Category Archives: Wildlife

Injured Elephant Gets Treated

On Jan 28, 2017, Keith, our anti-poaching pilot went on a morning aerial patrol flight, after a tip off there was potentially a charcoal camp on northern Taita ranch.  At about 7:30am we spotted a lone bull in the thickets below us, it had a very large cyst on its right side, just above its back leg.  

Keith then messaged the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, who brought KWS vet Dr. Poghon by road from Voi.

With the gyrocopter keeping visual on the injured elephants location, the ground team attempted to get close enough to the elephant to tranquilize it.

The thick bush made it impossible for the ground team to even get a clear sighting of the bull, so the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust sent a chopper to collect the vet on the ground and get a clear shot with the tranquilizer gun.

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The vet operated on the cyst, concluding it was an arrow that had caused this poor animal all this pain and stress.  The elephant was treated, and put back on his feet with a clean bill of health.  

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This goes to show how important aerial patrols are for elephant protection. A big thank you to all the hard working men and women of Wildlife Works, David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and Kenya Wildlife Service.  

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Baby Elephant Rescue

On November 2, 2016, our ground team received a call from a goat herdsman that a 5-year old elephant was roaming close to her farm alone for hours.

Our Rangers immediately reported to the scene and called @dswt to arrange airlift transport to their Nairobi orphanage in a few hours time. Meanwhile, the rangers kept close eye on the baby girl elephant by keeping down wind and out of site as not to frighten her away.

elephant rescue

When it came time to prepare her for the transport, it took a team of 12 to secure her down as she struggled with fear of her capturers. After treating some minor wounds, we successfully lifted her onto the plane.

Head ranger Eric explained that this baby elephant most likely got lost from her herd as opposed to being orphaned from a dead mother because of where she was found. Her herd probably ran quickly from human clamor to scare them off and the baby was left behind. 😥 Our air patrol confirmed that no herd was nearby anymore. It was highly unlikely that she would be reunited.

We are happy that we were able save this little girl’s life. 🐘❤️Thank you David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust for giving her a second chance!

Greater Good and Soles 4 Souls Donate Boots to Rangers

Greater Good, a charity organization that is based in the United States working to protect people, pets and the planet, partners with Wildlife Works on a variety of projects, including producing apparel at our eco-factory in Kenya and raising money for our projects through activities in the U.S.

Last year, Greater Good paid a visit to the Wildlife Works Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project in Kenya and saw a need for our rangers to have new boots. The effectiveness of our patrolling ranger staff is critical to protecting the 500,000 acres of the project area from poaching of wildlife and deforestation.

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 1.15.01 PMHead Ranger Erick Sagwe distributing shoes.

Greater Good worked with their partner Soles 4 Souls, an organization which facilitates the donations of both new and used shoes globally, to connect to the American outdoorsy shoe company Keen. Keen, like all shoe companies, produce hundreds of sample shoes a year, and were able to ship 200 pairs of new sample boots to Kenya. This shoes were enough for our 85 rangers and 15 security staff to be gifted with two new pairs each. Each pair was even labeled with a ranger name so everyone would receive their correct size and style!

According to Eric Sagwe, Wildlife Works Head Ranger, the shoe donation came at the right time, as the old boots were worn out. “The shoes are comfortable and light compared to the previous heavy boots. The durable hard rubber soles are ideal for walking long distances in the bush without getting tired but being well protected during animal and poaching tracking,” he adds.

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 1.15.07 PMOne of the rangers putting on the shoe

The ranger team at Wildlife Works is particularly happy because the multi-purpose, cool new shoes can be used both in the bush and also in everyday life. A big thank you to Greater Good for your donation!

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 1.15.13 PMAll of our rangers and security rangers received the shoes

THANK YOU GREATER GOOD AND SOLES 4 SOULS!

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
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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.

Miasenyi Secondary School Gets Conservation Education Tour and Safari

Part of Wildlife Works community empowerment strategy includes ensuring that underprivileged students get the chance to view their beautiful ecosystem and see wildlife in its natural habitat. Since March 2015, the Wildlife Works Community Relations Department at our Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project in Kenya has been running an education program for local students to tour the Wildlife Works diverse operations, learn about conservation at our Tsavo Discovery Center and experience wildlife firsthand.

Since the program started just over a year ago, over 25 schools have participated, bringing over 750 students through our curriculum. The aim is to eventually reach 80 schools in the area.

On 20th May 2016, Wildlife Works ran a trip for top performing students enrolled at Miasenyi Secondary School to attend one of our learning tours and safaris at Rukinga Wildlife Sanctuary. There were 28 students and two teachers making a total of 30 that visited the site from the school.

On their arrival at Wildlife Works, the students had the chance to interact with and learn from many of the departments such as: greenhouse, screen printing, eco factory, workshop and soap factory in a fun, interactive way.

wildlife works, kenya, wildlife education, eco tourism, safari, elephantsMiasenyi Secondary School students getting a tour of the greenhouse

wildlife works, kenya, wildlife education, eco tourism, safari, elephants, eco factory, fair trade fashionStudents getting a tour of the eco factory

The students were later taken out on a game drive across the Sanctuary in the enormous 1962 French ‘Berliet’ Truck, now baptized ‘Beba Kuu’. From the height of this ultimate discovery vehicle, we spotted a whole herd of buffalo at the edge of a watering hole, a family of elephants including several young, many antelope species from one of the smallest (dik-dik) to the largest (eland), a few zebra, giraffe and warthogs which scuttled across the road in front of ‘Beba Kuu’.

wildlife works, kenya, wildlife education, eco tourism, safari, elephantsStudents aboard ‘Beba Kuu’ start their safari

wildlife works, kenya, wildlife education, eco tourism, safari, elephantsStudents looking out for game at the watering hole

The students were very excited at having seen so many different animals in their natural habitat, and all stood up in their seats pointing every time we came across a new species. You could feel their anxiety when seeing wildlife like buffalo and elephants during the trip.

wildlife works, kenya, wildlife education, eco tourism, safari, elephantsFamily of elephants spotted on the safari drive

The group also stopped at the Tsavo Discovery Center, an education center and eco lodge located between Tsavo East and West National Parks. Here, the students had a chance to visit the science lab and museum to learn about different animal skulls, amphibians, insects, and also the terrible consequences of poaching.

wildlife works, kenya, wildlife education, eco tourism, safari, elephantsChecking out the museum at the Tsavo Discovery Center

Most rural schools in Kenya cannot afford to take their students on educational fieldtrips and most families cannot afford to pay extra funds to support extracurricular activities, therefore these trips that Wildlife Works has been running are critical for local youth to learn about and appreciate their environment.

You could feel the excitement from the Miasenyi students on the trip especially when they caught their first glimpses of wildlife, and they left promising to be part of wildlife and environmental conservation.

wildlife works, kenya, wildlife education, eco tourism, safari, elephantsHappy Miasenyi Secondary School students at the end of the day

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!  

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.

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.