Community & Conservation Laikipia Loldia House Masai Mara

Education through nature and the plight of raptors

Africa’s wildlife faces challenges: giraffes are dwindling and raptors are threatened by electrocution. Organisations like the Giraffe Conservation Foundation and the Kenya Bird of Prey Trust are working non-stop to try and protect wildlife and their critical habitats. Governors’ Camp Collection is proud to support their efforts and inspire the next generation of conservationists through our newly launched Children in the Wilderness program.

Conservation 

Giraffe Conservation Foundation  

Over the past 35 years, giraffe numbers have decreased by nearly 30%. In regions once considered prime habitats, their numbers have dropped by up to 95%, and giraffes have lost nearly 90% of their historical range over the last three centuries.

Maasai giraffe – photo credit Felix Rome

With approximately 117,000 giraffes remaining in the wild across Africa, we must all play our part in ensuring there is a future where giraffes continue to roam freely across the African savanna. 

Masai giraffe – photo credit Felix Rome

The Giraffe Conservation Foundation is the only NGO in the world that concentrates solely on the conservation and management of giraffes in the wild throughout Africa. We are proud to support their important work in protecting these majestic giants across Africa and we look forward to assisting their team during their planned giraffe census exercise in the Masai Mara this September.  

Masai giraffe – photo credit Felix Rome

The Kenya Bird of Prey Trust 

Kenya has long been considered a haven for diverse wildlife, including raptors. However, a silent threat is looming over birds of prey, causing their numbers to drop alarmingly. Studies have revealed devastating declines of up to 90% in certain raptor species since the 1970s. The primary threats behind this crisis are habitat loss, persecution, poisoning and electrocution, caused by poorly designed energy infrastructure. 

A long-crested eagle surveys Eburru Forest – photo credit Alisa Karstad

Electrocution has emerged as the leading cause of raptor deaths in Kenya, with long-crested eagles, augur buzzards and other medium to large raptors being particularly vulnerable. These once-abundant birds have suffered precipitous population declines due to the proliferation of unsafe 33 KVA cement poles throughout the country, even within protected areas. When a bird unknowingly touches the pole and the wires, it receives an electric shock, often leading to a slow and agonising death. 

A long-crested eagle that has been shocked by power lines – photo credit Alisa Karstad

One such victim is a long-crested eagle currently receiving care at the Naivasha Raptor Center. The bird’s right foot and opposite wing have been severely damaged by electrocution, requiring amputation. The dedicated team at the center is fighting to save the eagle’s life, but the outcome remains uncertain. 

The electric shock has caused necrosis of the wing – photo credit Alisa Karstad

 Tissues and tendons in the right foot have died – photo credit Alisa Karstad

There is some hope amidst this crisis, thanks to the efforts of the Kenya Bird of Prey Trust and Governors’ is a strong supporter of their vital work by providing funds to purchase high quality meat for all the rescued birds. The Trust’s mission goes beyond caring for injured raptors; they are vocal advocates for bird-safe energy infrastructure and work tirelessly to educate the public about the dangers of electrocution. Their commitment, despite the constant challenges that they face, is truly inspiring and we welcome any further support from donors towards their work. 

Community 

Children In The Wilderness 

We are thrilled to announce the launch of Children in the Wilderness (CITW) in Kenya, a program dedicated to inspiring the next generation of conservationists in Kenya. Through engaging Eco-Clubs, immersive Eco-Camps and hands-on experiences, CITW aims to instil a deep appreciation for the natural world for all who go through the program. 

Children In The Wilderness – photo credit Alisa Karstad

CITW began by empowering local community members, teachers and camp staff as “EcoMentors.” Through intensive training sessions in the Masai Mara and The Great Rift Valley, these passionate individuals gained the knowledge and skills necessary to lead environmental projects and ignite a love for nature in children. 

EcoMentor Training at Loldia House – photo credit Frankie Adamson

The newly established Eco-Clubs in the Masai Mara and Naivasha are now buzzing with activity. Guided by dedicated EcoMentors, the children have already begun embarking on learning adventures, exploring the wonders of their natural surroundings. 

Children In The Wilderness – photo credit Alisa Karstad

Forty students from the TAFA Community Center recently embarked on a field trip to the Elsamere Conservation Center. They delved into the ecology of Lake Naivasha, a vital lifeline for their families, and learned about the importance of protecting this precious ecosystem. 

Children In The Wilderness – photo credit Alisa Karstad

The children’s excitement peaked as they spotted hippos, giraffes, and zebras during a boat ride on the lake. Enjoying lunch under the shade of acacia trees, they experienced the magic of wildlife firsthand as a family of curious warthogs ambled past. 

Children In The Wilderness – photo credit Alisa Karstad

The fun continued with a visit to the Naivasha Raptor Center, where the children were captivated by the stories of rescued birds of prey. They gained a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by these magnificent creatures and the tireless efforts underway to protect them.

A rescued wood owl – photo credit Alisa Karstad

Many owls are persecuted due to cultural superstitions – a Mackinder’s eagle-owl – photo credit Alisa Karstad

Willis, the newly appointed KBoPT Conservation Educator, shared valuable insights about raptor conservation, leaving a lasting impression on the young minds. 

Willis gives a talk to the TAFA students on raptor conservation – photo credit Alisa Karstad

We are thrilled that Willis will soon begin outreach lessons at TAFA, providing the students with a comprehensive understanding of the issues and solutions surrounding birds of prey. This ongoing education will foster environmental stewardship and encourage coexistence with these incredible creatures. 

Young Joseph Lepile meets Yusef, a rescued Rüppell’s vulture – photo credit Alisa Karstad

Supporting Community Development 

CITW’s impact extends beyond conservation education. We sponsored new kits for three TAFA football teams, fostering a sense of pride and unity within the community. Additionally, we continue to support the daily feeding program at TAFA, ensuring that over 150 children receive a nourishing meal each day. We also support the three coaches at TAFA with a monthly stipend to help them continue their valuable work.

Erick, Judith and Sammy are the three TAFA mentors who we support – photo credit Frankie Adamson

On behalf of everyone at TAFA, we extend our deepest gratitude for your generous and unwavering support. Your sponsorship of monthly learning trips to Elsamere and KBoPT education centres not only enriches the children’s educational experiences but also broadens their horizons in ways that will stay with them for a lifetime. We are truly blessed to have partners like you who believe in our vision and work tirelessly to help us achieve our goals. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all that you do’. Sammy Kamau, Founder, Coach and Mentor – TAFA Community Center 

The future of conservation lies in the hands of the next generation. Through CITW, we are empowering them with knowledge, passion, and the tools to become guardians of our planet. 

By Alisa Karstad, Impact Manager for Governors’ Camp Collection. If you would like to learn more about any of our Community and Conservation efforts you can reach out to us via email info@governorscamp.com

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