Monday, May 4, 2015


Richard Leakey in 1989 during his last fight against the elephant poachers.


Kenya has called on the services again of Richard Leakey to combat the elephant poaching in the country. Under Presidential orders Leakey has been made chairman of the Kenya Wildlife Services and told to tackle the poaching crisis.

Richard Leakey played an instrumental in combatting elephant poaching in Kenya during the 1980’s as head of the Kenya Wildlife Service. Using controversial techniques such as using helicopter gunships and the legendary Masai warriors he was able to bring a poaching epidemic to an end.
Now 30 years later and at the age of 70 the Kenyan government is hoping that Richard Leakey can once again rise to the challenge and bring the killing of elephants and other wildlife in the country to an end.

A government notice was released today stating that by Presidential Order of Uhuru Kenyatta Richard Leakey would be made chairman of the Kenya Wildlife Service to deliver direction on anti-poaching and wildlife conservation activities.

His responsibilities as chairman will be to produce new policies and activities on poaching and to guide the general direction of the organisation. The day-to-day management of the Kenya Wildlife Service will remain in the hands of the directors.



I would like to recognize the staff of Amara for all the hard work they put into the recent Ivory Belongs to Elephants Walk! It was a very hot, long and hard journey – mostly walking 437 kilometers. They needed to be there to help Jim Nyamu find his way to all the communities. We provided our vehicle, which sustained a couple of injuries itself – but the guys worked very hard!

Isaac Maina was there for at least 3 weeks of the walk – from the start, with a respite, and the last 3 weeks full time. He fixed broken generators, speakers and cables, as he is a natural engineer (besides having a university degree in engineering!). He spoke and advised and provided his inimitable spirit of collaboration and his deeply heartfelt desire to make conservation work in this country! Isaac has been supporting Amara from it's inception, and I am deeply grateful to him.

Peter Towett was Mr. All About. He did most of the driving – included a few unplanned trips to mechanics for repairs. He took most of the photos. He helped sort out the equipment, and I'm sure that he kept everyone in good spirits and on their toes.

Jacob Dadi was the leader of the Tsavo Team. He was on the committee that organized all the food and water donations, he planned the walk through Taveta and Taita – the majority of the events. He manned the loudspeaker on top of the car during the day. He introduced Jim to all the schools and communities where we work, and he continued putting forth Amara's information about the value of conservation. He is a great ambassador indeed. He walked every step that Jim did.

The whole team deserves a medal for all of their work. I know that while he hasn't said so, Jim must know that he could not have done this event without the Amara team support. I hope that the attention he has gained will filter down to people understanding the value of the community outreach that we do,and have been doing for many years now in collaboration with KWS and all local people in the Tsavo Conservation Area. We provide information where it is most needed, through showing films in Kiswahili, holding meetings and barazas and doing capacity building, including tree nursery construction training. We liaise between the different interest groups. Going forward we plan to be able also to provide project support for community efforts to protect their livelihoods whilst protecting their environment.

GO TEAM!! Congratulations to you all! Lori Bergemann


Purdue group 2014

Having Purdue University students visit every year is not only a pleasure to us at Amara but also a privilege to school students in Taita Taveta County.

A vast majority of Kenyan children have never seen an elephant before or a lion, or even the most common of wildlife species. Entering a Park requires a vehicle and the ability to pay entrance fees for the people and that vehicle. For most living on the boundaries of the rural Parks, these are costs that cannot ever be met. Being able to go into the Parks and see wildlife and the landscapes are life-altering events for the children.

For this reason Amara arranges free field trips into Tsavo East and West National Parks whenever we are able to fund them. We enroll the kids and their school in Wildlife Clubs of Kenya, so they have a local wildlife club of their own. It also provides reduced entry fees into the Parks. Seeing wild animals in their own habitat helps the children to understand the fascinating and vital heritage we have and gives them a strong understanding of the importance of protecting the wildlife.

Play time with the kids

This year students from the University will be taking Mbela Secondary students on an all-day game drive into Tsavo West National Park. They will visit the school prior to the trip where we will show them how Amara does its work. The school is located in Kishushe just bordering Mbulia Conservancy. The community-owned Conservancy, managed by African Territories has a beautiful lodge named Kipalo Hills, where the US students will stay during their visit.

On the final day with Purdue students, we will have an interschool soccer match competing with three other schools around the Conservancy. The winning team/ school will be handed gifts brought by the kids from Purdue.

Last year Purdue students visited Ore and Mlilo Primary Schools. We also planted tree seedlings at Ore. They saw the joy in the faces of the young kids, and their eagerness to learn and mingle with the University students. They even performed a traditional Taita song and dance for us. It is a memory forever etched in the hearts of the Purdue students, and one the Kenyan kids will treasure forever.

Shetani lava in Tsavo West

Viewing Mzima Springs

Ore primary school entertaining the university kids.

Group photo: Mzima springs (Tsavo West)

We believe that exposing young school kids to wildlife in such a positive way, helps them grow to respect and value conservation in their daily lives.

We welcome everyone on board to assist us with making this once in a lifetime opportunity available to the young generation! Amara would like to be able to give every single student in the Tsavo Conservation Area the opportunity to visit the parks. The impact of that would be enormous!


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