This has been one of the most painful months in all of our 17 years of existence. We have been grieving the loss of one of Kenya’s best known environmental defenders, Joannah Stutchbury, who was gunned down by assailants as she returned home from grocery shopping. Her death comes after years of defending an urban forest called Kiambu Forest, against illegal developers. Illegal grabbing of this forest over the years had already reduced it from 380 acres to 38. She was bold and courageous and had sat in the bucket of a JCB digger to prevent it from destroying a wetland inside the forest. For that, she was threatened at gunpoint, but the police did little to protect her. She would let nothing stop her from fighting for nature. But her courage was no match for the 6 bullets that pierced her body in the brazen 4 pm attack on 15th July 2021. The failure of the police to arrest and prosecute her murderers has triggered outrage in Kenya. From our perspective, she could be any of us. We fight for wildlife against poachers, for land against land grabbers, and we know that we risk our lives every day.
Suddenly, the fight for justice for wildlife and nature has become much more dangerous and that is why we are working with partners to bring the issue of safety of environmental defenders to the highest offices in the nation. Please help us ensure that Joannah did not die in vain. We are working with other stakeholders to secure the Kiambu Forest. Support this work by making a donation today.
Please read the joint statement endorsed by 44 organisations, including WildlifeDirect, here, and share it with the Kenyan Ambassador in your country, or with your Ambassador in Kenya.