Category Archives: Adventures in REDD+

Offset Your Carbon Footprint with Wildlife Works


Wildlife Works’ offset purchases go directly to protecting our 500,000 acre forest conservation project in Kenya and the thousands of elephants that migrate through the area. Without your carbon credit purchases, the forest would be destroyed and many of the elephants and other endangered wildlife in the area would be poached. Learn about our anti-elephant poaching program.

Before we started our forest carbon project in 2009, the Kasigau Corridor forest was being depleted by 2.5% every year. Almost 250,000 acres of forest would have been destroyed by 2029 without offset customers like yourself. Learn about Wildlife Works’ job-creation conservation strategy with REDD+ offset credits and our impact.

We are committed to saving our world’s trees because deforestation is responsible for 10% – 15% of all global warming emissions. If we can stop deforestation globally, it would result in 30% of the emissions reductions needed to maintain our global temperature increase below 2 degrees C.

offset my carbon footprint with Wildlife Works


Destroying trees releases gases into our environment which traps the sun’s heat and greatly hampers Earth’s ability to stabilize our climate. The effect of climate disruption comes in the form of unpredictable and extreme weather patterns such as hurricanes, droughts, and floods in all parts of the world, creating resource shortages.

In developed countries, this causes a growing list of increased costs of living expenses including:
– higher food, energy, and water costs
– increased home insurance premiums
– threats to housing which stresses city public works’ services
– increased health risks like allergies

Check out this interactive article on how climate change impacts different parts of the world.

In poorer countries, the effects are catastrophic and unrecoverable. Communities are being displaced, livelihoods are destroyed and more people die of hunger.

how does climate change affect me


Climate change is an overwhelming issue and our dependency on the urban way of life makes it difficult to reduce our energy consumption to a minimum.

Offsetting your carbon footprint to provide the financial support necessary to stop deforestation is the most direct and sizable impact you can make to combat climate change.

For an individual living in the U.S., the cost of offsetting one year’s carbon footprint is just $180. With Wildlife Works offset credits, you can be assured that all the money goes directly to running our conservation project without any middleman brokers.

You can do this one thing and make a direct impact right now. OFFSET YOUR CARBON FOOT PRINT

Next, in addition to reducing your day-to-day energy consumption, you can put your money where your values are. Buy from socially and environmentally responsible businesses and demand more transparency from others. We only have one Mother Earth, let’s keep her thriving for the next generation and those to come!

offset my carbon footprint with Wildlife Works

Wildlife Works Head Ranger Eric Sagwe

Eric Sagwe grew up in a town within our Kasigau Corridor project in Kenya called Maungu. As a teenager, he used to see the Wildlife Works rangers working in the community and out in the bush. Their commitment to protecting and being surrounded by wildlife and forests impressed young Eric and he began to dream of one day also wearing the Wildlife Works uniform.

wildlife ranger, kenya, Tsavo East National Park, anti-poachingHead Ranger Eric has been with Wildlife Works over 10 years.

With hard work, discipline and his late father’s urging, Eric made his dream come true. Today, Eric proudly holds the position of Head Ranger, leading a team of 120 at Wildlife Works Kenya. It took him 10 years to work his way up through the ranks after initially being hired as a watchman.

Having interviewed for a ranger position at Wildlife Works, Eric was disappointed to be offered a job as a watchman for the buildings around the office. It was under the advice of his father, a Kenyan police officer, – “don’t be choosey about what you want to do, what matters is how you do it” – that Eric accepted this first position.

True to his father’s counsel, Eric worked hard and after only four months of being a watchman he was called for another interview and offered his first ranger job. He was finally able to work in and patrol the bush, still the favorite part of his job.

Since then Eric has dedicated himself to protecting the 500,000 acres of the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project. He is constantly pushing for progress like offering to operate the first security cameras and setting up a communication center to coordinate and disseminate information from all the field rangers.

kenya, wildlife rangerEric and some of his rangers [photo by Peter Z. Jones]

Eric manages a robust, effective program. His ranger patrols are strengthened by armed Kenyan Wildlife Service rangers who provide protection against armed poachers. There is enhanced close cooperation with the local community including a network of informants. He also organizes specialty training programs for his team such as first aid and drill practices.

kenya, wildlife rangerWildlife Works Rangers on a mission

Eric has lead many successful anti-poaching missions in the last few years, which have resulted in several arrests, including one where he and his rangers tracked a poacher for 23 km! Incidents of wildlife poaching have gone down significantly over Wildlife Works lifespan and there are signs that the main perpetrators of elephant poaching in the area have been apprehended. Also, the patrolling ranger teams have been systematically removing wire snares from the bush and now go weeks, sometimes a month, without coming across any. Just the other week they rescued a young buffalo that was trapped in a snare.

Eric is a commanding force (it helps that he is about 6.5 feet tall!) who cares deeply about the environment and wildlife in Kasigau. Watch Eric tell his story himself:

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Wildlife Works – Eric, Head Ranger. Rukinga Sanctuary from Wildlife Works on Vimeo.

Changing Kenya’s Landscape for Wildlife and Jobseekers

Changing Kenya’s Landscape for Wildlife and Jobseekers

Published in the The Opinion Pages on NY Times

By Amy Yee

JUNE 8, 2016 RUKINGA SANCTUARY, Kenya — Twenty years ago, this wildlife corridor in southern Kenya was in jeopardy. A scarcity of jobs in this impoverished, arid landscape meant people were hunting wild giraffe and antelope for meat, and chopping down trees to make charcoal. With fewer trees, desertification loomed. Water was so precious that local cattle herders lit fires at water holes to keep giraffes and zebras from drinking.

The animals had less vegetation to eat and less forest cover. Cutting down trees combined with poaching decimated wildlife in this 500,000-acre swath of the Kasigau migration corridor, which bisects Tsavo, Kenya’s largest national park. Tsavo, roughly the size of Wales, is home to half the country’s estimated 25,000 elephants.

Mercy Ngaruiya, known as Mama Mercy, is a community leader in the village of Itinyi. “People used to come with buckets of meat,” she said. “Everyone was killing animals. People were cutting trees for charcoal. They said, ‘What else are we going to do for money?’”

Against the odds, things have changed. Illegal tree cutting and poaching have fallen significantly. Previously, rangers from Wildlife Works, the local conservation group that initiated the shift, would find 8,000 wire snares in a year. Last year they found fewer than 300.

In 1998 there were no elephants on the 75,000 acres of Rukinga Sanctuary where Wildlife Works is based, said Rob Dodson, vice president of African operations. Now wildlife has returned. One recent evening, a herd of elephants, including babies, gathered at a water hole during a tranquil sunset. As many as 2,000 elephants live in the corridor, depending on the season; so do zebra, giraffe, buffalo, warthogs and several kinds of antelope, from slender dik-diks to impala. Lions had vanished from the area; now there are about 40, including two males seen lounging by a water hole on a hot Friday afternoon.

Illegal activities haven’t been wiped out. In January, seven elephants were poached for ivory. Every week rangers catch people burning trees to produce charcoal. But forest and wildlife in the Kasigau Corridor have been visibly revitalized by conservation efforts. And poaching has dropped. In the last few years, Wildlife Works hired more unarmed local rangers to supplement the Kenyan Wildlife Service, and in 2014 Kenya toughened its poaching laws. Seventy-six elephants were killed for ivory in the area in 2012, in contrast to 21 last year.

The key to preserving wildlife here is human relationships. Impoverished locals need alternatives to poaching and burning. So Wildlife Works has created hundreds of new jobs, including increasing the number of its rangers sevenfold to 85 in the past few years. (Many are former charcoal burners and poachers themselves.) Critically, this expansion won support for conservation from local elders and villagers, and the organization is now their county’s third-largest employer.

This community development work got a much-needed financial lifeline when Wildlife Works started the world’s first REDD+ project in 2011. REDD+, which stands for “reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation,” is an international system to combat climate change by preserving forests. It essentially pays communities in poor countries not to cut down trees.

Three United Nations agencies laid the groundwork for REDD+ in 2008. Gas-guzzling cars are commonly associated with global warming. But deforestation — cutting down trees and releasing the carbon stored in them — contributes 17 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases, more than the global transportation industry.

Preserving this swath of forest in the Kasigau Corridor avoids emitting more than 1.2 million tons of carbon dioxide per year for the next 30 years.

Since 2011, Wildlife Works has sold carbon credits and earned millions of dollars shared by landowners, investors, Wildlife Works and the local community. Money for the community finances schools, scholarships, water pipes, reservoirs and other public works that serve 150,000 people. The support was critical for getting the local community to support conservation.

“Now if someone cuts down trees or kills animals, people will report them,” said Mama Mercy.

REDD+ was controversial when it introduced nearly a decade ago. Critics feared fraud, and that the developed world would use carbon credits as an excuse to keep burning fossil fuels instead of curbing them. Supporters said poor countries needed financial incentives to preserve forests rather than cutting them down for fuel, farming and grazing.

At first, locals were also skeptical. Mama Mercy recalled that when people first heard about REDD+ they said, “‘How do we get money from trees? The air? These people are cheating us.’ It was really complicated.”

Educating locals about REDD+ and getting them on board was essential, because REDD+ uses international social auditors to enforce a requirement for informed consent from communities.

From 2009 to 2011, Wildlife Works’ team of local Kenyans met with about 60 elders, chiefs and heads of community councils to explain how the complex project works.

“They thought people were coming to get their land,” said Pascal Kizaka, a retired local chief. “We had to go and talk to them and preach. It took a year and a half to make the people understand.”

Although several tribes live in the area, Swahili is commonly spoken, so language was not a hurdle. Local leaders eventually gave consent to sell carbon credits on behalf of the community.

“People were so desperate,” said Dodson, of Wildife Works. “They had nothing to lose. They said, ‘It sounds mad, but let’s give it a go.’”

The forest was assessed by teams that measured trees in 480 sample plots across Kasigau Corridor. Independent environmental consultants from the United States used analytical software involving 60 algorithms to determine the amount of carbon in the forest.

Results were verified by the environmental audit firms Verified Carbon Standard and Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance, both based in Washington. The latter’s social audit includes weeks of meeting with local councils and questioning them independently.

nytimes, amy yee, redd, redd+, climate change, wildlife conservation, forestry conservation

In the early days, critics feared that “carbon credit cowboys” would displace or exploit locals and pocket profits. But setting up and verifying REDD+ is too complicated, expensive and stringent for speculators to make easy money. Rolling out REDD+ cost Wildlife Works about $4 million, each audit costs about $70,000, and verification requires evidence that REDD+ has benefited the community and environment.

The biggest pitfall is managing a multiparty project and building consensus among many community councils. “It’s easy to fail an audit. Getting back on your feet if a project fails is tough,” said Dodson. “Organizationally, it is fraught with danger.”

When Wildlife Works’ REDD+ project was verified, credits were sold on Markit, a London-based financial trading platform. The companies and other organizations that have purchased credits to offset their carbon emissions or fulfill corporate social responsibility policies have included Barclays, BNP Paribas, Allianz, the French postal service La Poste, and Kering, the holding company for Gucci, Saint Laurent and other luxury brands.

Wildlife Works sold $3 million worth of carbon credits in 2012, $2.5 million worth in 2013, and more than $5 million in 2014.

Carbon credit revenues are divided up with one-third going to landowners, roughly another third to Wildlife Works’ projects in Kenya, and the rest divided among the community and Wildlife Works in the United States, including its investors.

Community councils most commonly decide to use their shares for clean water projects or schools.

“People used to go long distances to get water, six kilometers or more,” said 24-year-old Zahira Kastoka, who grew up in Itinyi. Now there are water storage tanks near her home.

“REDD has changed things in so many ways,” she said. Kastoka got a high school scholarship through Wildlife Works, where she now works as an office administrator. Without the grant, her single mother could not have afforded school fees; Kastoka’s older sister had to drop out after fourth grade.

In 1998, few local youths were enrolled in college or in other tertiary institutions; now hundreds are. Over the years, more than 3,200 students have been awarded some $260,000 in high school and higher education scholarships.

For example, Mwolo Muasa, who grew up near Wildlife Works, had to drop out of school after his mother died when he was 10. But a few years later, he got a Wildlife Works scholarship, without which, he says, “I would have ended up a street kid.” Now 29, he helps lead Wildlife Works’ forest plot sampling, having studied environmental science at Kenyatta University in Nairobi.

Carbon credits have also financed precious new jobs. Before REDD, Wildlife Works had 65 employees in 2010. Now it has more than 300 who work in a small garment workshop, greenhouse and tourist lodge and as rangers, mechanics and office staff members. Before carbon credits there were 12 rangers hired from local villages; now the 85-strong force patrols a much larger area.

Wildlife Works was founded in 1997 by Mike Korchinsky, a California-based entrepreneur. While on vacation to Kenya that year, he noticed armed guards aggressively separating wildlife and local people. To create jobs and support the community, he established Rukinga Sanctuary and set up a tourist lodge and clothing workshop with a few employees. Keeping the businesses afloat was difficult.

In 2009, Korchinsky read a magazine article about REDD+ and wondered if Wildlife Works could sell carbon credits. At the time, there was no method with which to measure the carbon in Kasigau’s shrubby drylands forest. So Wildlife Works hired independent environmental consultants to design one.

One challenge today is planning for the future and managing expectations if carbon credit sales slump. In 2015, sales of Wildlife Works’ carbon credits fell to about half that of the previous year. Hesitant buyers were awaiting the outcome of the United Nations’ climate change summit meeting in December.

As a result, there were fewer scholarships. “Some people had to drop out of school,” said Mama Mercy. “Some girls married early. Parents want to educate children but there’s no work.”

“Last year was difficult,” she continued. “We hope this year won’t be the same.”

REDD+ agreements span only 30 years, so it’s uncertain what will happen when the contract expires. Dodson hopes that by then there will be enough economic development and jobs to sustain the community and preserve the forest and wildlife.

Ivo Mulder, the REDD+ green economy adviser for the United Nations Environment Program, said large-scale national initiatives that span entire counties or provinces and better control deforestation are a model for the future.

Worldwide, there are many REDD+ projects. However, the carbon credit market is limited and there are not enough buyers driven by corporate social responsibility. An oversupply of voluntary credits “reduces prices and makes it difficult to make REDD+ projects financially viable,” said Mulder.

Selling carbon credits from large government-backed REDD+ projects to other governments can make a bigger dent in combating global deforestation, though they are complicated to set up.

Nevertheless, the market for carbon credits could grow after 2020, when countries that signed the climate agreement in Paris last December must start reducing emissions. That pact recognizes REDD+ as one way to do that.

Back on the ground in the Kasigau Corridor, this environmental framework has already changed the landscape for flora, fauna and humans alike.

Kizaka, the retired local chief, recalled that big trees sheltering wildlife and cattle were being destroyed every day for charcoal. But now, he said: “If we show you photos before the carbon project and the present situation, the vegetation has changed. It has blossomed.”

From beneath the acacias in the Kenyan bush, one can still see the forest for the trees.

Amy Yee (@amyyeewrites), is a former correspondent for The Financial Times who has written for The New York Times, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal and NPR.

© 2016 The New York Times Company

World Environment Day Celebrations: Go Wild for Life

Happy World Environment Day! Each year this United Nations day is celebrated on 5th June to raise awareness on taking action to protect nature. The 2016 theme was ‘Go Wild for Life’ promoting zero tolerance for the illegal wildlife trade.

World Environment Day parade in Taita Taveta CountyWorld Environment Day parade in Taita Taveta County

Wildlife Works took part in the celebrations in Taita Taveta County in Kenya, where the 2016 theme particularly resonates. Kenya’s wildlife is severely affected by the illegal wildlife trade. It is estimated that each year around 30,000 elephants are killed worldwide as a result of poaching and the illegal ivory trade. Grevy’s Zebra, which are found on our Rukinga Sanctuary in Kenya, are endangered with only around 2,000 remaining in the wild. It is thought that at current poaching rates elephants, rhinos and other iconic African wildlife may be gone within our lifetime.

500 local primary and secondary students participate in a roadside litter pick
world environment day, Kenyaworld environment day, Kenya
world environmental day, KenyaGeorge Thumbi, Wildlife Works employee, links arms with students in the World Environment Day parade

The World Environment Day celebration in Kenya included a roadside litter pick and parade by 500 local primary and secondary school students, tree planting and speeches by notable figures from local government, Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forestry Service, World Vision and Wildlife Works. The day centered on urging young people to take action and ownership of their wildlife heritage. George Thumbi, Wildlife Works Greenhouse Manager, spoke about our efforts to prevent poaching and protect habitat in the area.

world environment day, KenyaGeorge Thumbi, Wildlife Works employee, speaks about Wildlife Works efforts to prevent poaching and protect habitat

Arika Michael, Assistant County Commissioner, said, “children are agents of change. It is critical that we instill environmental conservation in young minds. Our wildlife is our heritage.”

If you would like to take action to commemorate the 2016 World Environment Day, offset your carbon through Wildlife Works. You can be a part of the solution by protecting threatened forests and the wildlife that call them home… Help them go wild for life!

Assistant Director of Kenya Wildlife Service planting a tree seedlingAssistant Director of Kenya Wildlife Service planting a tree seedling

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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.

George of the Jungle: Growing our Tree Seedling and Agriculture Business

“If you put me in an office, it will be the end of me!” is the first thing George Thumbi tells us on a tour of his life.

George, a father of three from Central Kenya, was brought up in a family of 10 children on a farm that grew coffee, maize, fruit and other plants. It was here that he developed an interest in agriculture which led him to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Agroforesty at Egerton University, Kenya, among other qualifications such as a Diploma in Sales and Marketing and Business Management.

Wildlife Works Greenhouse, sustainable farming, kenya, forest conservation, plant a tree

George, who is now in charge of the agribusiness and forestry program at Wildlife Works Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project in Kenya where he started working in 2014, has come a long way before earning this title. Since 1993, he has worked in flower and vegetable farms across Africa, including Ethiopia, South Africa, and Tanzania.

When he first heard about Wildlife Works, George was highly motivated to join a company that has the best interest of the ecosystem and environmental conservation at heart. In previous jobs, he held the record for using the least chemicals when practicing ‘integrated pest management’ – a method of growing organically until it is necessary to intervene to save a crop.

Wildlife Works Greenhouse, sustainable farming, kenya, forest conservation, plant a tree

The greenhouse is George’s domain: a special surrounding where tree seedlings, vegetables, and flowers are grown, enclosed with a black net to keep out big insects and surrounded by chili plants to deter wild animals such as elephants and buffalos. At the greenhouse, they are also spraying the crops with natural bug repellant plants such as marigold, chili and ginger to keep insects at bay.

Wildlife Works Greenhouse, sustainable farming, kenya, forest conservation, plant a tree                   Marigold planted in between amaranth green veggies

George has initiated many innovative projects during his time at Wildlife Works, including multi-story  to utilize space and save water, a rabbit project to use urine as an organic fertilizer, teaching local school groups and programs in the local communities of Mackinnon Road and Bungule where he has been mentoring people to build their own greenhouse and grow using multi-story farming.

Wildlife Works Greenhouse, sustainable farming, kenya, forest conservation, plant a treeGeorge teaching students from a local secondary school to help ignite a love of nature

”My greatest achievement is that I have been able to empower the community to conserve our environment through offering them free training on agricultural techniques, as an alternative to poaching and charcoal production,” he says. George has magnificent future plans and he would like to introduce widespread raising of rabbits, poultry egg production, beekeeping and to increase the presence and teaching in the community – all projects aimed at casting a wider net of influence and equipping more local people with sustainable livelihoods.

Wildlife Works Greenhouse, sustainable farming, kenya, forest conservation, plant a treeGeorge setting up drip irrigation with his colleagues.

George is proud of the work he has done at Wildlife Works. “My favorite part of my job is planting tree seedlings and seeing them grow, it is very satisfying,” he adds.

Rangers Free a Snared Buffalo

On 10 May the Wildlife Works team at the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project, Kenya, witnessed a conservation success story; our rangers led the rescue of a young wild buffalo from a poaching snare and set it free to join his herd.

The 500,000 acres of land that make up the Wildlife Works project area are patrolled by 85 Wildlife Works Rangers, led by Head Ranger Eric Sagwe. During a routine daily morning patrol, a Special Operations ranger group discovered some unusual tracks and followed them deep into the bush. The team found a young buffalo snared in trap set by poachers for bush meat.

The vet also inspected the buffalo’s teeth and was therefore able to determine that he was about 2.5 years old.

The bush meat trade is illegal in Kenya, however rural communities occasionally still practice it for personal and commercial consumption. Since Wildlife Works started operating in the area in 1997, incidents of bush meat poaching have gone down to almost none, thanks to increased patrolling, local job creation and community awareness.

A team was immediately assembled of Wildlife Works’ rangers and the local Mobile Veterinary Unit from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which is called in such incidents to tranquilize the snared animal and treat any injuries. The team set off into the bush with haste in order to remove the snare as soon as possible.

The vet also inspected the buffalo’s teeth and was therefore able to determine that he was about 2.5 years old.Head Wildlife Works Ranger Eric watches while the vet prepares the tranquilizer drug

wildlife works, tsavo, david shedrick, kws, kenya wildlife services, wildlife rescueVet prepares the tranquilizer gun

When the group came across the young buffalo, they saw that luckily, the snare was only caught around his horns, causing no major injuries. The buffalo was feisty, charging at the trucks in an attempt to break free. After the vet successfully tranquilized the bull with a dart gun, the team was able to safely approach him to remove the snare.

wildlife works, tsavo, david shedrick, kws, kenya wildlife services, wildlife rescueThe buffalo calms down after being tranquilized

From that point the team moved with speed and precision: simultaneously detaching the wire snare from around his horns, treating the skin on his head, removing the trap from the tree, dousing his back with water to keep him cool, and holding his nose up from the dust by his horns.

wildlife works, tsavo, david shedrick, kws, kenya wildlife services, wildlife rescueThe vet also inspected the buffalo’s teeth and was therefore able to determine that he was about 2.5 years old.

The vet also inspected the buffalo’s teeth and was therefore able to determine that he was about 2.5 years old.

Within a few minutes the operation was complete and the vet brought the buffalo back around with a second injection, while the crew watched from a safe distance. The buffalo stood up with a slight wobble and then darted off into the bush to find his herd.

wildlife works, tsavo, david shedrick, kws, kenya wildlife services, wildlife rescueThe back of the rescued buffalo the moment he woke up and ran off into the bush

This was a lucky encounter; it was lucky that the team found the buffalo before his human hunter or perhaps a hyena or lion, that the snare caught him so that he was not injured, and that he was mature enough to survive without his mother.

Said Head Ranger Eric, “I was impressed by my rangers skill at tracking, the quick response of the KWS unit and that we managed to save a life, which is the most important thing.”

The successful rescue is a testament to the skill and dedication of the Wildlife Works Rangers, who work tirelessly to prevent and track illegal activities in the area, such as poaching and charcoal production. The also incident highlights the challenges of conservation in areas with human-wildlife conflict, where local people live in close proximity to important wildlife and hunt it for food to feed their families. Thanks to the team for all their hard work!

Great Grevy’s Rally – Grevy Zebra Cencus Count

On January the 30th and 31st 2016, the “Great Grevy’s Rally” was held in Kenya. This was designed to give an overall estimate of population of the Grevy’s zebra in Kenya, as well as to help researchers calculate potential growth.

The Grévy’s zebra (Equus grevyi), also known as the imperial zebra, is the largest extant wild equid and the largest and most threatened of the three species of zebra, the other two being the plains zebra and the mountain zebra. Named after Jules Grévy, it is the sole extant member of the subgenus Dolichohippus. The Grévy’s zebra is found in Kenya and Ethiopia. Compared with other zebras, it is tall, has large ears, and its stripes are narrower. Source: Wikipedia

Grevy Zebra

Current estimates put the total population of Grevy’s Zebra remaining in the wild in Kenya and Ethiopia at approximately 1,966 to 2,447 (2008). From 1988 to 2007, the global population of Grevy’s Zebra declined approximately 55%. The worse case scenario is a decline from 1980 to 2007 of 68%. The number of mature individuals is approximately 750, and the largest subpopulation is approximately 255 mature individuals.

In Kenya, the Grevy’s Zebra population declined from an estimated 4,276 in 1988 to 2435-2707 in 2000 to 1567-1976 in 2004 to an estimated population size of 1468-2135 in 2006. In 2007, the population estimate of 1838-2319 indicates that either more individuals were being accurately observed or that the population is stabilizing and increasing (2007). The trend from 1988 to 2006 (18 years) is a decline of 50 to 66%.

In Ethiopia, Grevy’s Zebra declined from an estimated 1,900 in 1980 to 577 in 1995. In 2006, the population in Ethiopia was estimated to be 128. The trend from 1980 to 2003 (23 years) is a decline of roughly 94%. 

The density and area of occupancy of Grevy’s Zebras fluctuates seasonally as animals move in their search for resources. During the dry season, when they are dependent on permanent water, animals tend to be more concentrated. However, given that they can move up to 35 km from water even during the dry season, their densities are never high. They are most abundant and most easily observed in the southern portion of their range in southern Samburu and the Laikipia Plateau. Source: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Grevy Zebra Kenya Wildlife Works

The count was mostly carried out in Northern Kenya, however the smaller satellite population in the Tsavo Conservation Area (TCA) was also included. 

The areas in the TCA that Grevy’s zebra are found are located in the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project area. Four teams from Wildlife Works, made up of 6 rangers, divided up the zones where there have been known sightings of the Grevy’s. The count took place over two days, beginning at 06.30hrs and finishing at 16.30hrs each day.

Each team had to photograph the right hand side only, of any Zebra individual they found. The photos were GPS tagged to clearly show the location of each animal and will then be processed by the Image Based Ecological Information System (IBEIS), which will identify the individual and its age and sex, and will record the observational time and location. The IBEIS results will estimate the size of the Grevy’s zebra population throughout Kenya.  

In total the teams found 13 individuals over the course of three days. This may sound like very few, but given the species rarity (estimated only 50 individuals in this area) and the thick bush and green conditions, we think that was quite an achievement in itself! 

All the results have now been submitted to the Grevy’s Trust for final analysis, and inclusion into the overall census. The results of the population of Kenya’s Grevy’s zebra should soon be published.

Thank you to all the Wildlife Works rangers who took part!  

Community Relations Officer, Joseph Invited to Attend Conservation Youth Leadership Event During COP21

Wildlife Works Community Relations Officer Attends The Youth and Landscape Initiative in Paris

Our Community Relations Officer, Joseph Mwakima, has become one of our most visible spokespeople, representing Wildlife Works globally. In 2014, Joseph was invited to speak at One Young World in Dublin and in December 2015, he participated in The Youth and Landscapes Initiative organized by The Global Landscape Forum, a side event to the UN Framework on Climate Change (UNFCC), in Paris.

Wildlife Works’ Community Relations Officer Joseph Mwakima speaking

Wildlife Works’ Community Relations Officer Joseph Mwakima speaking

Needless to say, we are infinitely proud of Joseph’s work and achievements. Before his trip to Dublin, he his only trip outside of Kenya was to bordering country Tanzania, where he was first invited to speak on stage on behalf of Wildlife Works. Since starting with Wildlife Works in 2011 at age 24, we’ve watched Joseph grow into a confident professional, passionate about educating his community and the rest of the world about conservation.

joseph Wildlife Works Youth and Landscapes Initiative

For COP21 in Paris this past December, The Youth and Landscape Initiative brought together 50 young innovators from all over the world to identify environmental problems and to propose solutions. The event covered topics such as right and tenure, finance and trade, measuring success, landscape restoration and education.

Participant groups were given a challenge, for which they had to come up with a solution and give a three-minute pitch to an expert panel made of conservation professionals from all over the world as if they were potential investors in their idea. Think, Shark Tank but for Climate Change! Joseph and his teammates tackled the problem of improving landscape education for rural farmers.

His co-presenters were Jhannel Tomlinson from Jamaica,a PhD student studying environmental science at West Indies University in Jamaica. The other was Diane Geurrier who is working with the Africa Climate Policy Centre as a researcher in Addis Ababa-Ethiopia but is originally from France. 

Their pitch proposed a solution to close the gap that exists between formal education and field knowledge. The group found that different landscape models exist, but not in one place.

Joseph Youth and Landscapes Initiative

They introduced the idea of an online landscape academy as a repository for the various landscape models that have already been developed by many of the institutions represented at the event. An online self-assessment tool would identify their agricultural-related competencies, including soft skills, such as their cultural understanding and technical skills, such as their agricultural knowledge. Based on the results, a customized curriculum that is appropriate to the registrants’ geographic region would be automatically developed.

People from around the world could contribute their best practices to solve landscape problems via an online community. For example, someone who has indigenous knowledge about African agriculture but wants to do agroforestry can learn from online materials or pose questions to the online community.

Joseph Youth and Landscapes Initiative

The youth participants met scholars, scientists, and climate change experts, who were at the forum to learn from these young minds. The majority of the expert panel, from The Centre for People and Forests (RECOFTC), Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Danone, The Global Water Initiative, Repo Consultancy, and The World Bank, lauded the group’s presentation. The audience gave resounding applause to their presentation.

Joseph had great fun meeting and living with people from all over the world who share a common passion for the environment. A special thank you to the Global Landscape Forum, which sponsored the participants’ flights, and to ASOS, who sponsored Joseph’s in-country expenses. We are thankful that Joseph could be part of this collaboration of young people and scientists working together to tackle global issues for future generations.

Read more about the Youth in Landscapes Initiative.

Joseph was born in the Rift Valley province of Kenya in a town called Nakuru that has a population of 300,000 people. You can follow Joseph on Twitter @jaymwakima

Orphaned Baby Zebra Rescued

In the early morning hours of January 8, 2016, Maungu villagers found a six-week old zebra chasing traffic on Mombasa Road, as if it were its herd. They alerted Wildlife Works rangers, who collected the zebra and brought it to Wildlife Works Headquarters, where staff comforted her.

rescued zebra Wildlife Works

zebra rescue Wildlife Works

Rob Dodson, Wildlife Works Vice-President, African Field Operations, and Joseph Safari, Wildlife Works Ranger, transported the zebra to the Kenya Wildlife Service/David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Voi Stockades for orphaned animals.

The zebra was warmly greeted by the other curious stockade orphans, including an 18 month-old zebra, a young buffalo, and three elands.

zebra rescue Wildlife Works

After her initial anxiety from the morning commotion wore off, the zebra drank a full bottle of milk.

zebra rescue wildlife works

zebra rescue Wildlife Works

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust keepers assessed the zebra to be in good health, having been alone probably less than 24 hours. Many thanks to the Sheldrick team for raising this foal and releasing it back into the wild. Despite its precarious start in life, we wish the zebra a healthy future.

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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.

Wildlife Works Anti-Poaching Pilot Spots Injured Elephant

Oct 8, 2015 : Rukinga, Kenya:

This morning Wildlife Works’ anti poaching pilot Keith Hellyer, spotted this bull elephant in serious trouble on the sanctuary. The elephant was resting in the thicket alone, with a large lump on his side, which was feared to be an infection from a poison arrow. The elephant was unresponsive to the aircraft, a clear sign that he was in severe pain.


Wildlife Works ground team immediately responded to the scene and kept watch on the elephant while we waited for a vet from Amboseli National Park to arrive. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust was able to bring their vet team in to tranquilize the bull for treatment.   


After attending to the infected area, a large arrow head was removed from the wound and decaying tissue from the toxins used on the arrow was cleaned out. This is one very lucky elephant, and we will be monitoring him to make sure he fully recovers.   


A big thank you to our dedicated teams, the Kenya Wildlife Service and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust for their help and quick response. It’s great to see everyone pulling together to help save these magnificent giants. 

Feb 22, 2016 Update:

This is a picture of the bull this morning. He has been spotted by the aerial patrol several times since the treatment and is doing well. Thanks to the aerial patrols, he has been seen with both herds of bulls and breeding herds. We look forward to seeing him again! A wonderful testament to our work and the teamwork with the DSWT/KWS vet units.

kenya elephat tsavo wildlife works KWS David Sheldrick

Watch Ivory Wars to learn more about our anti-poaching work on the ground.

To support our rangers and the anti-poaching work they do, please donate to the Wildlife Works Elephant Protection Trust:
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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.