To Tanganyika

For the chimpanzees (sokwe mtu in Kiswahili)

Published The East African Nation media 16-22 September 2017

Above: Playful young chimpanzee in Gombe National Park on the shores of Lake Tanganyika.  Copyright Rupi Mangat

When l heard Dr Jane Goodall talk in Nairobi about her ground-breaking pioneering chimpanzee research in Gombe it became my mission to get there in search of our closest relative whose DNA is 98 per cent like ours. It was Goodall who first documented chimpanzees using tools for a purpose – inserting sticks in a termite mound to fish out the insects for a snack – that made Louis Leakey the Kenyan paleoanthropologist quote famously, “Now we must redefine tool, redefine Man, or accept chimpanzees as humans” Continue reading “To Tanganyika”

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A Run to Conserve

Safaricom Marathoners support Kenya’s rugged northern-scape

Published In The East African,Nation media 20-26 May 2017

The iconic loaf-shaped mountain Ololokwe, and the Warges of the Mathews Range behind - a high peak at 8,000 feet high above the plains. Tthe local Samburu call Mathews Range Ol-doinyo Lenkiyieu It stretches 80 kilometers north copyright Rupi Mangat
The iconic loaf-shaped mountain Ololokwe, and the Warges of the Mathews Range behind – a high peak at 8,000 feet high above the plains. Tthe local Samburu call Mathews Range Ol-doinyo Lenkiyieu It stretches 80 kilometers north copyright Rupi Mangat

From the high glades of Mount Kenya down to the flatlands of Samburu, past the Ewaso Nyiro River that is the life-lung of the arid lands and the iconic loaf-shaped mountain Ololokwe, a high peak pops 8,000 feet high above the plains. It’s the Warges of the Mathews Range that the local Samburu call Ol-doinyo Lenkiyieu stretching 80 kilometers north.

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Winds of Change

Critically Endangered vultures threatened by wind farm

Published The East African, Nation media 22-28 April 2017

Ruppell’s vulture landing – copyright Munir Virani

Since 2015 four of the eight species of vultures in Kenya have been listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This means they are one step short of becoming extinct.

ruppells-vulture-photo-by-s-kapila-633x370
Ruppell’s vulture Copyright Shiv Kapila

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Fundraising for Pre-translocation ecological assessment of Mount Kenya Guereza and the habitats of Soysambu Conservancy, Kenya

April 8, 2017

This April 8, 2017 Pre-translocation ecological assessment of Mount Kenya Guereza and the habitats of Soysambu Conservancy. resulted in an accelerated human-guereza conflict as the groups crop raid to supplement the meager wild food.

To save this population, 142 individuals were successfully translocated to Karura forest in 2016 and over 200 individuals still remain in the fragmented private riverine habitats of Kipipiri. Urgent translocation efforts are therefore, required to safe these groups from being exterminated in the near future. Such an effort however, requires identification of a suitable habitat with enough food, cover, security and away from human habitation and especially the agricultural community to minimize human-colobus conflicts in the sink habitat.

Continue reading “Fundraising for Pre-translocation ecological assessment of Mount Kenya Guereza and the habitats of Soysambu Conservancy, Kenya”

Women in a Venomous Field

Four amazing women make a career of working with snakes. Attending the tenth international snakebite seminar at Bio-Ken snake farm in Watamu recently, each narrates the path taken.

East African 7-13 Jan 2017

Handling live venomous snakes is an extra-ordinary noble but extremely dangerous profession.

One reason for handling venomous snakes is to milk them – which is the only way to obtain snake venom to produce supplies of anti-venom. Without anti-venom being readily available and administered, a bite from any venomous snake can be deadly. Ironically, anti-venom can only be produced from ample supplies of venom from live venomous snakes. And it takes some dexterity to do that.

Diana Barr

Young and dynamic, Barr’s job as technical support officer at the Australian Venom Research Unit at the University of Melbourne and Global Snakebite Initiative, an Australian non-profit organisation working to reduce snakebite deaths and disability around the world, puts her in very close contact with the most venomous snakes in the world.

Continue reading “Women in a Venomous Field”