Justice for Wildlife
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Issue April-June 2016

Dear Friends and Partners,

Welcome to our latest newsletter, which highlights some of the activities undertaken by WildlifeDirect team in the last quarter. In this quarter, WildlifeDirect continued to play a key role in creating awareness among Kenyans from all walks of life about the importance of protecting our wildlife, particularly in activities leading up to the historic ivory burn on 30 April 2016. We worked closely with partners in government, the diplomatic corps, conservation organizations, the corporate sector, the media, universities, schools and local communities. Here are some of the highlights!

Kenya Burns 105 tons of Ivory

On 30 April 2016, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta sent a signal to the world by setting aflame 105 tons of ivory and 1.5 tons of rhino horn – the world’s largest ever destruction of ivory.

The 11 pyres burned for four days and made headlines across the globe. The historic burn emphasized Kenya’s position that elephants and rhinos are worth more alive, and underlined Kenya’s commitment to protecting these precious animals.
Speaking at the burn, President Kenyatta said, “by destroying ivory we declare once and for all that our national heritage is not for sale.” Since 2012, when WildlifeDirect started the Hands Off Our Elephants Campaign, Kenya has introduced far reaching legal and enforcement reforms and reduced poaching of elephants by 80 percent.
Click here to read Paula’s article in The Guardian on “Why it makes sense to burn ivory stockpiles"
‘Light a Fire’ twitter-storm reaches 130 million people

WildlifeDirect (Kenya) Board Chair Philip Murgor at the Ivory Burn Site before the historic burn.

In the run-up to the ivory burn, on 23 April 2016, millions of people around the world took part in a global online conversation to raise awareness about the crisis facing elephants and rhinos. The event, dubbed “Light a Fire”, was organized by WildlifeDirect in partnership with the United States Embassy, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Save the Elephants, the African Wildlife Foundation and the Amboseli Trust for Elephants. 

Distinguished speakers at the live event, which took place at the headquarters of the African Wildlife Foundation in Nairobi, included Ambassador Robert Godec, KWS Director General Mr. Kitili Mbathi, Principal Secretary, Ministry for Environment and Natural Resources Dr. Margaret and others not mentioned here. The media, conservationists, children and online participants were also able to take part in the discussions, which highlighted the commitment of Kenyans from all walks of life to save the country’s magnificent wildlife heritage.  Over 130 million people around the world were reached on Twitter alone during the fascinating social media event.
Eyes in the Courtroom
 In May 2016, WildlifeDirect’s ongoing courtroom monitoring program ‘Eyes in the Courtroom’ published its Second Courtroom Monitoring Report, detailing the outcomes of wildlife crime trials at 50 courts across Kenya during 2014–2015.  WildlifeDirect’s courtroom monitors have made a key contribution to Kenya’s success in cracking down on wildlife crime by turning the spotlight on the legal system: ensuring transparency in the courts, highlighting areas where progress has been achieved, and identifying where there is still more to be done.
The 2014–15 report notes improvements in both the process and outcomes of wildlife trials, but warns that delays and corruption continue to threaten justice for wildlife.  
Download the report here
Africa calls on the world to save African elephants
WildlifeDirect supports the African Elephant Coalition (AEC) in its call to the world to help save African Elephants by putting an end to all trade in ivory.
Delegates from the 29 countries that make up the AEC issued a “manifesto” consisting of 5 proposals to save the African elephant following their meeting in Montreux, Switzerland on 24–26 June 2016. WildlifeDirect urges other African countries to support the manifesto.
We invite you to support the social media campaign launched to gain support for the 5 proposals, which will be submitted to the upcoming 17th Conference of the Parties (CoP17) of CITES in South Africa, using the hashtags
# WorthMoreAlive, ‪#EndIvoryTrade, ‪#Vote4Elephants.
See more details here

Ruling date for suspected major ivory trafficker Feisal

Feisal Mohammed

Kenya’s first trial of a suspected high-level ivory trafficker is nearing a conclusion. In the ongoing trial of Feisal Mohamed Ali, our courtroom monitors have documented loss of evidence,
changing witness statements, and disappearance of files among other threats including personal threats to our staff attending the trial. Nevertheless, despite the efforts of his team of lawyers, Feisal has remained in custody in Mombasa since his arrest in December 2014. The final submissions in this landmark trial have been presented and a ruling will be delivered on the July 22, 2016. Our Legal Affairs Manager will be in the court watching brief on behalf of all Kenyans.
Imbirikani women innovate traditions to save elephants
Some of the Imbirikani Women with Ann McCreath during the training

Famous Kenyan fashion designer of the outlet KikoRomeo Ms. Ann McCreath, joined WildlifeDirect to train women from Imbirikani women's project. WildlifeDirect with the support of UNDP in partnership with the Office the First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, are supporting 147 women who are setting up an innovative business. Though unschooled, these women are experts in traditional beadwork and Ann spent a week in the field training them on how to reach international markets to expand their exciting business.

 Egol eripata orkanjaoi naleng Kake kirip tenkaraki enkishui enye o tenkarakai o mpisai nekisumie inkera.(Beading elephant on a denim is not easy but I commit to learn and do it all for elephants and for our business, which will support our kids and because elephants have women characters) - Quote from a participant in the training course

The Imbirikani women did something surprising with their first profits from sales of beautifully beaded jackets, they bought cows and then sold them for a bigger profit. We were surprised because cattle trading is traditionally a male business in this community. This is the real demonstration of empowerment.  

Click here to visit the women's company called Oltome-Nadupo Women's Co.

Kenyans watch wildlife documentaries for the first time
People around the world have fallen in love with Kenya's wildlife for decades through documentaries brought to their homes via TV. Kenyans have never seen these films until now. 

In January 2015, WildlifeDirect partnered with television station NTV Kenya and the Kenya Wildlife Service to launch NTV Wild, a ground-breaking series of wildlife programmes on Kenyan television that is transforming public attitudes toward wildlife conservation.

Now in its second season, every week NTV Wild broadcasts an award-winning documentary about African wildlife, made available to Kenyan viewers for the first time thanks to generous donations by film makers and producers.
The documentaries are complemented by the weekly talk show, NTV Wild Talk, hosted by NTV news anchor Smriti Vidyarthi.
The show addresses major emerging conservation issues including wildlife crime, cattle in parks and climate change. Expert panelists have included diplomats, government ministers, national park managers, civil society leaders and grassroots activists. Viewers participate by taking part in quizzes and competitions and posting comments online.

The shows have thrilled Kenyan audiences, reaching up to 4 million viewers and regularly topping the ratings for the prime-time Saturday night TV slot. Each episode also trends on Twitter resulting in tens of thousands of tweets and reaching at least 1.5 million unique users.

I set my alarm by NTV Wild - Kenyan TV viewer

Watch NTV Wild Talk here
Inspiring children to take part in science

In March, children from 7 schools in Nairobi took part in the Kids Twiga Tally, a photographic survey of giraffes in Laikipia County. The event was organized by WildlifeDirect, in partnership with the Mpala Conservation Center and scientists from Princeton and Columbia Universities (USA). The survey employed the Image Based Ecological Identification System (IBEIS), an innovative digital technology that read animal markings like a bar code and distinguish individuals from each other and used to create a database of individual animals in the population. 

At the end of the day all 70 children said they wanted to be scientists, and most said they did not want to go home or that they wanted to come back again. They said they loved the day out. They enjoyed seeing all the animals, talking to scientists, and meeting and interacting with children from other schools. 
Click here to read Paula’s article in the Guardian on the Kids Twiga Tally

Click here to watch the video of the Kids Twiga Tally
Learning in the Wild

On the eve of the historic ivory burn, WildlifeDirect together with Big Life Foundation organized an educational tour for 55 students to visit Amboseli National Park. The trip around the park was meant to reinforce the wildlife conservation message among the students with special emphasis on importance of the ivory and rhino horn burn.

95 percent of the students who participated in the tour, have experienced human wildlife conflict in one form or another. Some of them have had their families' crops destroyed or know people who have been killed during encounters with elephants. To them, elephants and other wildlife have been considered a nuisance with no value to their lives. During the trip, these students were able to learn the importance of elephants and other wildlife and why there is a need to conserve them. They also realized that other than being conservationists or rangers, there were many opportunities career-wise including being lawyers. At the end of the trip, each student received a copy of the “Guide to the Wildlife Act (WCMA 2013)” published by WildlifeDirect. They also pledged their support to elephant conservation by jotting down commitments that will ensure their protection.

The educational tour was made possible by funding from John & Kay Jutta.
People & Places
Partnership: Amarula Trust has partnered with WildlifeDirect in a demonstration of the commitment of Kenya’s corporate to play its part in efforts to save elephants and wildlife. The partnership was launched on 21 June 2016 as Amarula unveiled a new bottle design to celebrate elephant conservation. Watch video

We are happy to announce that our CEO Dr. Paula Kahumbu has been appointed to be the Non-Executive Chairperson of the National Museums of Kenya Board.
See Gazette Notice

WildlifeDirect welcomed on board to two talented new members of staff Patricia Sewe (Communications Manager) and Jim Karani (Legal Affairs Manager). Jim replaces Elizabeth Gitari who has left to take up a post at Strathmore University where she will be in charge of training wildlife crime lawyers. Our thanks to Elizabeth for her all her efforts during her time at WildlifeDirect and best wishes in her new job.

International Visitors
WildlifeDirect was pleased to welcome creative conservationist Asher Jay to Nairobi in April for the ivory burn. Asher was an inspiring presence at the “Light a Fire” event and other events leading up to the ivory burn.

Conferences & meetings: Our voice around the world
  • Paula Kahumbu spoke at the Women in the World Conference, held in New York on 6–8 April.
  • On 13 April, Elizabeth Gitari delivered the Edward and Bonnie Foreman Biodiversity Lecture at Stetson College of Law, Texas.
  • In June, Paula Kahumbu traveled to USA, where she delivered the keynote address at the National Geographic Explorers Symposium and also met with Sally Jewell, United States Secretary of the Interior.
  • Paula Kahumbu spoke at the 2016 Giants Club Summit and recorded the meeting for the NTV Wild Talk show.
  • Paula Kahumbu sat on the East Africa Foreign Correspondents Association panel to discuss the ivory burn. Other panelists were a Chinese conservationist Hongxiang Huang, KWS Director General Kitili Mbathi, Esmond Martin and Mike Norton Griffiths. 
Thank You

WildlifeDirect team celebrating the partnership with Amarula Trust

Many people and organizations have helped WildlifeDirect and her successes this year. We thank Amarula, our newest partner for their generous support of our work, Geoff Mayes and Jamie Mactavish for rallying for Hands Off Our Elephants, The Whitley Foundation, Save the Elephants, NTV Kenya, Kenya Wildlife Service, and all our other donors for supporting our work throughout this year.

We dedicate this issue of Wildlife Tracks to the memory of the thousands of elephants, known and unknown, whose tusks were set alight at the ceremony at the Nairobi National Park on 30 April 2016. We vow to continue the fight to safeguard the future of our relatives and descendants. We will not rest until poaching is eliminated in Kenya and across the African continent.

To support WildlifeDirect’s Work please donate here. Every penny received goes into ensuring justice for wildlife.


Dr. Paula Kahumbu
CEO, WildlifeDirect
Copyright © 2016 WildlifeDirect All rights reserved.
WildlifeDirect, Karen Connection, Karen Road. P.O. Box 24467 -00502 Nairobi, Kenya

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