Thursday, April 24, 2014

Purdue University Helping Kenyan Children – by Jacob Dadi


Schools around Mbulia have reasons to smile for the opportunity for a trip to Tsavo National Park. While they live on the border of Tsavo East and West most of the kids in Taita have never seen these animals in the wild alive. It has been their dream to get a chance to visit the parks but due to poverty, most can’t afford the trip. They smile now because we have very good friends who raise funds to assist these school students to visit their park so that they can learn more about wild animals.

This is the best way to educate the students about the real life of these wild animals; it helps them understand the importance of all the animals and they learn more about each animal they see in the wild. Seeing them helps the students to understand that we Kenyans all own these animals. They are our heritage and it is our responsibility to protect them.

These very good friends are students from Purdue University in the USA who raise funds and come to Kenya through Amara Conservation and take school students on a trip in the park for an educational tour. Last year students from Purdue University came in May and took two schools around Mbulia to a trip to Tsavo West National Park. Apart from the park trip we also register the students as members of Wildlife Clubs of Kenya for this will give the students more opportunities to be involved and participate in environmental and wildlife conservation.

The Purdue University students enjoy the opportunity to interact with Kenyan students and we also take them to other schools to see how Amara works with the children; we will also show them how we do training on tree nursery management. They not only enjoy being in Kenya but also learn more about conservation, the lifestyle of many Kenyans, and what students here in Kenya understand about wildlife conservation.

Last year the students from David Kayanda Secondary and Mbulia Primary School were thrilled about the trip and thanked the students from Purdue University for funding their trips - most of them confessed that they hadn’t imagined they would ever get the chance to visit the parks. The Purdue students had helped them to see their dream coming true.

This year we are preparing for another visit from Purdue University in mid-May. This trip we will take Mlilo Primary School to Tsavo West National Park. These students are thrilled about this opportunity to visit the park, we registering the students with Wildlife Clubs of Kenya. The Purdue university students are paying for everything for our Kenyan kids to visit their park and see their wild animals in the wild.

We would like to urge our fellow friends to also come out and help our kids here in Kenya to get a chance for an educational tour in the parks so that they can learn more about our wild animals. We would like to ask other Universities to join Purdue to help our kids here in Kenya!

Friday, April 11, 2014



US billionaire and conservationist, Mr Howard Buffet, has pledged to provide an R44 helicopter for surveillance against poaching in the Selous Game Reserve to arrive in the country in six months' time.

Through the Howard G. Buffet Foundation (HGBF), the renowned ecologist said his foundation will on the other hand lease a helicopter to patrol the reserves starting mid next month pending arrival of the chopper to be provided to the country.

In a statement availed to the press yesterday, the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Mr Lazaro Nyalandu, said the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) will also purchase a helicopter of the same make to conduct patrols in the Ngorongoro corridor, Loliondo, Manyara and Tarangire.

"The chopper will be delivered in the next six months. The HGBF will also sponsor training of four pilots for the two helicopters.

The training will be conducted either in the United States or South Africa starting June 1, this year," the minister said in the statement.

According to Mr Nyalandu, the Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA) will also acquire one helicopter of Bell make and support training of two pilots.

"This helicopter will be much bigger and will thus enable TANAPA to conduct joint patrols with the police force which also uses a chopper of the same make," Mr Nyalandu said.

The minister explained further that the HGBF will foot all the costs for leasing of the helicopter, salaries for pilots and fuel while the ministry will cater for meals and accommodation for the pilots during patrols.

In another development, HGBF in collaboration with the ministry have hired two consultants to give advice to the Selous Game Reserves and the Pasiansi Wildlife Training College for six months, the Minister said.

After consultations with the ministry, the HGBF has also agreed to support strengthening of training for game rangers and improvement of infrastructure at the Pasiansi Wildlife Training College to boost anti-poaching and conservation efforts.

Minister Nyalandu, who made a visit to the college with Mr Buffet, said the government has announced employment opportunities for 450 game rangers out of 950 it plans to employ during this financial year.

Thursday, April 10, 2014



Every day, about 100 elephants are killed for their ivory. It is estimated that the species will die out within the next 50 to 100 years if nothing is done to curtail the illegal ivory trade.

UW research associate professor Sam Wasser, director of the Center for Conservation Biology, has dedicated his life to minimizing the negative impacts of humanity’s growth upon wildlife populations, with a special interest in elephant population decimation.

In order to stave off an elephant-free future, Wasser and his team have found a way to track where elephants are killed and then where the ivory is shipped from. While in Africa in the ’80s, he and a large team of researchers collected scat from all across Africa as a baseline of genetic information, which they are now using with tusks seized by authorities.

According to Celia Mailand, research scientist at Wasser’s conservation center, the project has been one of the biggest learning experiences of her life. When she started at the center as an undergrad, they didn’t know how to get the DNA out of the ivory.

Using 16 genetic markers — three more genetic markers than for humans — scientists can compare DNA from seized ivory to the baseline scat DNA in order to determine a map of hot spots where poachers work.

After killing an elephant, poachers and dealers gather the tusks into a large shipment and send them out into the world. The vast majority of tusks, according to Wasser, are shipped through Tanzania, Nigeria, and other African countries. READ FULL STORY HERE

Wednesday, April 9, 2014



Last week the Japanese online shopping company Rakuten moved quickly to withdraw the sale of whale and dolphin meat from its online retail sites.

The move came after the International Court of Justice ruled that Japan immediately stop it's whaling program in the Southern Ocean.

But meanwhile ivory, most likely sourced from the illegal poaching and killing of African elephants, is still being sold online by Rakuten Global with over 28,000 ads for elephant ivory products on it's internet sites.


Allan Thornton
President of the U.S branch of the Environment Investigation Agency


Gregg Borschmann, Environment Editor

Wednesday, April 2, 2014



Arusha — SIX people, believed to be habitual poachers, were arrested in the early hours of Monday with a consignment of 55 elephant tusks weighing over 170 kilogrammes believed to have been extracted from 26 freshly-killed jumbos.

The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Mr Lazaro Nyalandu, stated that the six were nabbed with the government trophies at Kayombo village in Manyoni District, Singida Region, some hours after midnight on Monday.

They are presently being held at the Manyoni Police Station. They were also found with a sub-machine gun with three magazines and early reports indicate that the six had been on a jumbo killing mission in the Rungwa and Kizigo game reserves located in the district.

"We have dispatched a team of rangers as well as police officers to comb the entire reserves because intelligence reports suspect more culprits could still be in the forest with more government trophies," Mr Nyalandu said.

The search team will also be on the lookout for the car casses of the killed jumbos. The development comes at the time when the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism has been finalising its quarterly report on poaching in Tanzania for the first three months of 2014, which will be tabled in Arusha in the course of this week.

The report tabling will coincide with the launching of the second phase of anti-poaching operation dubbed 'Operation Tokomeza' "Tanzania has joined the global war on ivory trading, which also involves China, known for its tusk and ivory smuggling outlet notoriety, the United Nations and International Police (INTERPOL)," Mr Nyalandu revealed.

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