We wish to thank all our partners below for their immense support! Asante Sana!!
21 year old elephant speared in Tanzania was found dead in Kenya. How Ivory funds Terror
Tune in tonight at 10pm (local time) to NTV Kenya to watch Warlords of Ivory.
Dr. Paula Kahumbu will be on the panel discussing these issues
Dr. Kahumbu discusses elephant conservation with U.S President Barack Obama
WildlifeDirect CEO Dr.Paula Kahumbu was among the members of the Kenya Civil Society who met the U.S President Barack Obama during his Kenyan visit. The meeting, which was held at the Kenyatta University, brought together members of civil society to address critical issues affecting the country. Dr. Kahumbu spoke on wildlife crime.
‘’I started the Hands Off Our Elephants under my organization WildlifeDirect together with the Kenyan First Lady Margaret Kenyatta to empower and mobilize Kenyans and Africans to conserve African Elephants’’ Dr. Paula told the President.
‘’Our work has changed the hearts and minds of Kenyans and also the laws. We have been at the centre of judicial reforms in this country’’
She asked President Obama to invite the American people to help by saying “No” to buying ivory and ivory products. She also requested the American government to take the lead by pursuing wildlife crime with the same vigor as drugs traffickers, and by strengthening their mutual legal assistance role in demand source and transit countries.
Watch the meeting here.
WildlifeDirect and UNDP hold project inception meeting in Amboseli
This Month, we initiated a new community enterprise project funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and in collaboration with Her Excellency, Margaret Kenyatta, The First Lady of the Republic of Kenya in Imbirikani, Amboseli. The project inception meeting held at the Big Life Foundation center brought together over 100 women and representatives from UNDP and the community leaders.
We seek to empower Maasai women by developing business ideas that are linked to the sustainable use of natural resources. Robert Kaai is managing the project.
Creating a Generation of Wildlife Warriors event
On 4th July, WildlifeDirect hosted Wildlife Warriors at Brookhouse School which attracted people from many sectors and corners of the country to discuss the role of young people in conservation using Open Space Technology. More than 300 people attended ranging from diplomats, scientists, rangers, university and primary school students and children from slums, and officials from counties.
It was a unique opportunity to discuss and document ideas on how young people of Kenya can become leaders, champions and defenders of our wildlife heritage.
Watch our video here.
WildlifeDirect taking part in the inventory of Kenya elephant ivory and rhino horn stockpile
WildlifeDirect was proud to officially partner with the government in the first ever digital inventory of elephant ivory and rhino horn in the country commissioned by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). The Stocktake involved a number of organizations including Stop Ivory and Save the Elephants. Due to the sensitive nature of the work we cannot provide further information until the full official report is distributed.
KWS, Kenya Land Commission and Kenya Railways sign deal for Standard Gauge Railway to pass through the Nairobi National Park
The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Kenya Land Commission (KLC) and the Kenya Railways this month signed a an agreement to allow the new Standard Gauge Railway to pass through the northern edge of the Nairobi National Park.
The railway will be elevated for 1 km across the 9 km length in the park. This will allow animals to pass underneath it and no land will be lost from the park. The KWS Chairman Dr. Richard Leakey, reassured WildlifeDirect that no part of the Nairobi National Park will be reduced contrary to the previous reports in the media which had indicated that several acres would be degazetted for the new railway. WildlifeDirect had launched a petition to stop the railway from encroaching on the National Park.
WildlifeDirect’s Jim Karani wins scholarship to study animal law at Lewis and Clark
WildlifeDirect’s Legal Assistant Jim Karani has won a scholarship to study Animal Law at the Center for Animal Law Studies (CALS), at the Lewis & Clark Law School in the United States.
On completion, he will be the first African attorney with an advanced degree in animal law.
Congratulations to him. Jim leaves for USA at the end of August.
Dr. Jane Goodall Celebrates 55 Years of Pioneering Research with Wild Chimpanzees
On July 14, 2015 WildlifeDirect CEO Paula Kahumbu joined Dr. Jane Goodall as she celebrated 55 years of pioneering research with chimpanzees at Gombe National park in Tanzania.
Platinum Dancers perform anti-poaching play
Known for winning one of the biggest regional dance shows in East Africa, Sakata, Platinum dancers from Kibera performed an anti-poaching play in the SPA completion, a Christian dancing competition.
Branded in Hands Off Our Elephants T-Shirts, the group won the second round and will be performing in the finals in August. They danced to Tusimame, an elephant anthem composed by four African artists including Emmanuel Jal, Syssi Mananga, Juliani and Venessa Mdee. This is part of Jal’s “We Want Peace Initiative”
Watch them perform the anti-poaching play here
Eyes In The Courts
‘This month our legal team has been following up on the long awaited trial of suspected ivory kingpin Feisal Mohamed Ali which started the 9th of July 2015. Feisal Mohamed Ali and five others are accused of possession of ivory contrary to the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act of 2013. Feisal’s bond application at the high court was denied and the court ruled that he should attend his trail while in custody unlike his co-accused. The main trial will start on the 17th of August 2015 for 3 consecutive days at the Mombasa law courts. If convicted, Feisal faces up life imprisonment or a fine of not less than 20 million shillings.
Eyes in the court room project is also following two huge seizures of ivory from Kenya in Singapore and Thailand earlier this year. The seizures led to the uncovering of a cartel the Mombasa port and consequently several employees of Kenya Ports Authority are facing charges in relation to the seizures.
Date: September 2015
Communications & Social Media Intern
Would you like to work for the most exciting conservation organization in Nairobi?
If you are Kenyan, passionate about wildlife, and want an opportunity to do meaningful work and make a difference for our unique wildlife heritage, and you are a guru on social media, then this job is for you! We are looking for a media intern with expectation that it could develop into a full time position.
Applications for later start dates also welcome
Duration: 3-6 months
The Communications Department at WildlifeDirect seeks to enlist a full-time intern to support with social media outreach.
The intern will assist the CEO in:
Interested candidates are invited to submit their applications to [email protected] (subject Social Media Intern) by 5pm on 26th August 2014 . Applications MUST include a Cover Letter, CV/Resume and 2 letters of recommendation
Nairobi, Kenya, Friday, August 21st 2015: WildlifeDirect has today expressed its deep disappointment at the release of suspected ivory Kingpin Feisal Mohamed Ali. He and five others are charged with trafficking 2 tons of ivory that was seized in Mombasa on the 5th of June 2014. He had escaped to Tanzania where he remained a fugitive for 7 months before arrest, following a red notice issued by Interpol. The ruling by court magistrate Honourable Davis Karani allows him to leave Shimo la Tewa prison where he has been held since 23rd of December 2014. The terms for his release are that he pays a bond of Kshs. 10 Million (USD 100,000) and a surety of the same amount.
The decision today by the lower magistrates court contradicts a decision on 7th July just a month ago by the High Court of Kenya in Mombasa which emphasized that he (Feisal Mohamed Ali) was a flight risk. Honourable Karani today said he sees no reason why Feisal should remain in custody.
The trial which commenced four days ago (17th August 2015) follows a protracted inquiry into the disappearance of evidence in the case; 9 motor vehicles which are suspected to have been used in the crime that were under police protection. The prosecution revealed that they intend to call witnesses who are under state witness protection program.
This trial is a major test case of the newly created Wildlife Prosecution Unit under the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the only unit of its kind in Eastern and Central Africa that was formed as a result of the rising cases of major transnational wildlife crime.
WildlifeDirect Chairman Philip Murgor expressed his disappointment
‘’This is the most unaccepted and unfortunate decision that a lower court can overturn the decision of the High Court. It undermines all the coordinated efforts of law enforcement agencies in Kenya and Tanzania as well as Interpol to bring the fugitive to face justice in Kenya’’
Mr. Murgor is the former head of Public Prosecutions.
Today the prosecution asked the trial magistrate Honourable Karani to recuse himself from the case but the magistrate declined.
As Kenyans reacted to the shocking news, the ODPP kept concerned citizens updated with tweets:
“we at ODPP are all shocked & disappointed by the outcome @ODPP_KE @paulakahumbu”
“JUST IN ;Magistrate refuse to stay release order &defers ruling on his disqualification until Hct decide on bail !”
And “the team in Mombasa have been in the trenches on a daily basis over this matter & they extremely disappointed
The ODPP through Assistant Director of Prosecutions Mr.Muteti has indicated that he is filing an urgent application at the high court to overturn the bond ruling and apply for the magistrate to be recused from the case.
WildlifeDirect is a Kenyan NGO and US registered 501(c) (3) organization. Hands Off Our Elephants, the flagship campaign of WildlifeDirect and it is patroned by Her Excellency Margaret Kenyatta, the First lady of Kenya. The organization has been at the forefront of driving legal reforms in Kenya and East Africa. The CEO of WildlifeDirect is Dr. Paula Kahumbu. Elizabeth Gitari is the Legal Affairs Manager.
For more information, Please contact Elizabeth Gitari at [email protected] or +254 723 419 706
On Wednesday, August 12, 2015, WildlifeDirect joined the rest of the world to mark World Elephant Day, a day set aside to honor elephants, spread awareness about the violent and critical threats they are facing, and to support positive solutions that will help ensure their survival.
The event which was graced by U.S Ambassador to Kenya Robert Fr Godec and Environment and Natural Resources Cabinet Secretary Judy Wakhungu was held at the Amboseli National Park. 200 children, women from the communities and friends in Amboseli National Park were also part of the celebrations. 78 of the children were from Kibera School for Girls, and the Kibera Running Club, an initiative of Olympic marathon champion Douglas Wakiihuri and ranged between the ages of 4 to 15. Also present were students from PCEA Imbirikani Girls High School and women from the local Amboseli area who joined WildlifeDirect to celebrate this global event.
The children who had never gone for a game drive before were taken for a two hour drive in the park to experience and see elephants; this was a great experience for them, seeing elephants for the first time, they could not hide their excitement. During the drive, the children also got a chance to interact with elephant experts, including Dr. Paula Kahumbu, CEO,WildlifeDirect, Katito Sayialel from the Amboseli Trust for Elephants and also Soila Sayailel who has been studying elephants for the past 21 years.
Speaking during the event, WildlifeDirect CEO, Paula Kahumbu said she was so happy to see these young children learn new things about elephants, something they could not have learnt from their classes, adding that the role of children in conservation should not be ignored. She said WildlifeDirect will continue empowering young children with knowledge about elephants and conservation.
‘’Having the Children interact with the elephant experts is probably the best thing to ever happen to these children’’ She said.
‘’It was an amazing day that left me feeling delighted by emotions. We gave these children something that nobody has ever given them that most children around the world can never experience, and, intimidated, we owe it to future generations to protect elephants for them’’.
‘’It is very special to have this opportunity to be here with all of you, to be on the bus and just talk with some of you about your experience in the National Park. I am here to celebrate with you these animals, to commit to preserving and protecting them ’’ Ambassador Robert Fr Godec said.
‘’We all have a very special responsibility in this world to help and protect elephants and all other wildlife. If we don’t work to preserve and conserve them there will be no more elephants and rhinos left, especially with the poaching and human wildlife conflict’’
He added that the United States government is committed to helping and protecting the animals and will continue giving necessary support to ensure they are protected.
The children were also treated to an electrifying dance from Platinum dancers; they danced to an elephant anthem Tusimame, composed by for top African artists including Emanuel Jal, Syssi Mananga, Juliani and Venessa Mdee.
These celebrations come at a time when elephants are experiencing the worst ivory poaching crisis ever in history. It’s estimated that there were 1.2 million elephants in Africa in 1980. Africa’s savannas and forests are no longer sanctuaries for elephants, now there are only about 430,000, with an estimated 20,000 elephants killed last year alone. This of course has been precipitated by the ivory trade which continues to be a thorn in the flesh for many countries, driven by the huge demand for ivory in Asia. To date, poaching and trafficking of ivory is at its highest level with statistics showing that between 2009 and June 2014, criminal networks trafficked as much as 170 tons of ivory.
WildlifeDirect would like to thank the U.S Embassy for the great contribution it made to make this event a success. We would also love to thank the Africa Wildlife Foundation (AWF), International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) for their significant contribution and also to Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) for providing free entry for the kids and all the other participants into the Amboseli National Park.
We would also love to thank all the parents who allowed their young children to travel all the way from Nairobi to Amboseli very early in the morning to join us in the celebrations.
Hunting for pleasure is a barbaric, uncivilized practice that is well past its sell-by date
Like people across the world, I am extremely angry and deeply saddened about the killing of the great lion named Cecil in Zimbabwe.
Cecil was a spectacularly beautiful lion. He was lured out of the protection of Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park so that he could be shot by the American trophy hunter Walter J. Palmer.
That’s an immoral practice: I cannot imagine what was going on in this man’s mind the moment he pulled the trigger of his cross bow, injuring Cecil, then tracking him for 40 long hours before shooting him dead, skinning him and cutting off his head.
Let’s be clear: this was also a crime. The hunter had no permit, he is therefore a poacher. In Zimbabwe poachers are often shot dead in their tracks. Some people on social media are suggesting that Mr. Palmer be given a death sentence. In my view he deserves a proper public prosecution, and conviction, together with the guide and landowner involved, who are already under arrest.
He should be given the most severe form of penalty: jail in Africa, and a massive fine to compensate for the loss of this incredibly valuable animal.
I have written to the US Fish & Wildlife Service to ask if Mr. Palmer is currently being sought in the USA under the Lacey Act, that prohibits trade in wildlife products that have been acquired illegally, including in contravention of foreign laws.
While the media has focused on the reaction of celebrities and Mr. Palmer’s neighbours in Minnesota, comment on social media has revealed the deep grieving and heartbreak across Africa, as news of the murder by poachers of the great tusker Satao did last year. There is also revulsion at the whole idea of killing animals for pleasure, something that is completely alien to the African tradition of respect for wildlife.
Of course many wild animals are killed by Africans, very often unjustly or for criminal purposes. But trophy hunting is, and always has been, a rich white man’s sport. For Africans, it is a symbol of colonial oppression. Formerly, most hunters were Europeans. Now the balance of power has shifted and it is no coincidence that, today, 60 percent of all lions killed for sport in Africa are shipped to the USA as trophies.
There is no ecological justification for trophy hunting. Arguments can be made (but also disputed) in favour of hunting as means of controlling populations of common animals such as deer. But trophy hunters are not interested in common animals; for them, the rarer the better. The ultimate, orgasmic experience for a trophy hunter would be to kill the last individual of a species.
Mr. Palmer ‘only’ paid $50,000 to get his kicks by killing Cecil. Earlier this year a hunter paid $350,000 to shoot a black rhino in Namibia: as a critically endangered species, black rhinos are more valuable as trophies. Photos posted on Internet show that Mr. Palmer has already shot dead at least one rhino. Maybe its severed head is now a conversation piece above his fireplace in Minnesota?
Lions are not yet listed as endangered, although populations are declining across Africa. But by targeting the biggest and best animals, trophy hunters do damage to populations and gene pools that is far greater than the loss of a single individual. The adult male lions targeted by trophy hunters are key individuals that otherwise would live long, full lives, protecting their mates and cubs and contributing their genes to future generations.
The idea that trophy hunting benefits African economies is also a myth – or more accurately a lie. Tourism is hugely important to African economies. For example it generated direct incomes of $33.5 bn in sub-Saharan Africa in 2011, a figure expected to rise to almost $60 bn over the coming decade.
On 4th July, WildlifeDirect hosted one of the biggest ever events about conservation in Nairobi. The event which was held at Brookhouse School brought together young people and youth of all ages to discuss the role of young people in conservation through Open Space Technology. Dubbed ‘’Creating a generation of Wildlife Warriors’’ the event brought together more than 300 people who included diplomats, rangers, university students and kids from different counties to discuss different conservation topics.
Creating a generation of wildlife warriors in Kenya is about giving young Kenyans a voice on wildlife conservation at this time of unprecedented threats, when their support matters most.
The gathering on July 4th 2015 was a unique opportunity to make sure that all voices and ideas get documented with the aim of making a positive difference in how best to engage the children and young people of Kenya as leaders, champions and defenders of our wildlife heritage
Open Space Technology can be defined approach to organizing meetings including symposiums and community summit events, focused on a specific and important purpose or task and for this day it was all about conservation. On this day, participants came together to discuss different conservation topics, in the end they were allowed to make recommendation on what should be done best to solve some of the issues affecting Wildlife conservation.
‘’We decided to hold an open space event so that we can involve the voices of young people and ordinary members of the public as well as people from different organization who have interest in wildlife conservation’’ Joy Kahumbu, the Open space Technology facilitator said.
Hundreds of recommendations were made and participants were allowed to vote on the recommendations they strongly felt should be worked on. The recommendations will be then be presented to the government and other organizations.
‘’This event is basically giving children, young people of all ages and people from all sectors an opportunity to work together and give out solutions and recommendations to wildlife challenges ’’ Dr.Paula Kahumnu, CEO WildlifeDirect said.
Five elephants were yesterday night killed in Tsavo West and their tusks removed. This killing brings the number of elephants killed in the area this month to seven. The elephants were killed near Ziwani and Lake Jipe area leaving only a surviving calf.
Kenya Wildlife Service officials have launched a manhunt for the poachers behind the killings arresting two people. Others are said to be on the run and according to the officials; they are believed to have crossed the border to Tanzania.
The killings come at a time when the country is working hard to save the remaining African elephants. Commenting on the killing, WildilifeDirect CEO Dr.Paula Kahumbu said ‘’Despite recent advances in Kenya, we will never be out of the woods so long as poaching is escalating in neighboring countries, and demand and price of ivory is still exploding in China and Hong Kong’’.
WildlifeDirect strongly condemns this and is urging anyone with information to report to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) through 020 2507435 to ensure the culprits are brought to book.
WildlifeDirect CEO Dr.Paula Kahumbu was among the members of the Kenya Civil Society who met the U.S President Barrack Obama on on Sunday. The meeting, which was held at the Kenyatta University, brought together members of the civil society from across the country to address critical issues affecting the country. Dr.Paula was here to address the issue of Wildlife crime and ivory trade and the efforts being made by WildlifeDirect to combat the trade.
Dr.Paula reiterated the need to protect the African elephants which are on the verge of extinction. More than 30,000 elephants are killed every year across Africa and Dr.Paula explained to President Obama about the need to protect these iconic animals; she also talked about the Hands Off Our Elephants Campaign started by WildlifeDirect. Through bold, creative measures and in partnership with governments, businesses and non-governmental organizations, the campaign has dedicated itself to changing minds, modifying behavior, strengthening laws, and engaging the public to help in the protection of the African elephant.
‘’I started the Hands Off Our Elephants under my organization WildlifeDirect together with the Kenyan First Lady Margaret Kenyatta to empower and mobilize Kenyans and Africans to conserve African Elephants’’ Dr. Paula explained.
‘’Our work has really changed the hearts and minds of Kenyans and also the laws. We have been at the centre of judicial reforms in this country’’
She went further to ask President Obama to urge American people to stop buying ivory and ivory products as this is the best way they can help to fight the trade. Paula also requested the American government to take the lead in pursuing wildlife traffickers by strengthening their mutual legal role not just in the demand countries but also source and transit countries.
WildlifeDirect was instrumental in the arrest of one of Kenya’s ivory king pin Feisaal Mohammed and Dr.Paula took the chance to thank the United States Embassy and many other organizations like Interpol who made the arrest possible.
The meeting came just a day after President Obama announced that that the U.S will be taking ‘’urgently needed steps’’ to tighten restrictions on the sale of ivory and ivory products from to protect the remaining Africa’s elephants, which are targeted by poachers for sale on the black market. The restrictions, Obama said would eliminate the market for illegal ivory in the United States. The proposed rule follows U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell’s trip to China and Vietnam earlier this month to meet with senior government officials in both countries to build international cooperation to combat wildlife trafficking.
“Our countries are also close partners in the fight against poachers and traffickers that threaten Kenya’s world-famous wildlife. The United States has a ban already on the commercial import of elephant ivory’’ President Obama said during a press conference in Nairobi.
‘’I can announce that we’re proposing a new rule that bans the sale of virtually all ivory across our state lines, which will eliminate the market for illegal ivory in the United States.”
Dr. Kahumbu praised the move saying the United States being the second largest consumer of ivory should also be in the forefront in combating the trade. If implemented, the rule would result in a near total ban on the ivory trade in the U.S something which Dr.Kahumbu says will be a very huge milestone in the fight against the illegal ivory trade.
YouTube Video courtesy of NTV