Shining a Light on Africa’s Conservation Heroes
In April 2019, WildlifeDirect launched Wildlife Warriors, a TV series about Kenyan wildlife heroes at the front line, and the species that they are saving. Produced by WildlifeDirect, shot and edited by Nairobi based production house Vivid Features, the show shines a light on Africa’s own conservation heroes who are fighting grave battles, breaking new ground and risking everything to preserve what they hold most dear, the land of their ancestors and the animals they have lived closely with for generations. Made by Africans for Africans, Wildlife Warriors aims to excite, entertain, wow, educate and inspire viewers to care about nature and wildlife, and take actions that save it and our natural habitats.
The first season features 13 extraordinary Kenyan conservation heroes and the iconic species that they are working to protect like turtles, African wild dogs, elephants, snakes, rhinos, Grevy’s Zebras, vulturine guinea fowls, lions, leopards, colobus monkeys, and whales. The series is told through the stories of Africa’s own conservation heroes, front line soldiers, and cutting edge scientists, to find out what inspires them, and how we can infect all people with the same passion. The groundbreaking documentary series is filmed in some of Kenya’s wildest locations and many of our heroes have never before been seen on screen.
The first season of Wildlife Warriors has sparked interest from Kenyans from different walks of life as a survey revealed that 51 percent of Kenyans watched the TV Series. It has also helped generate debates that are inspiring positive change in conserving Africa’s wildlife. The Wildlife Warriors series has also had an impact in South Africa after community members from Kwa Zulu Natal had a community screening on ‘Saving Snakes in Watamu’ episode. The members have developed an interest in learning about snakes found in South Africa. Two episodes of the TV series were selected for screening at the New York Wildlife Conservation Film Festival in October 2019 and the series was also recognized at the 2019 Jackson Wild Film Festival in Wyoming and the National Geographic Explorers Festival.
A survey done by Kantar in November 2019 revealed that 51 percent of Kenyans watched the series and also revealed that 83 percent of Kenyans want the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife to make the National Parks and Reserves free for children. They said park visits were essential for environmental literacy, and that visits would even improve children’s performance at school.
To view the series, please visit Wildlife Warriors TV YouTube page.
In October 2021, WildlifeDirect joined forces with the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), The Walt Disney Company Africa and National Geographic, to launch the National Geographic’ Team Sayari and Nature Positive Kids Outreach which airs each Saturday on National Geographic Wild (DStv 182, Starsat 221) and Disney Channel at 13:00 EAT.
Nairobi-based youths Mysha Hodson (13), Marita Lucas (12), Shanah Manjeru (14), Railey Mwai (10) and Adarsh Nagda (12) serve as studio hosts for the show. From Sayari basecamp, they link to field presenters that travel to East, West and South Africa to explore intriguing facets of the environment, interview experts on the ground and learn what is needed to protect and conserve our natural world. Joining them on location are Sheilah Sheldone (13, Kenya), Toluwanimi Olaoye (12, Nigeria), Christian Mekhi (10, Rwanda), Atule Mazane, Khahliso Khojane, Thandolwethu Fani, (13, 14, 15, South Africa) and Sabrina Kilumanga (10, Tanzania).
Team Sayari is a nature-based television program produced by Nairobi-based production company called White Rhino Films for National Geographic in Association with WildlifeDirect and is funded by U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). In the series, young presenters and field reporters from across the continent together with African experts in five countries explore, discover, learn about our environmental challenges and educate and inspire young viewers how to reduce their impact, protect and restore nature. Team Sayari airs every Saturday on National Geographic Wild (DStv 182, Starsat 221) at 1:00 p.m.( EAT).
Led by the programme’s goal to inspire meaningful, impactful behavioural change in young viewers across the continent and create the next generation of environmental conservation leaders, each episode begins with a DNA-inspired computer named Funzi giving our young presenters missions to complete. This sets the scene for adventurous journeys, in which the wonders of the natural world, and the need to live more lightly on the planet, are revealed. On their travels, Team Sayari will meet National Geographic Explorers and trailblazers in the fields of conservation, science, nature, wildlife and the environment, learning valuable lessons regarding how to reduce their impact, protect and restore nature in a fun way.
Viewers can expect thrilling travels, intriguing discoveries, fun DIY activities and enthralling adventures every week. In the premiere episode, Team Sayari learns how single use plastic is harmful to marine life after Funzi sends them on a journey to discover how waste materials reach our oceans, and what they can do to help curb pollution. Viewers can also expect fascinating journeys through wild spaces such as mountains, forests and nature reserves, and encounters with wild animals from elephants to bees, from sharks to snakes, and everything in between. On their travels, they meet unexpected heroes in these farout locations that share fascinating insights about the planet we call home.
To view the series, please visit Team Sayari TV YouTube page.
Kenya has long attracted wildlife filmmakers and has provided the setting for many of the world’s best known and best-loved wildlife documentaries. However, due to copyright restrictions, these documentaries remained unknown to Kenyans themselves.
Now this has changed thanks to NTV Wild, a pioneering initiative spearheaded by WildlifeDirect in collaboration with the Kenyan broadcaster NTV and Kenyan Wildlife Service (KWS). Following negotiations and lobbying by WildlifeDirect CEO Paula Kahumbu, National Geographic and other leading distributors of wildlife documentaries generously agreed to allow them to be shown free of charge on Kenyan TV. NTV Wild broadcasts top quality full-length wildlife documentaries once a week on prime-time TV. Its sister program, NTV Wild Talk, features in-depth discussion and film reports on current issues relating to wildlife conservation and the environment in Kenya and across Africa.
By the end of the fourth season, NTV Wild broadcasted more than 40 documentaries and regularly tops the Saturday night viewing ratings, often attracting more than 4 million views. NTV Wild Talk has brought together an impressive range of decision-makers and opinion formers in stimulating discussions, often filmed in stunning locations the field, under the expert moderation of NTV’s Smriti Vidyarthi. Programs cover a wide range of environmental issues, including topics such as clean energy, urban wildlife, and marine wildlife conservation that were seldom addressed previously by the Kenyan media. Participants have included overseas diplomats, government ministers, conservationists and scientists, wildlife law enforcement personnel, lawyers, economists, filmmakers, and grassroots environmental activists.
The response on social media provides an indication of the profound effect of NTV Wild on public attitudes in Kenya towards wildlife conservation. This success has been recognized through new funding received from the US Department of Interior and National Geographic that will be used to train staff, raise production standards, and develop home-grown film-making capacity. This will ensure that NTV Wild continues to go from strength to strength, raising awareness and helping to build support among all sectors of Kenyan society for the protection of our countries unique wildlife heritage.
To view the series, please visit the NTV Wild YouTube page.
MADE POSSIBLE BY
The production of Wildlife Warriors series was funded by the U.S. Government, through USAID and in partnership with U.S. Department of the Interior and Wild Lives Foundation.
Team Sayari is the result of a collaborative effort between National Geographic, The Walt Disney Company Africa, USAID, the U.S. State Department and WildlifeDirect. The series, produced by local production company White Rhino Films aims to celebrate the environment and raise awareness of conservation and associated issues in a fun and relatable way, will air later this year on both National Geographic Wild and Disney Channel across Africa.
NTV Wild is a partnership between WildlifeDirect, NTV Kenya and Kenya Wildlife Service, and has been generously supported by the US Department of the Interior and USAID.