2012 News

KIDS and NEIGHBOURS, THE ELEPHANT QUEST – LAND OF HOPE ! – SO WENT NOVEMBER

My dear Friends,

I am back with an apology for this update delay : November was hectic and I hardly touched the ground… tribal clashes at our doorsteps, cattle rustling in full moon; feeding the neighbours, feeding the children, community service, schools visits, building at Land of Hope, and promoting peace. And the elephant quest intensified, in preparation for CITES.

The poaching situation that has deteriorated beyond imagination in other parts of the country has improved up here thanks to the strengthening of our rangers, total KWS support and a -temporary, we fear- switch of focus from the notorious dealers to another area of Laikipia. And far fewer elephants, helas!

The fateful 12/12/12 has come and gone- and, despite the prophecy, only a minor quake tremor in the Rift valley last week that no one really noticed- and despite gathering clouds, purple skies and strange evening winds, I woke up to the turaco calls, festive dogs, and life unchanged.

Here the story of the last few weeks that can be well said in self descripting photos.

FEEDING AND RELIEF

All the maize meal left over from the end of September generous donation by the Kenya Red Cross, for the Highlands games was distributed to needy neighbours, including Ol Donyo Oloip Orphanage, the School for the deaf, the Nagum Pokot, the Enghlesha Tugen, and the Tebelekwo community.

FOOD, SOAP AND CARE

COMMUNITY SERVICE: OUR TIRELESS COMMUNITY OFFICER SAMUEL PARTERI NINAAI ZOOMED FROM ONE SIDE TO ANOTHER OF THE CONSERVANCY TO ATTEND ENDELESS MEETINGS and INTRODUCE TO OUR NEIGHBOURS THE CONCEPT OF ‘ZONING’

THE WOUNDED AND THE HEALING:THE RECOVERY OF THE TUGEN BOY WE RESCUED

ALARM AT DAWN: THE TUGEN LADY IN THE CLASHES AREA WAS IN LABOUR FOR THREE DAYS, AND COULD NOT ACCESS A DOCTOR. OUR CAR WAS SENT AND BROUGHT HER TO THE CLINIC

( TWINS BORN NEXT DAY;ONE SURVIVED)

10 MONTSH LATER (NOT BAD!) THE BUILDINGS AT LAND OF HOPE COMMUNITY PROJECT (born to make a creative and sustainable difference for our poorest neighbours) ARE NOW A REALITY

AND SOON – FUNDS PERMITTING- THE SPORT COMPLEX to promote PEACE THROUGH SPORTS (WHERE HOPEFUL YOUTH ALREADY GATHER TO PRACTICE WITH OUR NEW COACH) WILL BE DONE, TOO!

BUILDING THE RUNNING TRACK AT LAND OF HOPE WITH MARTIN KEINO CHECKING THE TRACK

Land of Hope: We could not have done any of this without the generous help of the tireless girls of Maisha Marefu.

 

THE RESEARCHERS OF THE ARCHAEOLOGY DEPARTMENT OF THE MUSEUM CAME TO INSPECT SOME OF THE SITES:VERY EXCITED AT THE POTENTIAL, AND PATRICK ALI AND I -DETERMINED TO UNVEIL THE SECRETS OF OL ARI NYIRO’S PAST, WENT EXPLORING, AND DISCOVERED NEW MORE MYSTERIOUS PROMISING SPOTS SCATTERED ALL OVER OUR PLATEAU.

THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL BURIAL SITE ON THE WAY TO WOODHENGE MIGRATORY BIRDS FLY WAYS: TITUS IMBOMA FROM THE NATIONAL MUSEUMS OF KENYA RELEASING A RINGED NUBIAN WOODPECKER YESTERDAY MORNING, AND OThER BIRDS CAUGHT IN THE MISTNET WHILE VISITING KIDS FROM THE FRENCH SCHOOL IN NAIROBI WATCH, IN AWE.

From the heart we thank you for your support, and send you love and blessings: think of us this Christmas. We shall be thinking of you.

Kuki, Sveva and Team in Ol ari Nyiro Laikipia Nature Conservancy in Northern Kenya On 12/12/2012


Children, Red Lilies and Soap for All

Dear Friends

after the gloom, something positive-at LAST, I owe you this!

 

Our feeding programme has gone on every week end: generous friends from Australia, having noted the condition of all the children, donated boxes and boxes of medicated soap that we have been distributing to our stations : Thank YOU Susie and Ian!!

Many neighbouring schools visited in the month of July and August, however challenged by the torrential rains we had been.

BUT Tree planting with rains really works, and several thousands trees were planted -with enthusiastic effort from our volunteers!- by schools and communities who received firewood (from the sustainable lelechwa half scorched by the March the fires) from us in exchange

and amazing Red Lilies- Kenya National Flower, Gloriosa Superba- have been sprouting everywhere in surprising abundance.

 

Of the elephants the neighbours children only hear the negative side. Mysterious giants that creep at night to destroy crops. Our new Ecologist Joseph Mwangi brought them to see the sad reality of the dreadful waste: elephant carcasses and bones.

 

NO NEW CASUALTIES in the month of July and August! almost impossible to believe. KWS been of tremendous support, helping our Patrols – and reacting to information immediately.

(Although we did find the two small calves of the poached Matriarchs in the end – or what was left of them: pitiful tusks, and a handful of bones and foot-nails).


YOU CAN HELP THE ELEPHANT NOW

Dear Friends of the elephants

PLEASE sign this appeal!

CLICK HERE FOR THE PETITION

It will take only a second of your time.

Help to stop this important sensitive large section of the market (National Geographic, October 2010 and kill the ivory trade)

No spiritual leader would want to encourage their followers to buy/ sell/use items that come from such pain, horror, fear and danger if they just made the link between the finished, polished object and the price of terror and blood that is has costed: we must help them to make this connection and ask them to make a public stand against any use of ivory for religious objects, and stop this desperate ongoing tragic slaughtering through the continent of Africa.

With thank you from the heart, on behalf of the elephants

Kuki


KUKI GALLMANN IN OL ari NYIRO, LAIIPIA NATURE CONSERVANCY, NORTHERN KENYA

Images such as these below, taken in Ol Ari Nyiro, should be long to a shameful past.

The Sadness of the Orphan…

…and deep gratitude, blessings and respect to:

HH THE DALAI LAMA,

YAO MING,

IFAW, the GPIW and all the many who have taken it on on their face book page.

.. and Doju, and Bianca for their total support to this cause

watch this as more join the campaign


KUKI SVEVA AND THE TEAM OF LAIKIPIA NATURE CONSERVANCY, NORTHERN KENYA

20th October 2012

Dear Friends,

… what do you do when in one of the most beautiful places on Earth-, the day is shattered by a radiocall- news reach you of armed raids by cattle rustlers, wounded people, thousands of livestock stolen, and before you know it scores of defenceless people, women and children, elders and cattle, climb the steep hills of the Rift, to find refuge at your boundary?

When endless vistas of hills become the background of terror and misery just up your fence, and no one knows what will happen next?

Such was the morning of the 15th of October 2012, five days ago, when, just back from my short Europe trip, overjoyed to meet my people and see my dogs and hear again the birds (I miss the birds songs most)… but still reluctantly home-confined, nursing my head, badly sore as a result of a ruinous fall from the staircase of my Nairobi house-…slipped backwards… am always in a hurry)-.

Patrol Sierra 6 radio report was followed by a barrage of phone calls, screaming voices, mooing of livestock in the background: hundreds of Tugen people were running away from the raids and the bottom of the valley and were reaching in waves our Repeater post.

So I got in touch with authorities and reported the incident, and sent a team and a load of food.

Sending food is always the first thing we do, here in Africa.

Slanting sun on blue hills, same as ever, silent crowd, no smiles. In every face the same uncomprending bewilderment.

 

When the sun was about to set, I was told of the boy.

The bullet had gone through his leg, they were carrying him up to us- a home- made stretcher of sacks on a miles long climb up harsh hills, far from danger, to perceived safety.

I was honoured by this trust from strangers, at this time.

When they reached us with him, it was dark. My team waited and Samuel and Mbuthia brought him to the mission hospital at Ol Moran-where he was treated and next day sent for Xrays at the clinic at Sipili.

He is sixteen

So what can we do? Is there hope?

We try…

Where, apart from the infinite innocence of animals and the wisdom of the trees- do we find hope in a world full of wars, greed, conflicts, monotony, news of unspeakable violence intentionally perpetrated by human beings to others.

Burning cars, collapsed buildings, sounds of gunfire, wounded carried away in stretchers, piles of dead covered in bloodied blankets…people running away screaming from column of black smoke…

It could be the same place; same despair on all those different faces of strangers, bewildered faces of desperation?

Explosions, suicide bombing, terrorist attacks, tribal clashes and raids.

Hand grenades lurched into Churches, fire opened at Friday prayers at Mosques, lone criminals shooting in supermarkets, arsons in schools incinerating children, hit and run madmen targeting unknown pedestrians…

Siria and Lebanon, Libya, Egypt, Iraq and Turkey, the Gaza strip, Guatemala, Mexico, Nigeria, Somalia, the Sudan, the DRC Congo,even South Africa…?

For us here, there is Land of Hope.

Sveva and I bought and donated this land for a community project: children, women, young men- the bored jobless ones who can pick up the gun for education, for workshops, to teach the alternative.

At Land of Hope the buildings for a nursery and vocational centre, the kitchen, are coming along and almost finished, with our friends of Maisha Merefu’s Support.

… and now the sports fields!!

We have cleared the fields. Since two months Silas, our new sports coach, has been working with scores of local Pokot and Turkana women from the area to create by hand the running track.

Every Saturday already-and it is far from done!- over fourty youth gather, ready to run, jump, play.

We shall have foot ball pitches, long jump and volley ball, simple things, excitement and possibility. Follow this as it develops!

It will work.

A drop in an Ocean. But the drop is the ocean.

Thank you for love, support and friendship

THANK YOU!

We wish to thank the Kenya Red Cross for supply of maize for our tribal neighbours

 


Kuki Gets Award

6th October 2012

KENYAN CONSERVATIONIST AWARDED THE XXXI INTERNATIONAL PREMIO MASI 

INTERNATIONAL MASI GROSSO D’ORO VENEZIANO 2012 goes to KUKI GALLMANN

Her native Italy has recognised the achievement of a well known Kenyan personality in the world of conservation and philanthropy.

The thirty first edition of  this prestigious award  established thirty one years ago in Verona, Italy by Fondazione Masi has seen the unanimous nomination of  Italian born Kenya citizen, Kuki Gallmann, a   respected  world personality, author, poet  conservationist and environmental activist, who moved to Kenya from her native Italy  over 40 years ago.

This Award is  traditionally given to an international personality whose work has helped civil progress, friendship and fraternity, and the establishment of peace amongst the peoples of the world.

MOTIVATION:

” For her courageous and ongoing commitment to the preservation of the environment, wildlife and general ecosystem of Africa, in pursuit of the harmonious coexistence between people, animals and nature The  INTERNATIONAL MASI GROSSO D’ORO VENEZIANO goes to KUKI GALLMANN”.

In her acceptance speech she accepted the award on behalf of those who made any achievement possible:

the   inspiring memory of her late Son and Husband, her daughter, the staff and team of the Gallmann Memorial Foundation in Ol ari Nyiro, Laikipia Nature Conservancy, and her neighbours.

The   stage of the  Teatro Filarmonico of Verona, where the awards presentation took place, was taken over by Kuki’s fans on the evening of 29th September.

The author is extremely popular in  her native Italy.

Thousands of  Italians have visited Kenya to experience first-hand the places she describes in her books.

Kuki  is the recipient of many international awards for her work in Kenya.

She is  also the Founder of the Laikipia Highlands Games-Sports for Peace-whose last edition, on 22nd September 2012, saw Pokomo and Orma youth – flown in by The Gallmann Memorial Foundation especially  from the  embattled Tana Delta-,  peacefully compete in sports.

The Laikipia Highlands Games won for Kenya the 2009 Sports for Peace Event of the Year, in Monaco, France.

The Gallmann Memorial Foundation was established as a memorial to her late husband and son who both are buried in Laikipia.

Kuki, who was accompanied to Italy by her daughter Sveva-Makena,  lives in Ol ari Nyiro, in Laikipia West, which she has transformed into a Nature Conservancy dedicated to education, environment conservation and community service. ”

Click here to visit the award website (UNEP/AEWA)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFa39E-75o8

In Italy

LINKS at : 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFa39E-75o8&feature=youtube gdata player


And White Flags Flew in a Pure Blue Sky

1st October 2012

Dear Friends

This year, the flags were white.

The Nursery children who sang the national Anthem wore white shirts and flew white flags inscribed- by Bianca- with the word ‘AMANI’

The FIFTH EDITION of the Laikipia Highlands Games, Sports for Peace, celebrated International Peace Day and saw a crescendo of excitement and an unprecedented amount of participants across the tribal divide.

For one week the heavy rains that ad made havoc our roads had subsided, the dark clouds that had been looming up to the day before had vanished -and, after weeks of floods, magic worked and sun shone on the dazzling, diverse crowd

The event was opened by tribal prayers for peace by a respected Orma Leader-Hussein Dado- who we flew in from the embattled Tana Delta, with several young Orma and their opponents, representatives of the Pokomo people, to offer traditional peace prayers.

In recent days these two tribes have been involved in tragic, and politically motivated disputes.

Turkana, Illchamus,Samburu, Pokot and Nandi Elders followed, and interfaith Prayers for Peace by the Sheik Mohamed of the Jamia Mosque, father Giacomo from St Mark Catholic Parish of Ol Moran, and the Ambassador of the Republic Of Israel, Gil Askel who read from the Torah the very moving Jewish Peace prayer.

THE CHILDREN WORE WHITE. The Initial parade was led by our Athletes and the team of builders who worked for months to prepare the ground, the stand, the campsite and kiosks, and the restaurant areas.

Sveva and Walter painted The Pokot Boys Peace Team that enthralled us with dance and songs. The Jua Kali street band by the African Medical Research Foundation, and the amazing Sarakasi Acrobats

The Turkana won the Tribal Games… and Moran race in full swing with a barefoot Pokot warrior followed by a Samburu about to overtake a Maasai in red socks/ the Orma Boy runs

The Samburu Moran get ready for Tug of Peace

Cricket with the Maasai Our Joshua!!!

My Makena! … and the Pokomo warrior got his award!!!

 

The day before I went to greet the Orma and Pokomo Elders and Youth we had flown in especially from the embattled Tana River Delta, where the two tribes are at this time involved in bloody politically-motivated pre-election clashes.

It was a reunion with my old friend, Orma leader Hussein Dado, formerly Ambassador to Namibia. The Pokomo and Orma wore Blue their traditional colour and brought a ceremonial spear .

They were amazed by being in a plane, and coming from area of Kenya suffering a desperate drought, stunned by the green tall grass.

From Laikipia Nature Conservancy we send love and peaceful thoughts

Kuki, Sveva and the Team of the Laikipia Highlands Games 2012

On 22 September 2012

We thank

All photo credit above :

Amedeo Buonajuti
and:

Sansi Dietz

Nigel Croft Adams


Children, Red Lilies and Soap for All

26th August 2012

Dear Friends

after the gloom, something positive-at LAST, I owe you this!

Our feeding programme has gone on every week end: generous friends from Australia, having noted the condition of all the children, donated boxes and boxes of medicated soap that we have been distributing to our stations :Thank YOU Susie and Ian!!

Many neighbouring schools visited in the month of July and August, however challenged by the torrential rains we had been.

BUT Tree planting with rains really works, and several thousands trees were planted -with enthusiastic effort from our volunteers!- by schools and communities who received firewood (from the sustainable lelechwa half scorched by the March the fires) from us in exchange-

 


And Lions Fed on the Elephant Matriarch

7th July 2012

Dear friends,

The wounded  Elephant matriarch  came to stand close to the gate of  the Wilderness Centre at mid morning on July 2.

Staff called me.

With  our team, and the Kws patrol- I went to look.

A large wound on her back -crusted with blood-  where the bullet had entered her  hide.

Her back legs swollen – she could hardly move. She stood there, large and alone, in the sun.Was she silently asking for help?

Her  injury serious, but  still tried to find the vets:  every life counts in this dreadful scenario, the ongoing -Africa/wide-  tragic elephant holocaust.

It was one of those cursed days when  cell phone reception was crazy – impossible to get a call through.

When I  managed at last, it was past mid  afternoon: too late for the plane.

We planned dawn next morning and my Centre patrol spent the  moonlit night with the Matriarch-  lest the poachers found her first.

Heavy  heart   tired  heart.

Nothing to say. No end to the slaughter.

At dawn,  my phone rang:

”  Mama, Ndofu nakufa,” said  Njeru: “Pole.”

She was dead.

Plane, vet cancelled.

With a desperate feeling of deja’ vue I went to say yet  another farewell.

She was a large Mother- 35 years or so,  a matriarch, and there was something…  I bent to check… Her udders were full of milk

She was a large Mother- 35 years or so, a matriarch, and there was something...

I bent to check… Her udders were full of milk. A LACTATING Matriarch!! The leader of her family!

A LACTATING Matriarch!! The leader of her family!

Somewhere  amongst the Lelechwa    shrubs, a  terrified elephant calf?

A dead calf found by Hyena?

The tusks were removed.

Out of 38 elephants in 2012, for 26 we arrived before the poachers.

Miserable satisfaction.

The pointless waste.

We set the infrared camera -to record the story of the AFTER- high on a tree….NOT HIGH ENOUGH!!

It was the lions’ turn.

…Will get another camera, in time.


The Last Elephants and Life Goes on

20th June 2012

Dear Friends,

For the last two nights the lions were feeding.

For the last two days I heard them, their lusty close presence filling the darkness as I tossed in my bed trying to catch some elusive sleep before dawn.

Their contented growls were so close as they moved down along the path from Paolo’s dam- that they drowned the opera music loud in my sitting room and my dogs all stood up and grouped around me, hair raised on their back, barking their monotonous lion alarm bark.

I stopped, my pen in mid air, half way through the editing of Chapter 51. The second last chapter of my last book.

The night smelt of fresh rain as I walked out in the garden all the way to the Graves where a damp fire bravely flared with orange sparks below the two fever trees.

The sounds were stronger and vibrant of life.

But I knew.

And next night, I heard the Hyena.

Their contented laughter of anticipation echoed from the hills as they converged towards the kati kati tank, and my dogs now ran to stand out on the lawn, looking out, silent.

In the morning of Friday 16th June, at 7.am Kuti patrol found the elephant.

With a catch in my troath, I went to check, clutching my Gps .

Few hundred metres from my house, next to the track, in thick bush, her last refuge.

A large female, of 30/35, casualty no 31, had died of her wounds.Many years left to breed ahead of her.

An orgy of flies everywhere.

The tusks long and thin, encrusted with blood.

A worthy price for the poachers. But we got them first.

The lions had licked her face clean, the hyena had crunched the long bones, her gutted stomach spread out on the grass, like an overripe rotten fruit, but most was still there.

The indignity.

Half an hour later, as I was boarding the plane which would carry me to Nairobi and the Funeral of my departed Friend, came the second message:

Our driver Chelule had found another elephant, a young male of perhaps 15, dead in the middle of the main road to Kuti. The Hyena had found him, too.

CASUALTY NO 32.

Emaciated and desperately thin, he had just collapsed to die.

The skin hung flabby from his young legs that had not been fast enough, when the greedy, cruel poachers from next door, known people, had sprayed bullets at random on the herds, killing, maiming, uncaring and unconcerned.

This madness must stop.

When will it stop?

When?

Will we stand by allowing this slaughter to go on, guilty of inaction, of postponing, of turning our head to the other side?

Not me. Not us.

We are involving the community, creating awareness, employing wildlife community scouts, building new look outs along the sensitive Rift Valley boundaries, training new rangers with KWS help:

But the Traders are safe in their shops and offices. They offer a money incentive that the poachers cannot resist and that we cannot match.

The traders are protected. The traders think they are safe.

The traders are laughing at us.

The traders are known.

They are the enemy.Their time is up.

I look down now, from my office at Kuti at Paolo, at Emanuele’s graves, at the trees they have become, part of this place, for ever, as one day I shall be.

I vowed on those graves to look after Ol ari Nyiro- at any cost.I will.

The grass is growing, the grass is green.

I shall NEVER give up.

Kuki, Sveva and Team

In Laikipia Nature Conservancy


Farewell a Friend and a Gentleman

18th June 2012

Dear Friends,

There are tragic moments in a life that remain deeply impressed in our memory and our heart, when sudden bad news, or an extraordinary event occur that intrudes deeply in the peace of our day and it seems that things will never be the same again.

And even years and years later, recalling that moment, one is caught by the same emotion. One remember exactly what one was doing when the news came, and when their finality suddenly changed the course of things.

One such time for me was the morning of Sunday, June 10th 2012.

I was driving back home from the Centre of Origin at Makena’s Hills, down slopes covered in green, when two things happened contemporarily: the sound of an sms that had reached my cell phone, and at the same time the cell phone rang.

As I read the message, I replied the call, and the same news came, in writing and through the voice of a journalist friend.

A helicopter had crashed soon after take off bursting into flames, killing all on board. It seemed that one of the passengers was the Minister of Internal Security, my old Friend Professor George Saitoti.

One minute later his office confirmed it was true.

Rivers of articles have been written since and the mystery of the accident is still being investigated at this time: but I could not let this pass without a quick update and a respectful and fond thought to His memory.

Strangely enough I had received two calls from him the former week: one for my birthday, on June 1st, Madaraka Day in Kenya.

And one only a few days before: the tragedy of poaching and the threat of insecurity in West Laikipia was deeply preoccupying him.

At that time we had lost 30 elephants to unpunished poachers, in 2012.

He was about to go to Mombasa for a Peace gathering, and we planned to meet on Thursday, the 14th June, at an Italian restaurant called Mediterraneo, in the United Nations Avenue in Gigiri, and discuss a plan of action against the traders and poachers menace, to be executed in conjunction with the KWS.

It had been ascertained that the large profits from the ivory and rhino horn smuggling, were benefiting a Muslim extremist group linked to Al Quaeda, the terrorist Al Shaabab in next door Somalia, with which Kenya is at war at present.

There was no lunch, Helas, on Thursday: on Friday I flew down to His Memorial Service and on Saturday drove to his farm for the final farewell.

As I stood next to the open grave, clutching a handful of earth to throw on his coffin, I thought of how singular had been our friendship, characterised by mutual respect and shared interests, and going back many years, to His days in Government and as Education Minister so keen to have Environmental Education and Cultural Studies- that the 4 Generation project of Sveva was promoting- introduced in the Kenya curriculum- so youth would have to learn what makes Kenya special, its major assets.

He came to my rescue in the 2009 poaching tragic days, when I had been attacked by poachers in retaliation for my stand against them and my hand fractured, and when, soon later, the plane I had flown in had been shot at.

He had been a solid ally, a gentleman, a moderate man who never spoke ill of anyone, a deeply religious man who helped the underprivileged, and despite the many demands of his job, never forgot his friends.

He was a man of culture, and an intellectual, perceptive, balanced, who loved Classical Music, Italian food and books, and the peace and silence of the open spaces of Laikipia.

To me he was a genuine friend beyond politics, and one I will always deeply miss.

There is a famous quote that has survived him and has been broadcast again and again on Tv and radio since he passed:

“THERE COMES A TIME WHEN A COUNTRY HAS TO BE PUT ABOVE AN INDIVIDUAL.”

Listening to the speeches from Presidents and Ministers, who all came to His service, I noticed in all a genuine sense of regret and bewilderment at this sudden loss of a decent man of peace,- one shared sentiment that created a common denominator across the vicious pre-election politics which sees them now engaged in endless differences.

Dear George this is your legacy:

May your example guide the new leaders to find common grounds and set aside the cheap politics of incitement, and short term personal political ambitions in favour of long lasting peace and prosperity for this country and its people.

I bless and treasure the memory of your friendship and may God rest in peace your soul, until we all meet again.

Fare well.

Safari Ngema

Kuki

In Laikipia Nature Conservancy

Farewell a Friend and a Gentleman

Makena’s Hills, Centre of Origin:the last visit of Professor George Saitoti, November 2012


Elephants, Firewood and the Rare Stone Fly

31st May 2012

Dear Friends,

how I wish I could tell you the elephant drama has subsided, but sadly the tragedy is ongoing.

This morning-31st May 2012- Patrol Sierra 4 found elephant casualty no. 29 for 2012 in Laikipia Nature Conservancy. A young male.

The new thing is that poachers use silent spears-often poisoned- to creep up to a small herd and kill or wound.

They then follow the spoor and it is a quick gunshot soon lost in the wind, and tusks immediately removed. The size is smaller and smaller since all the large males, all the large matriarchs have gone from this part of Laikipia: young females, juvenile males, make up the small scared herds.

Tough times for us up here:

Days spent on the alert – ears strained to detect a gun shot.

Nights spent on the alert -with the rising moon- my dogs asleep across my door, tossing in my bed, radio handset on, mobile phone on, dreading yet another call.

Informers call at any time -1am 3.20 am 6.15 am just last night- reporting boda boda bikes on bush tracks, shady canters arriving to remote outposts and leaving in the protection of darkness with dubious cargo: charcoal bags concealing tusks, maize sacks concealing weapons- and like a weary exchange operator I pass news on in hope of success.

Small successes: yes, one man caught red handed: the pitiful tusks 1 kg each: they kill the babies.
or someone leaks a warning, too late to catch the bastards…

Ridiculous fines- still obsolete legislation- take into no account that a death is a death;that even the murderer of a child elephant who will never grow to sire of bear calves-tomorrow herds-deserves a deterrent punishment.

…and now, increasingly, witchcraft creeps in, as if from an obscure, different era: carcasses are found with grisly mutilations so that the witch woman can make obscene charms the poacher will wear round his neck- to be invisible.

Lions are fat and the hyena laugh from the hills.

But we must overcome: I find solace in the friendship of birds and in the satisfaction of knowing that I have done my best to keep Eden.

Despite the fires, despite the poaching, our by- annual Biodiversity Survey in partnership with the National Museums of Kenya with Victor Wasonga and his team(Entomology, Ornithology, Herpethology ), has found stunning results: 52 new species were recorded. This included 1 Amphibian, 2 birds, and 49 invertebrates (19 terrestrial beetles, 5 butterflies-!!-, 4 aquatic bugs, 3 fresh water snails, 3 dragonflies,3 aquatic may flies, and 2 flies).

The small things make a LARGE difference to biodiversity.

From the report:

“…The current study also presents key finding for Conservation. The presence of the near threatened Denham Bustard and of four birds classified as forest specialists are indicative of an intact indigenous forest;the Eastern Crown grooved bull frog, may just be a representative of the Eastern most relict population, since this is a western Kenya species with previous records only reaching the western edge of the Rift Valley…”

… and

RARE stone fly (Neoperla Cunensis) found in the Mukutan Gorge.

“This water insect- a macro invertebrate- is a highly sensitive and unique indicator of a perfect unpolluted and pristine aquatic ecosystem free of negative human influence, and practically does not exist anymore. Entomologist Morris Mutua from Museum had never seen one before. Last year country-wide biodiversity survey did not reveal any! Last time recorded in Kenya by Museums was in Kakamega Forest, in 1980…..!!”

Well!!

The Botanical survey is ongoing now-watch this.

Sveva came back to help:

Happiness. At last.

With rains, plants start to sprout again:

To turn a tragedy into an opportunity for my firewood -needy neighbours, I invited the neighbours women to cut for one week – whatever they could carry-…. and, wow, 35 tons went to the community- and all delighted!

At Land of Hope the roof is been set. Plan are afoot for building a track for athletics training

It rained. Green grass is growing-with flowers- from the charcoaled ashes left by arsons, and with new flowers the bees have come back… to my sitting room!

and tomorrow…tomorrow – June 1st, Madaraka Day- I shall feed the children:

Because… – it is my birthday!

Think of me : my birthday wish is Peace for the Elephants.

With love and blessings to you all,
Kuki, Sveva and Team
From Laikipia Nature Conservancy


The Good Fire and the Long Month of March

10th May 2012

Dear Friends,

This update, here below, was due to go to you all when the Fires and- ongoing- poaching drama began to unfold.

Here for you now, overdue and something uplifting- that I think we owe you before next wave of harrowing poaching news-ready to go too.

There was time of joy, motivation, the triumph of creativity and hard work.We treasure this and its glow encouraged us in the trying challenges of the fires and the poaching, as we drew and will draw strength and motivation from these memories for years to come.

With love and blessings to you all,

Kuki, Sveva and Team

20th March 2012

Dear Friends,

The months of February and March were taken over by a fever of positive activities here at the Conservancy, as we prepared to host the much anticipated 10th Annniversary Gathering of the GPIW-the Global Peace Initiative of Women- of which I am a founder member.

The Gathering would be opened and the United Nations in Nairobi and would be followed by several days meetings and prayers and workshops at the Conservancy. The participants were spiritual leaders from across religions, and ethnicity, coming from all over the world.

The culmination of this would be a traditional sacred Homa Fire and Water Ceremony by the Shinnyo En Buddhist group from Japan.

The major and moving inner message of this ceremony is to wake the realisation of unity and harmony between all living beings and to foster healing.

We were deeply honoured to host the Shinnyo en Head Priest, Her Holiness Shinso Ito who stayed at the Mukutan Retreat for the period of the ceremony.

Sveva, with her professional background in Human Sciences and Community theatre, was given the responsibility to produce and direct the event.

She put together an extraordinary team of professionals – teachers, visual, performing and Installation artists, coreographers, musicians and composers from Kenya and around the world, – and she managed to weave into the ceremony seamlessly a large African component- tribal youth, School children, women, and our Pokot Youth Peace team- who all benefited, and were just amazing.

The 4th of March was a triumph of imagination and spirituality. In the heart of Africa, in the middle of nowhere, a world class event of deep significance was performed, through the hard work, creativity, cooperation and imagination of hundreds.

It was streamed live worldwide to millions, and can be still be watched at Utube. See below link.

Sveva and I are deeply grateful to the new special Friends of the Shinnyo En, for their grace, generosity and support; to our team at Laikipia Nature Conservancy and our community, who worked tirelessly for months to make this happen.To the GPIW for having come to the Great Rift valley of Kenya for this significant gathering.

The photos below tell their tale.

With love and hopes of good things to come

Kuki, Sveva and the team of Laikipia Nature Conservancy

with our tireless team we built a theatre and stages were erected on our big lake.

the artists of Wild Works /the Eden project built the Parinirvana Buddha- Reclining Buddha- symbol of the Buddha at the last stages of life, just as he was about to reach enlightenment.

All was ready

Sveva and I met Her Holiness

…and the Great day came.

A meeting of two worlds: The Pokot Women of Tebelekwa meet the Japanese Shinnyo En Priests and her Holiness on arrival

The Illchamus

and the Samburu and Turkana arrive.The Sacred Homa fire is lit.

the Pokot Youth Peace team and their ritual dances.

the slums dancers and the elephant

The boat with our dreams and wishes, sails out in the night and the Buddhist Priests turn to follow it with their prayers

SHE MADE IT!!!!

I am proud of my daughter…

and am a friend of the birds

(… my favourite starling shares my breakfast at Kuti)

the UN GPIW opening

Link: http://www.media-server.com/m/p/8nhtau2u

We thank and give credit for their beautiful photographs:

  • Mia Collis
  • Anne Powys
  • Marieke Ruberti

 


The Last Day of the Elephant Female

23rd April 2012

Dear Friends,

In a morning of pale sun after a night of light drizzle Patrol Fuku 1 who had been monitoring daily the elephant female we had treated, reported she had fallen in the night and could no get up.

With a sense of foreboding I drove there and followed the ranger to find her.

She lay in a thicket. Trashing around in the attempt to stand up, one leg was stuck up a tree. I could stand a few feet from her. I watched her carefully, as she watched me. The front right leg still hideously swollen- younger than I thought, small adders :she had not yet calved. And now no more chances.

Insect buzzed, birds called, a normal day.

Surreal: a still alive African elephant, fearful, mighty, impossible to tame? I saw only a creature in pain, hurt by greed and cruelty, helpless, at the mercy of our whim. With love and shame, I reached out to touch her. Her open eye rotated focusing on me, staring wildly, inflamed, terrified, watching me as I watched her.

I sent to my car for my yellow shawl to shelter her eye from the light. She twirled it up in her trunk – soft and supple like the arm of a child- and it lay discarded in the mud.

I called the KWS vets: very helpful, concerned, but Sunday, would take them a day to sort out a chopper: too late I knew-an elephant cannot lay down long-, and pointless anyway.They had tried their best: if the antibiotic had not acted by now, nothing more they could do: broken front leg infected by arrow? by bullet? Doomed.

I knew the decision would have to be mine.

It started to rain.

I sat in silence with the dying helpless elephant female. Her deep rumble like the breath of the African earth.

She knew I was there and a strange stirring link was formed in those hours:I tried with all myself to bridge worlds without words, I told her my love and my friendship, my solidarity and my sadness and my pain and my shame at being human.I let her feel that she was not alone and I would help her.

Night would bring the Hyena and lions would find her.They would tear into her, stomach first, eat her when still alive.

Her death would be horrible, violent, slow. I had to spare her this. It was up to me.

The rangers had been brought tea and food.

They sat hushed, in the shade of a bush, waiting for the decision I would take. There could only be one – we all knew. Play God. How dared I?

Heart breaking heart broken. I phoned my warden, I told him. He agreed.

I chose the friend who I knew was the most competent to do what had to be done. He flew in. I was grateful.

One shot. It was over.

In the mud my yellow scarf was soaked in blood. A long way from the London shop where I had bought it-a life time ago.
Her long lashed yellow eye stared unseeing. She was beautiful.

“Mungu of the elephant will take care of her now”, said Merino.

Is there a resting place, where the elephants go, endless pastures safe from the intrusion of humans, mighty forests with ripe fruits and lakes of fresh waters where to play undisturbed?

Ol ari Nyiro was once, just yesterday, the Shangri La of the elephant. Will it again be? Is there no end to the raping of the wild?

Leaving the rangers to remove the tusks, I turned and walked to my car, feeling I had aged ten years.

Kuki and team,
in Ol ari Nyiro
Laikipia Nature Conservancy


NOT in time to save the Elephant Females

18th April 2012

Dear Friends,

Elephant update

At this time- followed continuously by two of our rangers during the day- and by our prayers in the long moonless night when following is impossible- the elephant female we treated seems to gain strength- eats and drinks and the infection is subsiding, although she still cannot put down her leg, and is and will be very vulnerable for a long time –

And then…:

The early afternoon of the 16th of April at 3.42 pm, the silence and birds chatter of an area below the Makena’s Hill Centre of Origin was shattered by 14 gun shots in fast sequence.

Radio went mad and I immediately deployed three patrols by vehicle to the area, which were joined by the KWS.

The area is a valley that has not been reached by the fires ; there is still grass and vegetation and naturally wildlife concentrate there.

Our men were not fast enough.

In a glade lay a very young female-casualty no. 23- her face hacked off by the poachers axe.

Tracks of three poachers were followed in high grass and lost down the valley’s ravines when darkness fell.

All night I worked with my contacts- information flocking in from many posts.

Traders are the same. Merchants of Death. Known, safe. Too clever to be caught red handed… Unless… We are working on this.

In the morning of 17th Patrols Fukuresumed the search-14 bullets too many for ONE elephant.

Elephant female casualty 24 lay not that far from her friend, still with her pitiful small tusks, her eyes open and surprised in death.

The smell of fresh hey, buzzing flies, few birds calling and singing cicadas.

Not yet twenty years old- and like her friend not yet given birth.

We are past anger past tears. We wonder what next.

This photo sent by my friend Doju seems to come from another planet:

.. And when people ask me ‘WHY?’ The answer is in our geography :

in the fact that we protect the elephant who have no more space where to go.

There are too many idle youth, too many greedy crooks and too many weapons; too many ignorant buyers who keep alive a shameful trade.

The answer hides in the darkest corner of the heart of humanity.

With love and thank you for your love and messages of encouragement and I hope hope hope HOPE and pray next will be a happier update.

with a tired and tight heart,
Kuki, Sveva and the GREAT team of Laikipia Nature Conservancy.

Ps: in the meantime the National Museums team- here for one of our biannual biodiversity surveys- has found a new frog and a new type of butterfly in our protected forest.


Rescuing the Elephant Female

15th April 2012

Dear Friends

our patrol Fuku 1 with Merino Lenawasae and Mates spent all the night in the bush, with the wounded elephant female, despite the pouring rain.

Late morning a large team of the KWS arrived by cars, with their vets. Had earlier released the plane.
I was waiting for them with my team.The following photos tell the story.

The Elephant Female was in thick bush. I heard her scream.

Guided our team the KWS Vets went to find her

and darted her

I walked to the spot where she had fallen, carrying a cloth to cover her eye. Heart in my mouth- a pounding heart- I reached a small glade.She lay there.

She was so big so quiet so thin. She looked dead! But a gust of air rumbled out of her trunk like an earth thunder.
Her skin was so warm below my hand. Her tusk so smooth. Too small to almost have cost her her life.

Her large brown eye stared at me, unseeing.

Such pain, such shame.

Terribly dehydrated, not able to move close to water, her eyes were red and inflamed. She was treated.

But… she had fallen on the wounded leg that was hideously swollen and we needed to turn her over!

Hauling the elephant!…Until she fell on the left side.

Too swollen to see if leg broken and where, but possibly a poisoned arrow.

Treated with massive doses of antibiotics, and no more could be done, but she is very weak very skinny very hungry and we know she is far from being out of danger.

I left the Fuku 1 rangers with her.

On way home just before sunset, Patrol Faro 3 reported more shooting in the area of the dam Nyeusi-where they had spotted earlier a small herd of elephants…no end to this.

I immediately sent our car, with another patrol and the KWS rangers.

They followed tracks until a welcome storm of rain and darkness stopped the search that continued all day to day.

This morning patrol reported the elephant female had not moved all night and seemed in great pain.

No food nor water in the area where she was, dry lelechwa next to the burnt site.Thick thick thick dry bush.

I gathered all my house team, and we carried ten bales of hey, a bucket of nutritious molasses to pour over, mineral salt and tanks and tanks of water to fill half drum. I could see just her tusks, in the lelechwa thicket a few metres away, wary, silent. Our patrol was left to guard her all day.

Dark now. So far she has not eaten, nor drunk. Lets hope this changes in the night.

Today no rain.Tomorrow we keep monitoring her, and searching for another wounded elephant.

Keep praying for the elephant female. And for us.

Kuki and team,
From Ol ari Nyiro, Laikipia Nature Conservancy

THANK YOU

PS. We would like to express our gratitude to the Kenya Wildlife Services team, who came to our help, and in particular to the very professional unit of the vets led by Dr.Mulandi, and the section with Salim and Langat; and to our area Warden Mr. Aduda, Senior Warden Laikipia Aggrey Maumo, and Col. Kipkoech fro their cooperation and support.

(I shall not forget the exceptional dedication of our rangers, and in particular Merino Lenawase, Peter Ibeyo, Moses Lendorope, Mates Lelendai, who did not leave the elephant. She is still alive because you found her and you cared.

Mungu ya Kubariki.


Pray for the Elephant Female a Night of Rain

13th April 2012

Dear Friends

An update.

Two more fires were set in the night of Wednesday on our northern boundary, next to the Luoniek dam, that we spotted immediately- who sleeps?- I drove straight there with my house team and Kuti and Sierra 2 rangers patrols and managed to put it off in few hours.
Reluctant experts in fire fighting we all are by now…next morning I sent the tractor trying to cut more firebreaks along the paths.

And…

yesterday it started to rain! And rain. And RAIN! Today too. It looks as if the Long Rains have arrived at last. Relief.

Yesterday-12th April- was my son Emanuele’s 29th anniversary.

I took the afternoon off to sit at his grave and cover it with flowers and at night played his music, Bolero, to the silent stars, and the frogs and night creatures listened with me- and him. Lions roared.

Never forget.

And today patrol Fuku 1 found the elephant.

It is an adult young elephant female who walks in great pain in the thick lelechwa not so far from centre.
The front leg is hideously swollen where the bullet has hit her. She cannot put it down and she limps painfully, moving very slowly.

As I frantically called the KWS vets- all held up in emergencies- and tried to secure a plane to pick them up- which has been standing by in Nanyuki now since noon- patrol Fuku 1 was instructed not to leave the elephant.

Food and hot tea and raincoats were sent to themafter sunset, and they are spending the night in the bush, with the elephant, to protect her and prevent the poacher to creep up to her with his silent spear and finish her off.

The wound seems very bad, but we are trying all we can, and I hope the vet may manage to be released by early morning and picked up in time.

We hope we hope we hope there is still time, still a chance, that it will not be too late, and that she will not become elephant casualty 23.

Yes. 22 carcasses found by now in 2012 since January, in Ol ari Nyiro, those peaceful giants for whom we have been too late- just the meager satisfaction of at least getting the tusks before the tugs.

It is an UNBEARABLE pointless waste, – I feel miserable – but I salute my rangers. Brave, kind, loyal, tireless.

There were nine young lions tonight as I drove back, sitting on the side of the track; they watched me curious and without fear.

Tomorrow morning like every day my friends the starlings will fly from the acacia and wilI eat from my hand.

I have chosen Africa.

From the field

Kuki,
In Ol ari Nyiro
Laikipia Nature Conservancy

… Pray for the Elephant tonight


Update: Please do keep praying…: agony goes on

9th April 2012

My dear special friends,

Four more fires on 6th April- the last of which we put physically out at midnight with our valiant team and Italian friends who have come all the way from Italy in solidarity.

On 5th the minister of Wildlife had visited by helicopter to check on the fires and sympathise with the tragedy of poaching. He had agreed to fast forward and amendment of the law to increase sentences for wildlife offences.

We hope the members of Parliament will see the importance of approving this speedily.

… and then…

Elephant no 20 – poached in 2012- found on Saturday 7th. Ivory retrieved.

Elephant no 21 found just now, Monday 9th, a young female, in area where last fires were set. Ivory retrieved.

Poachers responsible for most killings were reported by informers heading this way early this am;we are on high alert.

We thank you for your support and prayers at this dreadful time, and pray for more rain: nothing here yet, since that first blessed shower in answer to your prayers that allowed some green grass to sprout from the ashes, a faint message of hope and life.

Sadly and with a tight heart,
Kuki

P.S. Yesterday, Easter, we fed the children

A tiny shoot, unfolding in the charcoal

 


RAIN!RAIN!!!!!!!RAIN AT LAST!

3rd April 2012

Dear friends who care,

From Japan to Australia, from India to Thailand, from America to Europe, in temples and Ashrams, in mosques and Synagogues, in churches and cathedrals, in forests and cities, you all prayed for rain to fall in this corner of Africa.
Your prayers were answered at last when heavy showers began falling today in the southern part of the conservancy.
Early morning clouds at last opened and it RAINED.

It rained ONLY on ALL the burnt areas.

Not at Kuti where I am, or centre.

Let’s pray it continues!

I am going to personally check now and revert.

With gratitude and blessings from the heart to you all

Kuki, Sveva and the Team
in Laikipia Nature Conservancy


Arson Update and the Elephant Girl

31st March 2012

Dear Friends who care,

Yesterday afternoon after 8 harrowing days-and nights, the tireless team put off the last flaming stumps at Boma ya Nyama salt lick. No new fires to-date.

As you are aware, however, in Laikipia Nature Conservancy we have been fighting the most dreadful- deliberately set- fires for 8 harrowing days in a row. Since it is arson, we are not complacent and know this may start again any time and we are watching out. The fires were set cunningly for maximum damage, and intermittently, beginning morning of last Friday.

Fuelled by high winds they went through dry Lelechwa at mad gallop soon taking over all the central part of the conservancy, jumping roads and valleys, climbing the magical hills, surrounding dams, and destroying all in their wake.

Other fires were set on the Southwest and North East and the last I detected Friday night myself, driving home after a very long day in the field; managed to reach it within minutes, getting quickly helpers on the way, and we put it out in two hours- my aching old arms brandishing branches to beat the flames- or it would have swallowed our Centre bandas and offices during the night.

The suspects are a network of poachers led by a notorious tug, protected by witchcraft, who was wounded by one of our patrol commanders in a daylight exchange of fire last December, over a fresh elephant carcass, the tusks of which we managed to grab before them. He has been alerted that we are after him and has vowed to destroy us.

He is bent on revenge and- having wounded one of our rangers in January- he has now done a top job of setting us on fire.

Any way, we so far managed to put everything out, having lost a conservative 45,000 / 50,000- yes you read correctly- acres but, miraculously, saving all buildings.

One week old tuskless elephant carcass was found amongst burning Lelechwa, putting the number for this year to… 19!!!and counting.

(However we managed to find the carcasses first, and got, for the KWS, the tusks of 13 of these…a fact that infuriated the poachers!)

On Wednesday 28th as I was monitoring fires on the Southern end sweeping through Bogani ya Kurumakini, a radio message urged me to stop the car, in time to clearly detect- metres from me- the last 5 shots out of 11 shots of Ak and G3- by 4 poachers ( found to be same ones) pursuing in thick bush a small herd of screaming elephants escaping the fire- a scene from hell.

Elephant poaching is out of control:

On the 19th-my husband Paolo 32nd death anniversary- the Rangers on night duty at my house at Kuti, heard at dawn the agonising laments of a wild animal.

They found a young elephant female, very close to my garden; she was wounded, a suppurating bullet wound through the shoulder.She was walking very slowly, crying, like a human being. I called the KWS vets in the hope that something could be done.But only minutes later, it was over: with a last cry, she knelt through the bush and died there.

I went to see her.The flies had not yet found her. The smell was herby, fresh. A small hole on her shoulder, a week old wound through her lungs. Her eyes, open, mildly surprised, with her long black lashes and her small soft trunk curled out in front of her. May be 10 years old. She only had one small thin tusk, just over one kg.The waste, the pointless tragic waste. My hand on her still warm skin, I could not keep back my tears.
I asked her to forgive, even If I could not.

Strangely, even the lions respected her young carcass, and over ten days later only the blue bottles have feasted on her body.

It has been a tough time, my friends. But there is always some light, somewhere. Eyes burning from the smoke, I found a small blue flower that had escaped somewhat the flames.

In the depth of despair and exhaustion, when all seemed lost, when the sun of noon was obscured by columns of pungent sooth, and we kept cooking and carrying water and food to the firefighters team, choking in acrid smoke, and the night I kept vigil at Makena’s Hills, wrapped in my Samburu blanket in the wind, watching with a sinking heart the flames on the hillsides devouring one tree after the other and all the small lives they protected- we found strength and hope in the extraordinary moral support of our friends.

To you all, the specials friends of the Shinnyo en,- Martin, Chika, Atsushi, and all- who called me daily from Tokyo and Europe with loving concern and true friendship and to send me Her Holiness special prayers; and to the Brothers and Sisters of the GPIW, and especially Doju, Chang Ji, Mary Faeth, Banthe Buddarakita, Marianne, Swami Mangalananda, Mae Chee Sansanee and Joy, rev. Joan,Dena,Sisters Dipti, Jyotsna and the sisters from the Brahma Kumaris Centre, and Rattan Channa, Tho Havinh, Nobantu,Bahati,Ayeda,Alea, and all the many who had just recently been with us (see next update) for their messages and prayers.

To Bianca, Cristina and the Italian friends of Maisha Merefu (who are coming next week from Italy just to hold our hand) my deepest gratitude.

To all the supporters and friends from around the world for their messages and encouragement thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Practical support at this time is also invaluable.

We are deeply grateful to BATUK who made their grader and driver Justus available to cut firebreaks- instrumental to help prevent further damage.

To our amazing staff – and in particular Patrick, Ali, Muthaura, Chelule, Enoch, Kamaiteke, Thomas, Gichiabi, Merinyo, Maina, Gachiri, Ndirangu, Wainaina, Joseph, Aboto, Lekupe, Ezechiel, Timothy,Pirait, Martin, Emanuel, Etir, Loitabo, Kaunda, Lendorope, Mussa and Samuel,Thomas Lenawasae, Njeru, and all patrols, the girls of centre, and all the many more, who fought relentlessly and cheerfully – day and night for eight eternal days- to save ” our shamba”, my eternal gratitude and respect.

I am proud of you.

And special thanks to Gilfrid for aerial surveys and for the Suyan Ranch firefighters team; to Claus for the Mugie ranch team who came twice to the rescue; and to Martin Evans and Iain Douglas – Hamilton for further aerial survey.

A special thanks to the KWS Senior Warden, area Warden and Ol Moran section, for their total support, too.

Now we need the rain, we need your help, and we must hope the culprits will be brought to justice and evil will subside.

Kuki, Sveva and the team
From the ashes,
In Ol Ari Nyiro
Laikipia Nature Conservancy

PS Last night a notorious ivory and rhino horn trader living at our doorstep in Luoniek, was arrested, red handed with elephant tusks, by the KWS.


Third day and fourth day Fires

25/26th March 2012

My dear friends from around the world,

Too tired to comment. Photos talk for themselves.

With deep gratitude for the messages of love for the prayers and encouragement if our friends from around the world, and to our staff who since Friday is battling amongst flames and the most torrid ceaseless wind. Cooks keep preparing food Wichita with tea and water we carry to the field.

We barely managed to so far save the Retreat and patrol Sierra5 stopped fire just before the sacred Hot Springs.

Today day 4th. Two fires out of control in the Enghelesha side.

They caught the big olives.

Sweeping towards Enghelesha forest and up towards the Makena Lodge.

In the sky stained in sooth the sun last evening grew red, like blood.

Pray for rain.
RAIN. Only rain can help.

Tired we are all SO tired

Kuki and the wonderful team,
On Laikipia Nature Conservancy


Ol ari Nyiro Burning

10th March 2012

Dear friends,

Last bush fires news:
after a sleepless night watching all hills garlanded in angry flames, this AM vicious fires are still burning in numberless places and wind growing.

We lost now almost half conservancy. Concentrating on saving lodges and forest. Fires were set at regularly intervals. Suspect is a group of three notorious poachers who had shot one of our rangers in the past too. We have managed to get before them tusks of seven out of the last 8 elephants they killed.

Fighting on with all the loyal team since over twenty four hours. Not winning.

Crying for the small animals and the trees.

Think of us.Pray for rain.

Kuki, Sveva and team,
From the field In LAIKIPIA NATURE CONSERVANCY


Update: The Fire, the Water

10th March 2012

Dear friends around the world,

Many of you have been asking about the webcast of the Shynnio en Fire and Water ceremony produced by Sveva last Sunday- in the contest of the interfaith gathering of the GPIW in Ol Ari Nyiro- that was streamed live: You can still watch it now!

It was just MAGICAL!

Please see URL below.

http://www.media-server.com/m/p/8nhtau2u

From Laikipia,
Kuki and Sveva


The Fire, the Water

1st March 2012

Dear Friends from around the World,

It has been a complex, difficult and at time tragic- but also exciting couple of months.

The tragedy is the resurgence of poaching with escalation beyond our control and seven elephant killed just in the first couple of months of 2012.

One of our men shot and survived by miracle.

The new technique of the poachers, is shooting at random, wounding, following and silently finishing the poor animals with a spear ; standing helpless on another carcass infested with maggots: a carcass found with tusks, another without… the pointless breaking of another innocent life, the breaking of my heart.

Kaunda Lenawase was lucky to survive

… but then, the healing.

see below attached details of the magic that will be created in Laikipia Nature Conservancy.

Supported by the Shynnio en Buddhists from Japan, and produced by Sveva, magic will happen in Ol ari Nyiro on the evening of the 4th of March on the occasion of the week – long 10th Anniversary gathering of the Global Peace Initiative of Women- of which I am a founder member.

Spiritual leaders from around the world and across religions, will converge on the Edge of this Great Rift valley to pray for peace and for the environment, and to bring this message of urgent committment to environmental responsibility to million throughout the planet.

You will not all be able to be here in person, but you can be with us -not just in spirit-but visually, through the magical medium of internet.

Here below the details, and an update will come through from me in the following week.

With special thoughts, love, gratitude and respect

Kuki, Sveva and the Team
of Laikipia Nature Conservancy

The Stage at Aqua ready for the Ceremony

March 4th, Fire & Water Ceremony in Laikipia

Ceremony will start from 6pm Kenya time, the webcast may be available 20 minutes prior to that. Webcast provided by Shinnyo-en through Thomson-Reuters. Contact: Martin Hosch (martin.hosch@shinnyo.info)

URL for live streaming: http://www.media-server.com/m/p/8nhtau2u

This page is already online and provides a guestbook, where users can register beforehand, which may allow to estimate more correctly the number of users that intend to follow the live stream. So please invite all your friends to register beforehand. In case of need we can then adapt the broadband.

Note: Upon registering in the guestbook a “hold” page will display and play some nice and cool music. Eventually inform your users, in case they will access to it from a “silent environment”.

The live streaming might not be visible through mobile devices (Android smartphones, iPhones, etc.) due to their technical specifications, but so will the Video on demand, that shall be available later @ the same URL: http://www.media-server.com/m/p/8nhtau2u

Download Fire Ceremony program here


News Flash update

8th February 2012

Dear Friends,

Today our ranger Kaunda Lenawase – who was unarmed – was shot in the chest at point blank at 11 am by Pokot bandits from Amaya, in Laikipia Nature Conservancy while pursuing cattle rustlers who had stolen two cows at Mwenje.

He was hit by two bullets, one in his arm, and one grazed his lung below the left shoulder just missing his heart.

He was part of two patrols I had sent to pursue the bandits.

The three bandits, all armed with AK 47 rifles, had shot at an elephant herd in the morning of the 7th and moved in to steal cattle in moonlight; they cut across the electric fence- breaking it and shorting it.

We sent a team to repair the fence at midnight.

I drove Kaunda to the Ol Moran Mission and eventually he was airlifted to Nanyuki Cottage Hospital.

These bandits are the same who killed a Samburu at the market in Amaya; who killed a man called Cheruto last year, and wounded a teacher, Kirui, two months ago, during a cattle rustling incident.

They are suspected to be the same who shot a Kikuyu man close to Ratia last month and stole his power saw.

Our ranger Josephat Lenariset, an illchamus, was also wounded exactly one year ago by known poachers while guarding rhino:his leg was shattered, and he has not yet recovered one year later.

He is still at Kinangop Mission Hospital.

We are deeply grateful to these brave and selfless men.

Later today we found a male elephant that had been wounded by another group from Amaya in January and died later.I went to retrieve the tusks.

Three more elephants had been killed in the Conservancy in January and ivory was removed.

The killers -and poachers- are well known.

…but there are the good Pokot in Amaya too.We are sponsoring and encouraging a handsome wonderful group of enthusiastic youth who have started a cultural group there, and recently in January we drove down to the valley, carrying beads and a large sign board we had made, to encourage them.

Never lose hope.

Kuki and the team

On a long long -LONG- day, at Laikipia Nature Conservancy


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