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What do you think of this elephant? It’s such a disturbing image. But it happens, and its done by people. Just like what happened to this elephant, thousands of innocent and voiceless wild creatures are subjected to all sorts of inhumane treatment everyday. We need to change our negative perceptions towards wildlife conservation through learning and actions. The Mobile Conservation Education Unit welcomes you in undertaking the vital task of educating and involving hundreds of thousands of Kenyan children and communities in wildlife conservation. Let’s learn to treat our wild animals in a humane way
The Wildlife Clubs of Kenya had earlier own requested for a material support from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). Last month the RSPB donated 4 pairs of binoculars. Through the RSPB International Environment Education manager Barrie Cooper we (WCK) send our sincere gratitudes for this kind donation . The binoculars would be used at the Wajee Nature Park. This is a hot spot for the endangered Hindes babbler, only six members of this species are found here. We would also like to appreciate Brenton H and many others who joined us in ‘Save the Hindes babbler campaign’ by giving a kind financial donation early this year.
More material and financial support is highly welcomed. More binoculars, bird guides, camping facilities and conservation publications are needed for the increasing number of school students, local and international visitors who visit the site in search of the Hindes babbler. WCK now focuses on effectively educating and involving the local school children and communities in conserving this vital habitat. In the month of September alone 20 schools and over 5,000 school children were visited, educated and fully incorporated in the Hindes babbler awareness campaign by the WCK’s Mobile Conservation Education Unit.
Written by Gabriel
The Wildlife Clubs of Kenya in partnership with the Bornfree Foundation have been involving the Wildlife Club members in desnaring campaigns. Through their passion and dedication the youths are passing an important message ‘ Let Us Set Our Wildlife Free’. Thanks to this initiative over 1,800 snares have been removed in hot spot areas like the Athi Kapiti plains, Konza, Ngong forest, around Nairobi National Park among others in the last one year.
A snare is trap commonly made of metal wire taken from abandoned tyres, telephone lines. The traps are set in areas that are a preferred passage for antelopes like the dik diks. Such include trails, water points, fence openings and around dung piles. Because of the illegal snare traps wildlife populations in these areas have been dwindling. This negatively affects the balance of nature and more so the tourism sector. The uninspected bush meat sold to the local market is as well not safe for human use.
During the desnaring program, the trained team walks deep in the hot spots, identifying and removing any snare. The team is always accompanied by a Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) or Kenya Forest Service(KFS) armed rangers. The KWS/KFS personnel have legal mandate to make any arrests.
The team moves keenly along targeted areas, intercepting any kind of snare found and rescuing the animals.
In such areas carcasses of antelopes are notably found, signifying the extend of the problem. Some poachers escape on noticing the team’s presence. A number of poachers have been arrested.
Depending on how far and big the area is, desnaring campaigns can take several days. The team camps in these targeted spots to accomplish the task. At the end the team members are exhausted but happy for saving lives of hundreds of voiceless and innocent creatures.
Its evident that more snare hotspots exist in other parts of the country. This volunteer team has enormous task ahead. But even much so the team needs more material and financial support especially if more young people are to be incorporated in this noble program. Tents, sleeping bags, transport means, food and other basic up keep needs are the key essentials for the team. We welcome your kind support.
The Wildlife Clubs of Kenya (WCK) has now acquired the Wajee Nature Park. The park is a 22 acre forest tract located in Mukurweni, a few Kilometers South of Mt Kenya. Wajee Nature Park is one of the few remaining habitats for the endemic Hindes Babbler ( Turdoides hindei). The Hindes babbler is listed as vulnerable under IUCN Red List. Its main threat is habitat loss. The bird depends on secondary vegetation and open woodland much of which is now threatened by intensive farming. Indeed only six members of the Hindes babbler are found around Wajee Nature Park. There is therefore need to take urgent measures in safeguarding the Hindes Babbler shrinking habitats.
What has WCK done so far?
1. WCK has taken over management of the Nature Park and enhancing protection of the only remaining forest track and habitats for the Hindes Babbler.
2. Educating and involving the local farmers and community on the need to protect Hindes babbler and its habitats through better farming practices.
3. Educational programmes to the school youths and local community in general to enable them understand the need to protect the Hindes Babbler habitats.
WCK kindly seeks support from well wishers and organizations to:
1.Train local farmers on selective farming so that habitats for the birds found in peoples land can be protected. Farmers should be made aware of the existence of the bird in the farms.
2. Develop information materials about the Hindes babbler (its status and threats locally). These will be distributed to local farmers and Wildlife Clubs in schools.
3. Refurbish the information center so that school children, local community and visitors can use it a a resource center.
4. Acquire binoculars and playback recorder for school children, community and visitors to use in tracking the bird during nature walks and monitoring the bird in the local farms.
Welcome, join us in saving the endemic Hindes babbler!
The Wildlife Clubs of Kenya members are concerned with the rapid loss of our wildlife species due to human activities.
The number of wildlife species killed by speeding vehicles on our roads is increasing due to carelessness and ignorance. This is happening even in remote areas where there is no busy traffic.
The picture below shows a beautiful reticulated giraffe knocked down recently by a speeding lorry at the Garissa Giraffe Sanctuary.
In a stretch of less than one kilometer over 15 wildlife species were observed to have been killed by speeding vehicles in Rift Valley. Among them were the african civet, tortoise, genet and bird species .
Improper development plans are a disastrous to our wildlife species survival. At a slaughter house in North Eastern Kenya over 5 marabou stocks are electrocuted everyday as they patch on uninsulated electric wires. The stocks visit the center to feed on meat remains.
Our members are saddened by people who keep and mistreat wild animals for commercial reasons. In an Eco-lodge near the Tanzania border the condition of ‘Suzanne’ kept for visitors to watch is pathetic. She is never fed, never free from her huge chain and really looks miserable. See her photo below.
In our country Kenya more than 70% of our animals live outside the protected areas. This means they live with me and you. Its high time that we learn to live with our wildlife. The Wildlife Clubs of Kenya through its members and Born Free Foundation has been undertaking desnaring activities in some bush meat hot spots. Over 2000 snares have been captured.The number of animals killed is alarming. Some animals escape with the snares and end up having a painful slow death.
These are just few examples, and such disappointing occurrences are happening in every corner of this world.
Awareness creation, initiating wildlife conservation activities, lobbying and desnaring are some of the key activities the Wildlife Clubs of Kenya is undertaking to safeguard our wildlife. However there is need for we humans to be more humane to wildlife species and better conservation policies put in every country.
Through our Educational Officers we train and help school children and communities to initiate Wildlife Activities. This does not only help in instilling conservation knowledge, skills and interest among Kenyans, but as well acts as an appropriate way of curbing conservation challenges in every locality.
Which are some of the activities?
Visiting our National Parks
Primary school pupils as well as Secondary school and Tertiary level students have an opportuity to visit our National parks. This gives them ample time to learn about Wildlife. By visiting the parks our youth who comprise over 70% of the Kenyans population develop a positive attitude towards Wildlife and conservation in general. Today a majority of people working in the Conservation sector were once Wildlife Club members.
Mobile Education Unit Programs
Our Outreach programs reach schools and communities in every corner of Kenya. This free Program screens Wildlife Conservation films educates Kenyans. By visiting remote places the program helps to address specific conservation issues in these areas.
Tree Planting & Labeling
This is one of the most popular activity in our schools. Indigenous trees are planted around school compounds and nearby degraded forest parches. Guidelines are provided on where to plant exotic trees.
Creating Wildlife Habitats
By Planting indigenous trees in degraded forest patches and school compounds, wildlife habitats are well restored. Also bird feeding tables, and bird baths are constructed in schools.
The Art & Essay Competitions
Our School children are given an opportunity to explore their drawing and writing talents. This helps our youth to think positively about wildlife and even understand it better. Winners are given presents and taken for a one week trip to various National Parks free of charge.
Komba Magazine: Reading & Articles
Schools Receive three isses of Komba magazine evry uear free of charge. The Komba magazine good information and pictures on Wildlife conservation. School children also send articles to be published in the Komba magazine.
Teachers act as important argent’s of change to the society. Many teachers serve as volunteer wildlife patrons in their regions. Teachers are trained on various conservation issues including how to initiate and run conservation projects with schools and communities.
Many other conservation activities are undertaken by schools and communities. They include rallies, debates, discussions, initiating nature trails, fishponds, museums, creating notice boards, paper recycling, desnaring and lobbying. Also innovative activities like SODIs water treatment, making wildlife spotters, among others are encouraged in our schools.
Wildlife activities enable school children and communities to learn and understand nature conservation though action doing.
For many years the Wildlife Clubs of Kenya has been undertaking a sole and vital task of educating the Kenyan Public on conservation issues. This has been well fulfilled through our grassroots structures, effective School Educational Programs, conservation publications and conservation activities initiated.
We pay special tribute to many organizations and individuals who have donated various conservation films to our conservation programs. We kindly appeal for more of such support. Indeed the films are an effective conservation education tool.
With the support from interested individuals and organizations, Wildlife Clubs of Kenya would like to initiate an idea of making Community/School Conservation Films.
Why Make Community/Schools Conservation films?
- The documentaries/films will be locally made, hence they will create a sense of belonging and voice to the local people. Therefore they will be more interested to watch.
- The films will be made in local language hence easy for communities to understand.
- The films will focus on relevant community conservation challenges. They will be specific to the local conservation problem.
- They will offer solutions/alternatives to the local conservation challenges.
- Accessibility:The films will be shown and distributed to schools and communities.
- To cope with our quickly rising audience and demand (Schools and community groups)
- They will form a great package to our Mobile education Unit Programs that educates over 500 schools and reaches over 300,000 school children and local communities countrywide every year.
Do we have the ability?
Yes, our well structured grassroot networking will make it easy to make and distribute the films to local communtities/schools country wide. This will be throgh schools, students, teachers, community groupes and partnering organizations.
Thanks to Dr. David Harper of Leicester University, some of our staff members have received training on how to make films through the ‘Community Conservation Film Making Training Program.’ We shall use our trained staff and even consult with the Training team while making the Films.
For us to initiate this program we are kindly appealing to interested individuals and organizations to help us with some filming equipments whether new or used). For example:
- Mackintosh laptop
- Final Cut Pro editing program & iDVD
- A Video camera with required specifications ( input & output connectors, card slot/tape loading, LCD monitor, DVD recording, >5 mega pixels & camera conveniences).
- Other filming gears ( external mike, tripod)
Thank you so much