Monday, August 25, 2014



Photo: Official from KWS, Amara Executive Director Lori Bergemann andthe Javungo group of elders meets Governor Eng. John Mruttu in his office.
The Taita Taveta County Government

Cases of Human Wildlife Conflict, Poaching and deforestation in the County are expected to be minimized significantly, as result of the ongoing creation of awareness and familiarization of the locals on the newly enacted law. There is a popular saying that,- “Information is power”, hence Amara Conservation and Javungo elders seem to understand this very well; thus dedicating their time to educate people on the importance of peacefully coexisting with Flora and Fauna.

Speaking in his office when he met the officials from the Kenya Wildlife Service, Executive Director of the Amara Conservation Madam Lori Bergemann and the Javungo group of Elders, H.E. the Governor, Eng John Mruttu, said it’s important for the people to be educated on the Wildlife Act 2013. According to Eng. Mruttu , this is an initiative in the right direction hence needs to be supported under all cost.

The Group lead by the Kenya Wildlife Service and Amara Conservancy, have been encouring the youth; to look for alternative methods of getting an income rather than being involved in illegal activities like Poaching.

In the same meeting, Chairman of the Javungo Council of Elders- Mr. Ronald Mwasi Shake outlined the importance of our county citizen being familiar with the Wildlife Act 2013. He said that the penalties are just too severe to befall one, just because of his or her ignorance.

The County Government in this financial year plans to conduct a Civic Education on the news Wildlife Act 2013. People who are mainly from the Civic Society have been trained on the same Act.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Amara Meeting with the People of Tsavo


Amara is taking part in 2 weeks of meetings in different places around Tsavo bringing together the Elders to talk about how tribal ways protect the environment-

Then we explain ecosystems and how people-water-plants-air-wildlife depend on one another. Then about value of tourism. Then we explain that the people own all those resources.....

Today's Meeting, Tamaduni Za Kiafrica Zaboresha Uhifadhi in Mwakitau

Monday, August 18, 2014

Lori Bergemann's Photos from Meeting in Mwakitau

Kenya: Magic Can Catch Poachers - Elders

This newspaper article does not at all state what Chairman Mwasi said, he took things out of context and twisted them. What the Chairman said is that the Taita and Taveta people had traditional ways of conserving wildlife and the environment, and that it’s urgent to conserve NOW. His real message is that we need to all work together now going forward. Respect for the knowledge of the Elders mixed with modern approaches to conservation will work! We need to bring people together and heal any rifts that exist! LB

Kenya: Magic Can Catch Poachers - Elders
By Raphael Mwadime, The Star
August 18, 2014

Chairman Ronald Mwasi told KWS director William Kiprono that they are capable of using traditional ways to arrest armed poachers by making them fall asleep using magic.

"Our people are not poachers. Those killing our elephants using guns are people from outside. Involve us and we shall help catch them. We are capable of making them sleep and arrest them with their guns when we only have a walking stick."

He said KWS ignores the elders.

Speaking in Voi during the celebration of the World Elephant Day on Tuesday, Mwasi blamed KWS for barring the elders from accessing their shrines in the park.

He said poachers are hiding in the old holes left behind by miners who were extracting gemstones some years back.

"Even when you move around the areas with choppers you cannot spot them," he said.

Mwasi said that the Taita community members used to co-exist peacefully with wildlife since the colonial times and were never involved in poaching. all africa article here

Saturday, August 16, 2014



It is estimated that over 500,000 animals are killed for bushmeat each year in the Tsavo Conservation Area.

Bushmeat is taken by snaring along wildlife pathways. People set up wires attached firmly on one end, with the other end a loop loosely attached to surrounding bush. Animals pass through and get their head or leg caught.

A snare is like a landmine – it stays until any animal trips it, gets caught, and dies - and it often takes non-target species like lions and elephants. If an animal can escape, it is usually severely maimed and will die of infection, dislocated or lost limbs.

Killing any wildlife is illegal anywhere in Kenya. The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) “owns” every wild animal. Snares set on private land are just as illegal as those set on Park or Reserve land.

A small percentage of what is taken is eaten locally, but by far, most of this meat is exported to Nairobi or Mombasa and beyond to other countries. A study done by the Born Free Foundation found that over 35% of the meat sold in markets in Nairobi as beef was in fact, bushmeat.

This is not sustainable. Not only will there be no more animals to kill for money - poachers are killing off the prey of the large cats, who then will turn to eating livestock.

There are teams whose job is to remove these snares – hot, dusty and dangerous work walking through thorny bush where a snake or a buffalo could turn up at any moment. These teams do hard important work, but cannot be everywhere all the time – and when they return to an area previously desnared - there are always more snares to be found.

The key is to stop people from setting them. Stop because they know it’s not sustainable, and because they have alternative means to make a living. Stop because they want to stop.

Most people do not know that one of the most commonly snared animals, dikdik (the smallest antelope in Kenya at 12-15” tall and 7-12 lbs.), are monogamous and mate for life. When they realize that if they kill one for meat, they leave the spouse alone for the rest of its life - even the toughest poachers seem disturbed by this fact.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


We were thrilled to be a part of the celebrations! We are currently doing a brand new program in the Tsavo Conservation Area in concert with the Njavungo Taita Taveta Council of Elders, Kenyans United Against Poaching - KUAPO, Tsavo Pride, and the Kenya Wildlife Service. The Njavungo Elders marched at the front of the group through Voi Town, and the Chairman gave an inspiring presentation that the audience loved! It was great to see them join in with the traditional drummers and dancers too... stay tuned for more info! LORI

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Cuomo marks World Elephant Day by banning sale of illegal ivory products in New York
New York Daily News
August 13, 2014

ALBANY -Gov. Cuomo marked World Elephant Day Tuesday by signing legislation intended to stop the sale of illegal ivory products and crack down on poachers.
The new law, which was adopted by the Legislature in the spring, bans the sale of elephant and mammoth ivory as well as rhinoceros horns.

It also stiffens civil and criminal penalties for trafficking ivory products, including felony charges for the sale, trade or barter of ivory products that exceed $25,000.

"Restricting the market for ivory articles will help bring an end to the slaughtering of elephants and rhinoceroses and sends a clear message that we will not allow the illegal ivory trade to continue in New York,” Cuomo said.

The law contains limited exceptions for antiques and other products that are at least 100 years old and have only a small amount of ivory.

The measure was inspired by former Environmental Conservation Officer John Fitzpatrick , who headed investigations of illegal ivory sales for the state. Fitzpatrick, a 46-year-old lieutenant in the department, died earlier this year of an apparent heart attack.

Working with the Elders in Tsavo


We have been working with the Njavungo Taita Taveta Elders, KWS, Kenyans United Against Poaching - KUAPO, and Tsavo Pride on our new program "Tamaduni za Kiafrica Zaboresha Uhifadhi", roughly translated as "African Culture and Tradition makes Conservation Better". We will be taking it to 10 communities on this trial run.
It's going brilliantly! The program started with some traditional Taita dancing... Then Elders speaking... Then Amara... wrapped up by KWS and a lot of question and answer time!



Joseph Dadacha of TSAVO EASTNATIONAL PARK KWS talking about Human Wildlife Conflict and the new Wildlife Act - Isaac Maina of Amara and Kenyans United Against Poaching - KUAPO - and the Chairman of the Njavungo Elders Ronald Mwasi Shake bringing together the old and the new!



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