Monthly Archives: February 2014

Farmers around the Kasigau Corridor Grow and Sell Seedlings to Wildlife Works

With global warming becoming a more imminent threat, trees and other vegetation remain among our best defense mechanisms.  Trees’ ability to absorb greenhouse gases emitted by automobiles, factories, and power plants result in a significant reduction in global climates.

As part of the Wildlife Works community empowerment programs, we encourage farmers around the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project to grow and nurture seedlings, which are then sold to our greenhouse team at an average price of ten shillings (12 cents) per seedling. These are then brought back to the Wildlife Works greenhouse facility to be grown until they reach a suitable size for replanting.

Part of the tree seedlings that the WW greenhouse team purchased from the community

Part of the tree seedlings that the WW greenhouse team purchased from the community

This seedling collection happens at the end of most rainy seasons, when the greenhouse team travels to all areas that border our Carbon Project area (Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project) to purchase the seedlings from farmers. Led by greenhouse supervisor, Willy Kanyeki, the team hit the road in January and was able to purchase 25,000 tree seedlings valued at approximately $5,000 from 61 farmers around our project area.

Lush green and healthy saplings

Lush green and healthy saplings

“We receive the tree seedlings when most of them are in a very poorly state,” Willy Kanyeki explains. “The first thing we do when we receive the tree seedlings is replant them with soil that has been nourished with manure. We prune the roots of the seedlings that have overgrown roots and also recondition all the seedlings to adapt to the harsh climatic conditions experienced here.”

The WW greenhouse team inspecting tree saplings from the community

The WW greenhouse team inspecting tree saplings from the community

It is imperative that we collect seedlings from farmers during early stages, as this is when they are in critical need of large amounts of water that is not readily available to many farmers in the community. After the trees have been looked after for 9 to 10 months in the greenhouse, they are finally redistributed for free in schools, women’s groups, hospitals and to other interested members of the community for planting during the rainy season.

Farmers watch as the WW greenhouse team inspects the tree saplings available for purchase

Farmers watch as the WW greenhouse team inspects the tree saplings available for purchase

According to Kanyeki, the trees collected from the farmers indicate their full commitment to reforestation. “We have seen diversity in the species of saplings that the farmers invested in this time round. Most of the trees are the beautiful kind that have a bigger shade, and we believe that when we redistribute them for planting, the shade factor will motivate the caretakers to nurture them to maturity,” he says.

Everyone has a role to play in conserving the environment. These young children are helping their parents assemble seedlings

Everyone has a role to play in conserving the environment. These young children are helping their parents assemble seedlings

In a region as arid as the Kasigau Corridor, reforestation is having an increasingly positive impact on the community.  The trees provide shade and cool the high temperatures in homes as well as preventing soil erosion from strong winds. Our process of buying tree seedlings, nurturing them, and dispersing them out for replanting, not only provides families around our project area with a supplementary source of income every year, but is also a vital aspect of Wildlife Works’ reforestation efforts.

The greenhouse team loads tree saplings on the truck that was used to transport them to the base station at Rukinga.

The greenhouse team loads tree saplings on the truck that was used to transport them to the base station at Rukinga.

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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.

The Rescue of Baby Elephant, Mackinnon

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust recently indicated that an orphaned elephant rescued from the Mackinnon region of our project area is thriving under their care.  Mackinnon, as the young elephant has been nicknamed, had somehow become separated from his family and ventured out of the forest before coming upon the town of Mackinnon, which is known for hostility towards wildlife.  Fortunately, that night the area chief came upon the stray elephant and immediately called our security department.

 Our team rangers Ijema and Eregae looking after Mackinnon at Rukinga

Our team rangers Ijema and Eregae looking after Mackinnon at Rukinga

Usually during such a scenario, plans are swiftly made in collaboration with the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust to airlift the elephant to an orphanage in Nairobi, but since night had fallen, the only possible solution was for our wildlife rangers to safeguard the young elephant until daybreak.

Then with the help of wildlife veterinarians from the David Sheldrick team stationed in Voi, Mackinnon was moved to a Wildlife Works rangers’ camp in Taita Ranch to await his journey to Nairobi the following morning.

The baby elephant getting ready to be airlifted to Nairobi at David Shedrick's Wildlife Trust

The baby elephant getting ready to be airlifted to Nairobi at David Sheldrick’s Wildlife Trust

Rangers at the Taita Ranch kept the young elephant on a healthy diet of formula milk throughout the night.  Early the following morning, the elephant was transitioned to our base station at the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project, which has easier access to an airstrip.  Here he would spend a few more hours until foggy weather cleared, and a flight to Nairobi was deemed safe enough to attempt.

A ranger from David Sheldrick's Wildlife Trust, feeding baby Mackinnon with milk at Rukinga

A ranger from David Sheldrick’s Wildlife Trust, feeding baby Mackinnon with milk at Rukinga

The trust, known for taking in orphaned elephants and black rhinos, has seen an upsurge in the number of young elephants they are called upon to rescue.  This unfortunate development can be attributed to an increase in poaching cases within the country’s wildlife sanctuaries.  If a baby elephant is left without a parent to care for it, the rest of the herd is forced to leave it behind.

 Kamui our Ranger having a good time with a friendly baby elephant Mackinnon

Kamui our Ranger having a good time with a friendly baby elephant Mackinnon

Baby elephant, Mackinnon just after it had been transported from Mackinnon area to Rukinga

Baby elephant, Mackinnon just after it had been transported from Mackinnon area to Rukinga

Mutual collaboration among wildlife conservationists operating in the area ensures that such elephants are rescued in time; before they become ensnared in a poachers trap or wander into a wildlife unfriendly area. It is this level of cooperation among Wildlife Works, Kenya Wildlife Service and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust that has consistently ensured that orphaned and vulnerable elephants around the Kasigau Corridor are rescued and nurtured till they are old enough to fend for themselves in the bush. Indeed, many elephants rescued by the Trust reach maturity and are released into the Tsavo East National Park to form new families or get adopted by existing herds. However, the survival rate of elephants rescued prior to teething is unpredictable, as this is a time when they rely heavily on their mother’s milk and antibodies. The level of trauma young elephants suffer before they are rescued also becomes a major determinant of their survival rate.

Mackinnon displays few signs of trauma and we’re optimistic that he will surpass this critical stage and flourish into a miraculous creature to enter the Kenyan wild once again.

Marking Milestones, The First Students of Wildlife Works Graduate

The first Wildlife Works Nursery School graduation ceremony was a joyful occasion filled with dance and song along with awards to recognize the student’s achievements.  Parents and teachers, among others, used the opportunity to express their gratitude for the nursery school at Wildlife Works.

Dressed in navy blue gowns, which had been tailored at the local Wildlife Works clothing factory, the graduating students recited classroom songs while guests took the time to reflect on what the Wildlife Works Nursery School (based at our Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project) means to them.

A graduating student receives a certificate

A graduating student receives a certificate

Daniel Munyao, who is the Manager at the Wildlife Works eco-factory, where most of the pupils’ parents work, highlighted the crucial role that the nursery school has played in the running of his business.

“Before we started the nursery school, we had absenteeism issues with some of the employees who had to take days off to take their children for immunization or to attend parent-teacher meetings in other schools. This problem has mostly been solved since the inception of the nursery,” he said.

A member of Wildlife Works' Nursery School's first graduating class

A member of Wildlife Works’ Nursery School’s first graduating class

Now teachers at the school ensure that the children are taken for immunization as well as arranging discussions with the parents of those who may be having problems in class. This translates to more work hours and better coordination at the factory.

The two teachers, Madam Colleta Nthenya and Miss. Monica Nchekei, also expressed their appreciation for the nursery school.

Students pose in their navy cap and gowns tailored at Wildlife Works' very own clothing factory

Students pose in their navy cap and gowns tailored at Wildlife Works’ very own clothing factory

“I got myself a job when the nursery school started,” stated Madam Colleta. Her sentiments were echoed by Monica Nchekei who wished to thank the management of Wildlife Works for coming up with ‘such a brilliant idea’.

Colleta and Monica have been crucial in ensuring the success of the school, as they’ve worked diligently to ensure young students are cared for and educated to the national standard.

Apart from serving as a low-cost academic institution for our Wildlife Works staff, the nursery school is also a daycare center for the young children.

The first graduating class of Wildlife Works' Nursery School

The first graduating class of Wildlife Works’ Nursery School

“We cannot express our gratitude strongly enough,” one of the parents at the graduation stated. “The nursery school has been a life saver for most of us. It has taken away the need to employ house helps and we do not have to worry that our kids will be sent home due to school fees in arrears,” she added.

As with most other community events and projects, these achievements were made possible through the protection of our environment from degradation and deforestation.  We would like to wish all graduated students of the Wildlife Works nursery school success in the next steps of their education.

 

 

The Efficiency of Carbon Credits: Wildlife Works’ REDD Project Gives Hope to Families in Kasigau

Only someone who has never witnessed first-hand the plight of a developing nation would dispute the effectiveness of carbon credits. According to a report by the UN-REDD Programme, deforestation and degradation of forestlands account for more than 20% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, second only to the transport sector. Forest communities that lack an alternative source of income are forced to decimate the surrounding environment and wildlife to make a living. But what if they were empowered to conserve forests instead of destroy them?

Community members fetching water from the Sasenyi Rock Catchment after the official opening of the rock catchment

Community members fetching water from the Sasenyi Rock Catchment after its official opening

The Wildlife Works REDD+ Carbon Project in Kasigau, Kenya, exemplifies the role that carbon credits play in combating global warming and ensuring a safer existence for humans, wildlife, and the land that they both inhabit.

A view of Mt. Kasigau which is the main landmark feature in our REDD Project Area

The Sasenyi Rock Catchment

A view of Mt. Kasigau which is the main landmark feature in our REDD Project Area

A view of Mt. Kasigau, the main landmark in our REDD Project Area

Wildlife Works protects over 500,000 acres of forested land in the Kasigau Corridor. If left unprotected, this region would become deforested in less than 30 years. Prior to Wildlife Works’ presence in the area, the community relied heavily on unsustainable exploitation of the land for its livelihood. Logging, charcoal burning and clearing of forestland for tilling were common practice. With the emergence of WW and the subsequent placement of a majority of the property under the Wildlife Works Carbon Trust, the community has continued to reap benefits from their land in a more profitable and sustainable manner.

 Laurian Lenjo, the Community Relations Officer with members of community during the official opening of the Ngangu Water Project in Mwatate Location

Laurian Lenjo, the Community Relations Officer, with community members during the official opening of the Ngangu Water Project in Mwatate

One of the longest surviving chiefs in the area, Pascal Kizaka, claims that the Wildlife Works REDD Project has played a major role in the survival of forests around the Kasigau Corridor.

“I am a first-hand witness of the benefits that placing our land under the REDD+ Project has brought my community. Our children are going to schools built from carbon credits, our women are fetching water from water tanks funded through the sale of carbon credits and our older sons and daughters have been employed by the organization,” Chief Kizaka says.

Girls from Kajire Secondary School Performing a traditional folk song during the official opening of Mchang’a Preschool in Sagalla location

Girls from Kajire Secondary School Performing a traditional folk song during the official opening of Mchang’a Preschool in Sagalla

Thanks to carbon credits, the Kasigau Community has become a model of accomplishment, not only to the threatened landscape in Africa but also to the rare wildlife that inhabits it. The project effectively secures a migration corridor for wildlife roaming between the Tsavo East and the Tsavo West National Park.

The Makwasinyi Water Tank in Kasigau Location

The Makwasinyi Water Tank in Kasigau

Laurian Lenjo and Joseph Mwakima handing a school fees cheque to a pupil and his parent in Mackinnon Location

Laurian Lenjo and Joseph Mwakima handing a school fees check to a pupil and parent in Mackinnon

A third of all the proceeds from the sale of carbon credits harvested in the project area directly benefit the community, which decides how the proceeds will be used. They invest in community infrastructure such as building of schools, hospitals, water tanks and allocation of scholarships to disadvantaged children in the community.

In the past year alone, the community has used proceeds from carbon credits to fund more than 1,000 students to pursue secondary and post-secondary education, construct classrooms in more than 10 schools and develop other community projects.

Additionally, the Wildlife Works REDD Project provides both direct and indirect employment to the community, thus helping to alleviate the main cause of forest degradation: poverty. Young adults around the project area have been employed as wildlife rangers, agriculturalists, seamstresses, and drivers and in various other activities in and around the project area.

Pupils at Mwakasinyi Primary School reading in a classroom constructed through funding from the sale of carbon credits

Pupils at Mwakasinyi Primary School reading in a classroom constructed through funding from the sale of carbon credits

The United Nations Environmental Programme REDD team recently came to Wildlife Works for a site visit and left us with these encouraging words:

“The work that you are doing is pioneering and very impressive in terms of its impact on local communities and conservation. The visit has provided a useful ‘reality check’ for our work, and provided our team with new motivation to further consolidate the business case for REDD+ at global and national level; to enhance private sector engagement; and to advise countries on social and environmental safeguards, and on the multiple benefits to be derived from successful REDD+ implementation.”

Tim Christophersen,  Senior Programme Officer, Forests and Climate Change at UNEP

By shifting focus from the carbon perspective and taking a closer look at empowering communities through the UN-REDD Programme, REDD+ and other similar programs, we can begin to appreciate why carbon offsetting is one of the most effective methods to combat global warming.

 

WHAT IS WILDLIFE WORKS?

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.