In September 2019, WildlifeDirect launched its first essay competition during International Snakebite Awareness Day themed ‘Why Snakes Matter!’. Joseph Loicherua from Lempuranai Primary School in Samburu was the first prize winner. His essay captured his love for nature and wildlife.
It was, therefore, a real shock and surprise to hear that in one of Kenya’s jewels of its protected areas which is under direct KWS protection, Hell’s Gate National Park, an area of outstanding natural beauty and a key breeding site for globally Critically Endangered species, that an event of extremely high disturbance and impact, the Koroga Music Festival, was being organised and supported by KWS!
The true history of Hell's Gate and why mistakes made in the past by allowing public events should not be an excuse to continue destroying the park. Instead, it should be rescued, rehabilitated and protected against further degradation.
Many people are shocked, as I am, by the approval given to hold two large-scale public events in Hell’s Gate National Park later this year. The Koroga Love Festival, on 14–15 February, and the East African leg of the World Rally Championship, programmed for July, will attract thousands of people to the Park for activities that are unconnected with wildlife conservation.
Historically, most African wildlife films have been produced by Westerners for Western audiences. Paula Kahumbu, a Kenyan wildlife conservationist, is working to change that. She is the CEO of the nonprofit WildlifeDirect, which produces a documentary series featuring African storytellers such as herself telling the stories of African conservation heroes.
WildlifeDirect uses citizen science approach to engage children in conservation and one such project is the ‘Kids and Goats for Elephants’. This innovative project is pioneered by Dr. Paula Kahumbu, WildlifeDirect Chief Executive Officer and Prof. Thure Cerling a distinguished professor from the University of Utah.
Eastern and Southern Africa will take the next Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to another ugly argument about ivory trade. They are pitching for a big fight. Kenya and her 'friends' want to transfer all elephants to be on Appendix I, which will send a clear message - NO IVORY TRADE for anyone.
Another suspected trafficker of elephant ivory is set free by a magistrate at Mombasa Law Courts. Directly charged for the trafficking of 1097kgs of elephant ivory in two containers in December 2016, Mr. Gitonga walks out of court a free man.
A court in Tanzania has convicted and sentenced Yang Feng Glan, infamously named ‘The Ivory Queen’ and two of her associates to 15 years in prison. This is welcomed news signaling an end to a 5 year protracted case where Ms. Yang and two Tanzanians were charged with economic crimes for trafficking in more than 706 pieces of elephant tusks in 2014.