Community & Conservation Kenya Rwanda

Wildlife clubs and a win at the EcoWarrior awards.

The highlight of the month for us was certainly winning the EcoWarrior Award for ‘Best accommodation in responding to COVID-19 Impacts’ at the Gala dinner ceremony held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Nairobi on the 28th of October.

Dominic Grammaticas (Managing Director), Alex Millar and Alisa Karstad (Community and Conservation Manager) of Governors’ Camp Collection accept the award.

We were very proud to have received this acknowledgement of our dedication for support towards both our neighbouring communities and conservation partners during the most challenging period we have faced in our 50 years of operation.

Between June 2020 and December 2021 we facilitated large-scale food drives, providing basic food supplies to some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. During this time we distributed 164 tons of food which positively impacted the lives of over 36,000 people living in rural areas of Kenya.

The total cost of these donations was Ksh 14,045,808 – an enormous boost that went a long way towards relieving some of the burden felt by many from the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.

One of the large-scale food drives we facilitated in the Masai Mara in April 2021 – photo credit Felix Rome. 

The year 2020 saw the highest rise in illegal habitat destruction activities in the Greater Mara Ecosystem and other regions. Logging for timber and charcoal as well as snaring for bushmeat were rampant. We boosted our support for conservation organisations working to mitigate these issues by providing financial, in-kind and logistical support where possible, whilst also helping to raise awareness of their work to a wider audience.

We would like to say a huge and heartfelt thank you to all our staff, partners and donors who were critical to the success of this support that we facilitated on the ground here in Kenya. Special thanks in particular to the Mara Rianda Charitable Trust and the Wilderness Trust.

We provide various types of support for the Mara Predator Conservation Program – photo credit Fernando Faciole. 

As part of our continued relationship with many of these dedicated conservation partners, we are able to arrange for researchers or other relevant team members to visit our guests in the comfort of our camps to give presentations on the work of their projects. This is a unique opportunity to delve deeper into the world of conservation on the frontline in Kenya.

Donation requirements range from between USD150-1000 depending on the project and sometimes the group size of the guests. The researchers will gladly join guests for dinner or accompany them on drives / walks as is required. More information on these options can be found on our website.

A recent presentation given to guests staying at Little Governors’ Camp by Dr. Elena Chelysheva of the Mara-Meru Cheetah Project.

For those of you who subscribe to the SWARA magazine, please keep an eye out for this month’s edition which features a three-page spread on Governors’ Mugie House and the surrounding 49,000 acres of wildlife habitat that is Mugie Conservancy.

Great Rift Valley

The Kenya Bird of Prey Trust

Each month the Kenya Bird of Prey Trust relies on donor funding to provide enough meat to feed the birds in their care, many of which will remain at the centre for the rest of their lives due to the extent of the injuries. We therefore try to assist as much as possible by sponsoring the purchase of beef for their ravenous raptors.

This month we provided one month’s worth of meat (200 kilos) which we hope relieves some of the pressures felt by their team. They already have so much on their plate; rescuing and caring for birds, as well as informing policy makers, without the added stress of sourcing funds for basic requirements like food.

A Verreaux’s eagle-owl was badly injured when it was hit by a car in Naivasha. After month’s of round-the-clock care including hand feeding, this individual sadly had to be euthanised as it was not improving – photo credit Fernando Faciole.

The Rhino Ark/Calgary Zoo Mountain Forest Conservation Partnership

Project leader Donna Shepherd gave a presentation on the work of her organisation to a group of guests staying with us at Loldia House. The guests made a USD $250 donation towards the project which will be put towards the year-end celebration for the Eburu Staff Team.

Each year, all eight team members are invited to bring two of their family members to a hot lunch, with music and speeches where they hear about their husbands/ brothers/ sons and the great work they are doing.

We also sent funds for a third time to cover the salary costs of one of their forest rangers working in the Eburru Forest. We have great respect for rangers who work in harsh conditions, facing numerous challenges all to ensure the security of our wildlife and wild spaces on a daily basis for the greater good of mankind.

Camera trapping is part of the work of the Rhino Ark / Calgary Zoo Mountain Forest Conservation Partnership work – Photo credit Fernando Faciole.

TAFA Community Center

We are always keen to support the work of The TAFA Community Center who are working hard to uplift the lives of the youth in Kasarani village close to Loldia House. Many of the kids that practise football at the centre come from very low-income families where regular daily meals are not always available. The dedicated coaches have begun a meal scheme whereby each child is able to receive a cup of wimbi uji (finger millet porridge). This meal means that the kids have enough energy for their extracurricular activities at the centre and can return home with full bellies. It costs as little as USD $0.05/ Ksh 7 to provide this to a child daily –  and it really goes such a long way in impacting their wellbeing for the better.

The hope is to be able to make enough porridge for all 261 children, costing just USD $12 per day or USD $240 per month. We have begun our support by sending through a donation to cover the next full month of food.

TAFA Soccer Academy

TAFA Soccer kids enjoy a game of football after school – photo credit Fernando Faciole.

“We are happy because we are now able to provide Uji to these kids every school day. What a motivation! A more motivated student is able to concentrate in his/her studies! A more concentrated student is likely to do well in his education which is a key pillar in our journey of youth transformation! Our education standards will greatly improve! A small action but with great impact!!” ~  Coach Sammy of TAFA.

Giving kids strength to study with a cup of ‘uji’ each day.

We also facilitated the purchasing and distribution of stationery supplies that were kindly funded by one of our previous guests. Unlike children in so many other parts of the world who may not fully appreciate the privilege that education is, students in Kenya work incredibly hard to learn as much as they can in primary school since it is free. However, there is sadly no guarantee that they will be able to attend secondary school which must be paid for by their families. Therefore a gift of a pen, notepad or ruler are cherished when and if they are lucky enough to receive them.

TAFA kids are delighted to receive stationary supplies of any kind.

“Most of these kids come from humble backgrounds and if putting food on the table is a problem, what about books, pens etc? So, providing this to these kids means the world to them! This means so much to TAFA and we thank you abundantly for providing these stationery!! We will be forever grateful.” ~ Coach Sammy of TAFA.

We welcome any assistance you can offer towards more meals via our secure online payment platform. Please use ‘TAFA’ as your donation reference – even the smallest amount will make a big difference in the lives of these kids.

Eburru Rafiki

As part of our commitment to support tree-planting efforts, we made another contribution to Eburru Rafiki. This brings the total number of seedlings funded by us to 895.

“Thank you so much for the continued financial support that Governor’s Camp Collection has given Eburru Rafiki throughout this year. Your donations have been a lifeline for us and have helped enable us to do the following: Continue our indigenous tree planting programme to regenerate degraded sections of the forest,  maintain hiking tracks, roads, picnic and camping sites in order to keep the forest accessible to visitors and  promote the forest as an ecotourism destination and raise awareness for the need to conserve it” ~ Tony Church, Chair of Eburru Rafiki.

A community guide from Eburru Forrest demonstrates how to extract water from a plant – photo credit Fernando Faciole.

Masai Mara

The Mara Predator Conservation Program.

The Masai Mara is an area where humans and their livestock frequently come into close contact with wildlife. Unfortunately these encounters sometimes result in Human-Wildlife Conflict.

Human-predator conflicts have been on the rise in the areas bordering the National Reserve over the past three months. These are fuelled by the ongoing drought that has led to an influx of livestock from Tanzania into the area in search of pasture. Big cats, particularly lions but sometimes cheetahs too, can be fatally injured by herders as they aim to protect their flocks and herds at night.

Adult male lion Mandevu who was speared and killed on the Mara-Serengeti border on September 10th. The culprits were said to be Tanzanian herders grazing their cattle in the Mara Reserve – photo credit MPCP.

MPCP strives to reduce human-wildlife conflict by educating communities about the coexistence between people and predators. Due to an increase in human-caused predator mortality, the MPCP team organised a herder training session at Irbaan village which is situated in a wildlife corridor connecting the reserve and neighbouring Naboisho conservancy.

Forty livestock herders were educated about the importance of predators in the ecosystem, the Wildlife Act of 2013 and good herding practices to reduce day-time predation by their community team. This is an event that we provided the sponsorship for last month and it is hoped that between a combination of better herding practices and predator-proof bomas, pastoralists and predators may coexist in harmony.

Livestock herders meet with the team from Mara Predator Conservation Program – photo credit MPCP

It was a busy month for other members of their team too who needed to travel between the Masai Mara and Nairobi. Three of their team members received five complimentary flights from us, as part of our in-kind support for their project.

Felixie Kipng’etich (Communications Officer) and Gloria Kosgey (Kenya Wildlife Trust Projects Assistant) with Cpt. Rex Jackson arriving in the Masai Mara.

Mara Rianda Primary School Wildlife Club

In collaboration with the Mara Predator Conservation Program, we are thrilled to be supporting the first official wildlife club at the Mara Rianda Primary School!

Photo credit Felix Rome.

The highlight so far has been a game drive into the National Reserve for all of the members. This will have been the only opportunity that most of the kids will have had to get up close to so many of the animals that the Mara is famous for! They were able to ask questions and soak up what makes their own natural heritage quite so special.

Photo credits Dominic Sakat for MPCP

Elizabeth Ketuyio and Kolian Sengeny were the two lucky wildlife club members who received the added bonus of being chosen to attend an educational exposure trip to Amboseli National Park, along with their club patron and a group of  students from other Mara schools as part of their wildlife club conservation curriculum.

Photo credit Mara Predator Conservation Program.

The Mara Raptor Project

Following the recent dramatic fuel price increases in Kenya, the Mara Raptor Project requested our support towards the general running costs of their vehicle; which we of course gladly provided to ensure that Lemein Par, the Project Coordinator, can continue to effectively carry out his nest monitoring work amongst plenty else.

Lemein Par carries out nest monitoring in the Mara – photo credit Fernando Faciole.

Laikipia

Wildlife news 

On the 8th of October our Governors’ Mugie House guide Solomon Epodo took part in the Global Big Day Bird Count. He recorded an extremely impressive 146 species on Mugie Conservancy, ranking him in 5th place in the whole country. Hongera Solo!

A rufous-crowned roller on Mugie Conservancy – photo credit Solomon Epodo

Solomon also led a discussion on the interaction with wildlife to some of the children in the last week of the month as part of Mugie Conservancy’s ‘Conservation Sundays’ talks.

Solomon speaks to students at Mugie School – photo credit Harry Blakey.

In the middle of the month one of the Gaby Pride lionesses gave birth to three cubs. Our guests have been lucky enough to spot them a few times and we look forward to watching them grow in the months and years to come.

Lion cubs – the newest members of the Gaby Pride of lions – photo credit Solomon Epodo 

We now have red-filtered spotlights in use for our night game drives on Mugie; these are essential in order to witness animals displaying their normal behaviour at night. Bright white lights dazzle and temporarily blind nocturnal animals, negatively impacting their survival.

Night drives with Governors’ Mugie House – photo credit Harry Blakey 

Rwanda

SACOLA (Sabyinyo Community Livelihood Association)

On 26th September 2022, an event of SACOLA’s to donate the cows took place. Ten cows were donated to 10 families made out of widows and vulnerable women identified in the community.

These ten cows were donated by SACOLA on behalf of Charlotte Adams, a Sabyinyo guest who visited the community some years ago and heard about the projects that SACOLA is doing for the community.

So far Charlotte has donated (on different occasions) a total of 38 cows and her friends Bruce and Esther Wager have donated 8 cows. We wish to thank them immensely on behalf of the communities for these life-changing gifts. 

A villager is most grateful for the donation of a cow.

If you would like to learn more about any of our Community & Conservation efforts you can reach out to us via email info@governorscamp.com. If you would like to support our work you can do so via our secure online payment platform.

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