Monthly Archives: October 2011

Traditional Roofing in Kenya

By: Scolastica Fundi – Eco-factory assistant – 18th October 2011

Our pilot REDD project area at Rukinga, Kenya, Wildlife Works’ growth has been tremendous within this last year.  We are erecting seven new building all using traditional materials and techniques.

Here we show traditional roofing called Makuti in the building of our new dining room.  Makuti are bunches weaved leaves from a coconut plant caked Mnazi in Swahili.  They are mostly found in coastal region of Kenya.  Kenyan coastal people like the Mijikenda tribe mostly do Makuti production.


STEP 1: The coconut plant leaves are harvested when they turn brown

STEP 2: The leaves are soaked in water to facilitate easy folding.

STEP 3: Sticks are cut according to the appropriate size for building.

For example, 30cm sticks are used for folding over the makuti.

STEP 4: The leaves are stitched over the sticks using back stitching method.

STEP 5: The makuti are carefully packed in bundles and stored safely.

STEP 6: When roofing, the makuti are first tied to the roofing structure from the bottom going upwards, to the topline of the roof using a sisal fiber. The makuti are laid down in a way that they overlap at a distance of 4 inches to avoid water dripping inside the house.

The advantages of using makuti are that they have efficient cooling effect than other roofs and are the cheapest way of roofing in Kenyan coast.

Stay tuned for more eco building techniques from the Kenyan bush.


POACHERS-Caught on camera on Wildlife Works Rukinga Sanctuary

By: CARA BRAUND- Conservation Intern- 17th October 2011

As part of their efforts to track biodiversity levels on Rukinga and the rest of the project area, the Biodiversity Division have been testing out camera traps to photograph unsuspecting wildlife in their natural habitat.

The first six test cameras are on day and night and the first trials have been going well, with elephants, lesser kudu, giraffe, kongoni civets and even aardwolf being captured.

Wildlife Works camera captures a captivating image of an aardwolf.

The team got a bit of a surprise, however, when checking the recent results of their work. Mixed among the shots of buffalo and kudu was the image of several men walking through the bush several hours after dark, as well as a clear image of one man with a torch and a machete.

Whilst illegally travelling by foot on Rukinga, the group had inadvertently stepped past one of the traps, providing the Wildlife Works Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project team with evidence of their likely attempts to poach wildlife on the sanctuary.

A poacher, unknowingly caught on camera, holding a machete.

The photographs will now be used to identify the man in one of the photographs, at which point he will receive a fine for trespassing. Due to the fact that poaching wildlife is only indicated, not proven in the picture, it’s likely he will only receive a stern warning about his activities rather than be arrested.

The hope is that due to his photographic capture and subsequent warning, the man in the photograph will make a bid to change his ways, especially when combined with ongoing efforts to improve the quality of life in the community.

As a twist on similar situations, Wildlife Works has made the not-uncommon decision to hire poachers in the past as a way of combating the problem. As long as the person passes the test in terms of fitness and dedication, they can be excellent additions to the anti-poaching team by way of their skill-set in tracking and knowledge of the trade!

Elephants freely roaming in there natural habitat. Another great example of the images taken by Wildlife Works camera traps.

Needless to say the Biodiversity Division is fairly happy that their monitoring of wildlife in the area has lead to the tracking of poachers. At Wildlife Works we are particularly pleased to know that the use of technology in addition to rangers can be effective in reducing poaching. As well as producing hard evidence of the illegal activity for the authorities, it means that the rangers themselves will be in less physical danger in relation to fighting illegal activity in the area.

I wonder what we’ll see next time?


Wildlife Works Crew to the Rescue, One Baby Elephant at a Time

By: CARA BRAUND- Conservation Intern- 5th October 2011

Monday mornings aren’t always the most exciting in many offices, but this Monday at Wildlife Works Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project proved to be a little different than usual! We received a phone call from one of our rangers saying that an elephant had become stuck in a muddy rock catchment on our neighbouring ranch. Apparently the creature was only around two years old, and had been stuck for over 24 hours.With none of¬†her family members in sight, it was important we help her out of her predicament as soon as possible before she became too dehydrated.

The team raced to Kivuko rock and made their way up to the rock catchment, unsure of what to expect. Upon seeing the young elephant, some team members thought that she may have already died due to how far she had become stuck and her lack of movement. Thankfully she was still with us and so we set about setting her free!

The first stage was to free up around the elephant’s head and as many of her limbs as possible. This required most of the team to get stuck into the mixture of mud, poo and goodness-knows-what-else to dig with shovels and bare hands.¬†Due to the elephant’s size and the relevant size of our team, there was no way manpower alone was going to be enough to get the poor creature out of her predicament.

As soon as we had the opportunity, we slipped a rope and strap underneath its chest and attached this to a car tow hitch.¬† Having a large car on the side of a rock wasn’t an easy set-up, but with gentle teasing and pulling (thanks to our skilled operators!) in several different directions, the lucky elephant was gradually eased to the side of its muddy hole.

Understandably, the elephant was extremely exhausted and dehydrated but seemed to be fairly calm given the circumstances. The team gently washed the muddy mixture off her, especially from her mouth where it had accumulated over her time in the swamp.

She was then able to drink freely, and took her time to get as much water on board as she was still unable to get herself up. As we were unsure that the elephant would be okay by herself, we were glad when the team from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust arrived to lend their expertise to the situation. Both teams came together to coax the young elephant back to her feet, and although rather unsteady at first (not surprising given her ordeal during the previous 24 hours) she was back up and eating and drinking in no time at all!

The rangers in the area will be keeping an eye out on the animal in the hopes that her family will come back to her in the next few days. In the meantime, the team is making a plan to clean out the rock catchment to improve the quality of the rainwater and to stop any other unsuspecting elephants getting trapped!

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About Wildlife Works Carbon:

Wildlife Works is the world’s leading REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), project development and management company with an effective approach to applying innovative market based solutions to the conservation of biodiversity. REDD+ was originated by the United Nations (UN) to help stop the destruction of the world’s forests.

Over a 15 year history Wildlife Works established a successful model that uses the emerging marketplace for REDD+ Carbon Offsets to protect threatened forests, wildlife, and communities.

The company helps local landowners in the developing world monetize their forest and biodiversity assets whether they are governments, communities, ownership groups, or private individuals.


Protecting + Forests + Wildlife + Community since 1997.

Wildlife Works is the world's leading REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), project development and management company with an effective approach to applying innovative market based solutions to the conservation of biodiversity. REDD+ was originated by the United Nations (UN) to help stop the destruction of the world's forests.