We had an exciting month paying visits to many of the projects that we support in order to document their work for a new Community and Conservation video which is being made as part of our fifty year anniversary celebration! It’s always a pleasure to get to spend time out in the field with our partners; one always leaves feeling particularly inspired about the sheer quantity and diversity of projects and people who are working tirelessly behind the scenes to protect our wildlife and support our neighbouring communities.
Filming the canine unit on Mugie Conservancy – photo credit Harry Blakey
We are up-holding our promise to this small community based organisation whereby we committed to provide enough finger millet porridge (uji) to feed all 261 children each day.
Cooking Uji – a Kenyan staple hot breakfast that is healthy, gluten free and filling – photo credit Harry Blakey
During our recent visit, we learnt that since they have introduced the feeding program the number of children wishing to join the centre has dramatically swelled. This goes to show the importance of even the most basic meal in the lives of children who come from low-income families.
Kids form a line outside the TAFA center for their cup of Uji – photo credit Harry Blakey
“I am humbled and grateful, your thoughtfulness for TAFA is a gift we will always treasure. Sometimes the simplest things mean the most. May God Bless You and bless the Governors’ Camps” ~ Coach Sammy.
As part of our support for TAFA, we welcomed twelve children plus two coaches on an educational morning on Loldia Conservancy. It is a moving experience to be a part of, as none of the children have ever been out on Lake Naivasha or been able to get up close to wildlife (safely) in a safari vehicle.
Enjoying the scenic and wildlife thrills of Lake Naivasha – photo credit Harry Blakey
As soon as the kids walk out along our wooden jetty you can tell they are quite nervous about the prospect of getting onto the boat; there was plenty of hurried, quiet chatter and gripping onto the boat seats! However, very soon they were all laughing and smiling and asking lots of questions. Some brave ones even leaned over the edge of the boat to touch the water and excitedly exclaimed how warm the water was!
A second group headed out on a game drive around the conservancy and they didn’t know whether to stand up and look out of the open roof, or gaze out of the windows for the best view.
Game drives on Loldia Ranch – photo credit Harry Blakey
After about an hour each group swapped activity. They then enjoyed a tour of our gorgeous lakeside property, Loldia House, and were able to meet some of our staff. Afterwards, they enjoyed a refreshing crate of sodas – a very rare treat for children living in this area – as well as plenty of fresh cake made by our chefs.
Loldia House provided sodas and freshly baked cake for the twelve children.
Opportunities like this are few and far between sadly for children who come from very low-income families. It is our pleasure to be able to expose them to the sights and sounds of the African wilderness and we are sure that field trips such as this will inspire them to protect their natural heritage.
Every year dozens of raptors are rescued and rehabilitated by The Kenya Bird of Prey Trust but unfortunately not all birds can be released back into the wild. Even when not returning to the wild, these birds play an important role in the conservation of raptors in Kenya. Some are used as educational birds that instil awe and passion in visitors, others are used to breed and raise chicks that can be returned to the wild.
The Kenya Bird of Prey Trust – photo credit Fernando Faciole
The organisation has become very close to our hearts. We are acutely aware that their small team does an incredible job at continuously providing the speciality care that’s required to rehabilitate some of the most endangered bird species on our planet, while also informing policy makers and tirelessly campaigning for more protection for birds of prey and their critical habitats – thus benefiting plenty of other species at the same time.
Simon Thomsett, Director of KBoPT who has dedicated his life to helping raptors – photo credit Fernando Faciole
We are pleased to be able to provide support where and when we can and over the past couple of months we have supplied 300 kilos of meat to feed the growing flock of rescued raptors at the Naivasha Raptor Center. We also made a Ksh 50,000 donation towards a secondhand X-ray machine and X-ray plates for the Soysambu centre in order to allow director Simon Thomsett the ability to X-ray birds on site and therefore save them the added stress of having to be transported to the closest veterinary clinic – which is not close at all!
Loldia House guests are encouraged to visit the Naivasha or Soysambu centres in person, or we can arrange for a presentation by their team at either Loldia House or in one of our Mara camps. You will be amazed to learn about the fascinating lives of birds and the threats that they currently face in today’s world.
Guests can also financially adopt one of the resident raptors; in return you will receive regular updates on your adopted bird and an invitation to a meet and greet. You can learn more about this here.
Having discovered that the school’s most pressing need was for dining hall desks, we set out to make a donation of the same. We were very grateful to receive a USD $500 donation from two very kind guests who had recently stayed at Loldia House. Having then doubled the donation ourselves we were able to provide a total of eight new desks. Each desk can seat at least eight students and these were the first tables that the kids have in their newly built dining hall.
Much needed desks for a large dining hall are donated to Loldia Primary School – photo credit Harry Blakey
“I lack words to appreciate your commitment towards Loldia Primary School. This is a kind and caring gesture. We highly appreciate receiving this donation. May God bless you and your extended family for you people have hearts of gold. May God expand your boundaries and bless the work of your hands. Loldia Primary School fraternity highly appreciates you” ~ Mr. Njeru, Headmaster.
Alisa Karstad of Governors’ Camp Collection hands over the desks to the headmaster – photo credit Harry Blakey
Wildlife Club members took part in a clean up exercise in a nearby cultural village called Entepesi. Here they encouraged the residents to collect rubbish and dispose of it in two new branded up-cycled rubbish bins. Littering is a constant problem in Kenya and much of the issue stems from a lack of basic education. We thank our conservation partner the Mara Predator Conservation Programme for organising this important event.
Bins were provided by Governors’ and MPCP – photo credits Dominic Sakat
Other activities in the month included identifying the indigenous tree species found within the school grounds and playing a friendly football match. The school has now closed for the long holidays, but we look forward to more educational activities in the new year.
As part of their commitment to raising awareness about the severity of using poison to kill predators, the Mara Predator Conservation Programme carried out anti-poisoning campaigns in five markets in the Mara (Endoinyo Narasha, Lemek, Mara Rianta, Aitong and Nkorrkorri) as part of its fight against wildlife poisoning in the Mara Ecosystem.
Buffalo dancers engage the community with their anti-poisoning performance – photo credit Alisa Karstad
Working with a team of 14 Maasai morans (buffalo dancers) and using traditional songs, drama and role plays, they reached out to more than 6,000 people in both the livestock markets and food and clothings markets with a message to discourage poisoning and encourage tolerance to predators through coexistence.
Mara Predator Conservation Program says the campaigns have proved successful so far – photo credit Alisa Karstad
As always we provided free of charge seats in our Governors’ Aviation aircraft for their team members. These allow the team to focus more of their time and resources on predator conservation. This month three of their team members availed of our offer.
The Mara Raptor Project works hard to monitor and protect the various species of birds of prey that live in the Greater Mara Ecosystem. Many of the raptor species populations are in serious decline, yet there is still so much we don’t know about their ecology.
Scientific data is essential for informing policy makers who have the power to conserve our wildlife for all. This is why it is important that we support the collection of valuable baseline data across the landscape. Over the past three months we have sent regular contributions towards the general running of the project.
Lemein Par entering data for the nest monitoring in the field – photo credit Fernando Faciole
As often as possible, we invite wildlife conservation researchers to come and give presentations of their work to our guests and guides. This month we were lucky to have Lemein Par from the Mara Raptor Project and Dr Elena Chelysheva from the Mara-Meru Cheetah Project give presentations to our team at Little Governors’ Camp about the work of their respective projects.
Lemein Par gives a very interesting presentation to guests and guides at Little Governors’ Camp
The Moyo Foundation is a grassroots organisation in Laikipia delivering healthcare and education support where it is most needed while integrating environmental conservation efforts every step of the way. We are proud to support their work by sponsoring a medical outreach clinic every second month. You can find out more about their work on our website.
A medical outreach program on Mugie Conservancy – photo credit Nick Penny
Ranger teams patrol Mugie Conservancy 24/7 in order to ensure the safety of all wildlife, livestock, and people living inside the conservancy. Sixty rangers and twenty one National Police Reserves are based on 11 perimeter stations and 6 internal ones, allowing for a comprehensive conservancy coverage.
To support the rangers on the ground in their operations, Mugie also has a K9 team composed of three dogs and four handlers. The unit plays a key role in tracking down suspects and over the years it has helped Mugie solve several wildlife crime incidents and petty crimes in the nearby villages.
‘Tusker’ is one of three bloodhounds on Mugie Conservancy – photo credit Harry Blakey
Camera traps play a key role in monitoring wildlife movements across the conservancy. Mugie has partnered with Wildlife Protection Solutions in order that all the images collected can be sorted with the support of Trap Tagger and then uploaded into different wild books to identify individual animals. The identification of individual animals allows the conservation team to better understand the spatial ecology and interactions of identified animals. We will be monitoring wildlife with our own camera and report interesting sightings to the conservancy and upload images to our social media pages.
Our camera traps at Governors’ Mugie House show a family of bush pigs visiting at night
On the 27th of November we were pleased to have hosted some of the grade six and eight children on educational game drives within Mugie Conservancy. Although government run schools have broken up for their holidays, these two grades are still required at school in order to sit for their national examinations.
In collaboration with Ekorian Camp and Mugie Conservancy, we were able to take a total of 35 students out on game drives. Exposing children to wildlife conservation in this way has a tremendous impact on their young minds and we are proud to be a part of a moment in their lives that they will never forget.
An educational game drive on Mugie Conservancy – photo credit Mugie Conservancy
Our guests are welcome to visit the school during term time. We recently went to meet some of the students and teachers and were able to donate some basic stationery supplies to many of the children. If you are interested in visiting one of the schools that we support or would like to make a donation please contact us.
The Mugie Primary School – photo credit Nick Penny
Endangered Grevy’s zebras have been dying each week due to an intensifying drought in Northern Kenya. Over 80 deaths have been recorded since June. With a total population of just 3,000 individuals, every single animal is important for the continuation of the species. The Grevy’s Zebra Trust are providing hay and emergency veterinary interventions for individuals in the region. Many of the zebras that they are feeding are pregnant or lactating.
Photo credit Grevy’s Zebra Trust
Other species such as oryx, buffalo and hippo are also benefiting from the hay. We sent a donation to supply 167 bales of hay; each bale costs USD $2.5 / Ksh 300 and we would welcome any further donations through our secure online payment platform using the reference ‘GZT’.
If you would like to learn more about any of our Community & Conservation efforts you can reach out to us via email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to support our work you can do so via our secure online payment platform.