So we have now left the direct training part of the program and are now in what I think of as the go-around-asking-people-for-interesting-things-to-do phase.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the African Biodiversity Collaborative Group (ABCG) brown bag meeting on the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF’s) African Great Apes Program—you can see that we love acronyms in conservation—on AWF’s behalf.
After this brief return to Nairobi, George, Theo, and I were then sent out to the Samburu Heartland (also in Kenya but located north of Nairobi). This held a special interest for me as I visited this area on a short safari six years ago and fell in love with it. In fact, when I returned to England after that first visit was when I started learning basic Swahili (which turned out to be a fairly good move, all things considered).
Conservation Management Trainees, George (left) and Sam
The undulating hills laced with eucalyptus and Markhamia lutea trees, peaks of granite rocks, and green valleys of corn and Napier grass I see in western Kenya today are now a pale shadow of the lush green hills and valleys, bushy grazing fields, and slowly flowing rivers that adorned the area 31 years ago when l was born.
By Peter Knights, Executive Director of WildAid
Experts in rhino conservation met last week in Nairobi convened by the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) in response to a rhino poaching epidemic gripping South Africa and Zimbabwe, which reached a record high in 2011—poaching in South Africa alone leapt up 33% in just a year, with an estimated 448 rhinos killed for their horns compared to 13 killed in 2007.