsustainable demand from the ivory trade, the uncertainty of the impact of that trade on the species across its range, and the enforcement problems that current split-listing may create.
All the populations of the African elephant — except those in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe — are already listed in CITES Appendix I, which lists species that are the most endangered among CITES-listed animals and plants. Elephants in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe fall under Appendix II, which lists species that are not necessarily threatened with extinction now, but which may become threatened unless trade is closely controlled.
Kenya’s and AEC members backing its proposal will insist that elephants in the four southern African countries revert to Appendix I.
In the run-up to and during the Conference of Parties proceedings in Geneva, the Kenyan Wildlife Service (KWS), Kenya Airways and Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) will jointly run a month-long campaign in support of Kenya’s position against ivory trade. The three agencies have requested other conservation organisation to partner with them in the campaign, which will mainly run in Kenya’s airports, to amplify the message. The campaign was officially launched by Kenya’s First Lady Margaret Kenyatta on July 31.
The publicity campaign includes the printing of 400,000 limited edition boarding passes for the month of August that will feature the image of an elephant on the back. When ripped apart prior to boarding, the elephant tusk will be removed from the elephant. Travellers will be instructed on how to find out more about the #Ripoff campaign on the flight.
East African Wild Life Society’s (EAWLS) Executive Director, Julius Kamau, on 12 June 2017 represented the Society in the launch of consultations that will culminate in the formulation of Kenya’s National Wildlife Conservation and Management Strategy.
The launch of the process by Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources, Prof. Judi Wakhungu, at a breakfast meeting in Nairobi will lead to the creation of the strategy, which is provided for under the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act 2013, and aligns with the country’s Vision 2030 development blueprint, as wells as other relevant policy and legal frameworks.
The strategy will also provide a coordinated framework for national wildlife conservation and management, in accordance with the various land tenure systems of public, community and private.
The strategy aims to:
- Set national targets and indicators for viable and sustainable wildlife and habitat conservation over the coming decades;
- Secure wildlife habitats, dispersal areas and corridors and promote evidence-based integrated planning to enhance wildlife conservation across terrestrial, fresh-water and marine environments;
- Stop poaching and illegal wildlife trade, and strengthen the inter-agency collaboration in the Governance, Justice, Law and Order Sector (GJLOS) in dealing with illegal wildlife trade;
- Address strategies to avoid and mitigate human-wildlife conflict
- Establish and implement national long-term wildlife conservation and management funding and monitoring and reporting systems; and
- Strengthen cooperative management of wildlife resources by the national and county governments, communities, individual landowners and other stakeholders.
The strategy formulation process is being spearheaded and coordinated by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources with financial support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The process will build on past and present policies, practices, regulations, amendments, and strategies to ensure coherence.
The process will review existing strategies and document best practices nationally and internationally, use focus group discussions, seek technical input from experts and organise key stakeholder consultations and broad public participation.
EAWLS conducted a three-day monitoring of the just concluded six-month project on “Enhancing Environmental Regulations in Safeguarding Lake Ol Bolossat, Nyandarua County” from 20 to 22 June, 2018.
Project manager Jabes Okumu and representatives from Birdlife International carried out an assessment of the impacts of the project and document lessons learned shared experiences.
The exercise involved interviewing project partners to determine their extent of involvement in the just concluded project.
Through the Bird Life International, Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), EAWLS’ evidence-based advocacy resulted in the decision by the County Government of Nyandarua to prioritise the gazettement of Lake Ol Bolossat.
A draft bill that provides for the formation of a steering committee to fast-rack the gazettement process of the lake as a game reserve has been introduced in the County Assembly. A letter has also been drafted expressing the interest of the county government to acquire the land surrounding the lake.
The county government has also allocated funds to tarmac and improve the recently graded roads, a step towards minimising siltation of the lake. With funding from Rufford Foundation, EAWLS has now embarked on putting together available information, including trends in size, water volumes and other infographics to support and augment the concerted efforts of the county government towards the gazettement.