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.

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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.

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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.

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Combating illegal Trafficking in Cheetah Cubs

Above picture:Cheetah cubs confiscated from the illegal pet trade in the Somali region of Somaliland. The cub on the bottom had just died due to inadequate care. The other two cubs were eventually transferred to the Born Free Foundation sanctuary in Ethiopia.  © Günther Wirth.

The horrific illegal trade in cheetah cubs and other endangered wildlife fuelling the exotic pet trade

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Wild Cheetah cubs with their mother in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya Picture copyright Karl-Andreas Wollert.

It was a phone call from a U.S. Marine in November 2005 that put the wheels in motion for Patricia Tricorache, assistant director for strategic communications of the Namibia-based Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) to add ‘illegal wildlife trade’ to her title.

“He was calling from Ethiopia about two cheetah cubs that were tied with ropes outside a restaurant in Gode, a remote village in eastern Ethiopia. He was a vet and said that the cubs would die soon; he was considering buying them.

“I begged him not to buy them because it would only encourage more poaching. We frantically began calling everyone we knew in Ethiopia, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Program and the U.S. Embassy.

Scout and Patch, two 3-month old cubs reported to CCF by a US Marine soldier and confiscated from a restaurant in Gedo, Ethiopia in 2005 by the Ethiopian Environmental Protection Authority. Both cubs died a few months later. © Befekadu Tefera, 2005.
Scout and Patch, two 3-month old cubs reported to CCF by a US Marine soldier and confiscated from a restaurant in Gedo, Ethiopia in 2005 by the Ethiopian Environmental Protection Authority. Both cubs died a few months later. © Befekadu Tefera, 2005.

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