Our Friends in Africa

As many of you know I have a fond association with the Africa Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW) in Nairobi Kenya. Indeed, over the past fifteen years through the efforts of many, Colorado Gives recognizes the sister organization in Denver as a hub for connecting our lives to the lives of people and animals in Africa. In the spirit of giving where we live, we recognize Kenya with the Colorado connections through local veterinarians and students at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social work, to name a few.

I am writing to my friends and readers of this blog to implore you again to support ANAW-USA through Colorado Gives Day. The agenda in Africa is ambitious but it is paying off in many ways. For example, ANAW plays a significant role co-hosting the Africa Animal Welfare Conference in association with United Nations Enviromental Programme. You can read more about this and other programs taking place with our friends in Africa. The point is ANAW and its twenty-four employees are making a difference. You help make this possible by supporting specific programs in Kenya and the employment of these people.

Your gift today will support medical services in association with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and other nongovernmental groups to rescue animals. Without donations such as yours the staff at Africa’s ANAW would not be paid for their gallant efforts. The staff makes frequent visits to the bush rescuing and provides medical treatment to a wide range of unguents and other wildlife. This male giraffe was darted in August with a poison arrow in attempt to kill it for bushmeat, an illigal activity in Kenya that ANAW strives to curtail.

Thank you for your gifts in previous years matched by the Colorado Gives campaign. Please consider making a gift again this year before December 1, 2022. 100% of the contribution to Colorado Gives/ANAW-USA is forwarded to ANAW in Nairobi.

Happy Thanksgiving and Holiday Season to you and yours.

Best wishes,

David Gies

co-founder for ANAW-USA and ANAW board member

Cameron Peak Fire

I have known George since 1964. We were 17, working at a youth camp as ranch hands with a couple of other guys who have continued to be lifelong friends, some closer than others, but we continued to stay in touch, brothers in life by any measure, George, Clark, Terry, Stan, the guys I particularly remember. George loves living in the mountains and is a great host. His story is an epic journey like each of ours but suffice it to say that today he lives an idyllic life nestled beneath the Mummy Range on the northern edge of Rocky Mountain National Park. Idyllic, but changed for the foreseeable future due to last year’s fires.

Clark, the another ranch hand in the summer of 1964, joined me in a visit to George’s house on a weekend in June, 2021, a year after the fire. George lives on a small parcel of land immediately adjacent to Hourglass Reservoir, a mile or so east of Comanche Reservoir. Although Hourglass is on private land, Comanche Reservoir sits inside Roosevelt National Forest. Unfortunately, the entire terrain around George’s place and the neighboring CSU Pingree Park and Sky Ranch Lutheran Camp was engulfed in the Cameron Peak Fire, the largest fire on record in Colorado, burning 326 square miles of forest.   

The New York Times last week published a full-page story about the effects of fire on water quality from scorching, slow-moving fires. (Google NYTimes “Wildfires threat to urban water suppliers”). The article specifically references Cameron Peak. We experienced the aftermath of such a fire walking to Comanche Lake, our destination for the weekend. While the lake was surrounded by fire, the lake itself survived the burn. Still, after hiking to the base of the last ridge, it was impossible to go further because the trees that were teetering half on the ground were unstable.  Remaining trees, half-dead half-alive were oozing with raw sap. The fire’s extreme heat destroyed everything on the ground incinerating all organic material. It was raining. The soil unable to absorb moisture caused the rain to immediately charge downhill quickly becoming eroding torrents.

The point of all this is to recognize things have and are changing. It’s not like we can go hiking in the 60s and 70s. I generally write about my experiences in Kenya, the people there, their commitment to animal welfare, conservation, and the notion of “one health.” One Health, everything is connected. Habitat, climate, weather, biological diversity, water quality, these are common natural elements changing or under attack. After our Comanche Lake hike I realize and appreciate the efforts in many places to save our environment for our children. We keep at it.

A special THANK YOU to all the Firefighters who worked all summer and into December to bring the Cameron Peak Fire under control. Anyone with buildings still standing owes the government and those involved a ton of gratitude.

Thanks for 2019

Expressing a BIG “thank you” for supporting ANAW in 2019

ANAW continues to evolve, supporting communities to build better health care for animals while at the same time, supporting people living in rural areas. The well-being of animals cannot be accomplished without attending to the needs of the human population. Implementing ANAW’s purpose moves the non-governmental organization towards a One Health problem-solving approach. All systems are linked. ANAW promotes animal welfare through its efforts to protect the environment, support employment opportunities, and connect people to people.

This year has been the best year yet for ANAW in Africa. This has happened thanks to the many gifts of work, wisdom, and wealth from ANAW’s friends. General donations, donations from Colorado Gives campaign, and gifts from the Combined Federal Campaign continue to empower ANAW to do its work.

Some of the highlights include conducting the 9th National Judicial Dialogue Conference. These conferences, organized by ANAW with the collaboration of law enforcement and the judiciary have been convened on an ongoing basis since 2013. It has been an important collaboration with the Kenya Wildlife Protection agency and Wildlife Direct leading to a significant increase in the severity of penalties for individuals convicted of animal crimes. Jos Ngonyo reports that since 2013, crimes against wildlife and the environment have been elevated to economic crimes resulting in higher crimes and penalties.

ANAW is fighting to protect donkeys from theft and slaughter due to the growing demand for ejiao (donkey hide gelatin) and donkey skins in China.

ANAW’s accreditation with the United Nations Environment Programme has been renewed through 2013.

ANAW continues to promote Animal Welfare through its Animal Welfare Clubs in 44 schools in Nairobi and surrounding counties.

ANAW conducted spay/neutered surgeries on 434 companion animals and vaccinated over 11,347 dogs and cats against rabies in 2019. Much of this has been accomplished through veterinary service programs led by and thanks to Dr. Lisa McCarthy of Vet Treks and Julie Kelly from Applewood Veterinary Clinic, both in Colorado.

ANAW presented “A Model for High Volume Sterilization Operations — A Case Study in Machakos County” at the Humane Dog Population Management Conference.

At the Kenya Veterinary Association 2019 Conference, ANAW presented “Implementation of the National Rabies Elimination Strategy in Machakos County-Lessons and Experiences Learned”.

ANAW initiated a bushmeat research project using 2004 baseline data to determine the frequency of current illegal bushmeat harvesting, made possible by an anonymous gift from a Denver philanthropist.

ANAW continues desnaring operations to free trapped animals in wire traps.

Recognized by GlobalGiving.org meeting their due diligence standards.

ANAW is also certified by the Combined Federal Campaign as an America’s Best Charities.

This is only a glimpse of ANAW’s efforts and accomplishments in 2019. Visit www.anaw.org to read in detail the talented efforts and many accomplishments of your “on the ground” partner in Africa.

Happy Holidays and a prosperous New Year.

ANAW and Colorado Gives Day, December 10, 2019

ANAW in Kenya continues to make a difference for the country by promoting conservation and habitat protection. Its accomplishments include the creation of humane education programs for 44 of Nairobi’s schools as well as experiential trips for visiting graduate students from the United States, United Kingdom, and China. Significantly ANAW has guided the way for collaboration with other NGOs and the United Nations promoting the adoption of conservation and animal care best practices throughout East Africa.

ANAW-USA is a Colorado based organization with volunteers throughout the U.S. partnering with friends in Kenya. Together, a One Health approach has been adopted to assist African communities to create conservation initiatives, leading to economic development benefitting the sustainability of non-human populations as well as humankind. ANAW works to do both, to be human and to be kind.

Now, during this time of the Colorado Giving Day, wherever you live, please consider making a contribution to ANAW. Your gift, of any amount, will be increased through a $1.5 million Incentive Fund. It will make a difference for people and it will make a difference for animals in Kenya.

Thank you,

David Gies

(Combined Federal Campaign designation)

Esmond Martin


Animal 24-7 reports the known detail of Esmond Martin’s violent death as I posted last week.  Here are the detailed accounts about efforts of the conservation movement in East Africa.  Merritt and Beth Clifton describe and write this long article on the current circumstances surrounding Martin’s death.  Thank you, Clifton’s for the investigation and ongoing information.

An Open Letter to Friends of ANAW

The year 2016 has been a year of celebrations, successes, and milestones.  If you are receiving the ANAW holiday direct mail piece you will be reading about my meeting Jos Ngonyo in 2005 and the friendship between our families that continues to grow.  Indeed, the network of friends is a concentric ripple that extends far beyond just our families and friends, to also include what we now have started  in the name of conservation and animal welfare.

The organization we create is a reciprocal door into the countries we represent, the U.S. to Kenya and Kenya to the U.S.  From the perspective of the University of Denver, this is a gateway opportunity for students of the Graduate School of Social Work to meet Kenyans in their homes and in their lives.  This year, for the three groups of visiting private practice veterinarians, it is service to the communities of pet and livestock owners. For Kenyans, it is an introduction to people in North America, an exchange of ideas, aspirations, and future possibilities. ANAW is our mutual gateway.

For the animals in Kenya, it is advocacy and people communicating and doing for those that cannot speak for themselves.  ANAW stopped the road construction across the Serengeti with significant help from Serengeti Watch, brings attention to the encroachment of another roadway, a railroad, across Nairobi National Park, expands Animal Welfare Clubs into the curriculum of 33 Nairobi schools, facilitates the continued efforts for adding animal welfare to the country’s national curriculum, works with the judiciary and countless others to remove trapping wire while advocating for ending bushmeat consumption.

It has been said that in life we need three things.  “Someone to love, something to do, and something to look forward to”.  ANAW, for many of us, has become part of our lives, with the mission, and the people on both sides of the Atlantic striving to make the world a better place for all living creatures.

I wish to take this opportunity to say thank you to the Board of Directors and staff in Denver that makes the transmission of funds to Nairobi possible.  From left to right, Philip Tedeschi, Bob Uttaro, David Gies, Richard Reading, Janet Rumfelt, Kristen Nelson, Professor James Nakansa (ANAW in Nairobi), Richard Male, Maria Galter, and Jos Ngonyo.  Not pictured are Arielle Giddens, Nehemiah Rotich and Keith Gehring.


If you are interested in more of the particulars please visit the ANAW websites, http://www.anaw.org and http://www.anaw-usa.org.

ANAW is not eligible to be reviewed by Charity Navigators because our assets are less than $1,000,000.  Until we can reach this threshold, and in the interest of staking our reputation as a reputable and worthy nonprofit organization, our 2015 Audit is available upon request, for anyone wishing to learn more about us.  Also, our 990 tax returns can be accessed at www.guidestar.org.

Best wishes for this holiday season.

David Gies,

ANAW-USA Board President


Rurpell’s Eagle and White-backed vultures

Thursday, with Munir Viranti and Darcy Ogada, of the director of the East Africa Peregrine Fund office, and Richard Reading, consultant and Africa Network for Animal Welfare-USA board member, I visited a location near Nanyuki where several White-backed vultures and one Rurpell’s eagle had been poisoned, probably unintentionally in an attempt by the local people there to retaliate.  It seems lions had killed one or two cows so baited meat was distributed throughout the area.  The unintended consequence was the poisoning of these birds.  Regrettably human-animal conflicts are common throughout Africa as pastoralists compete for grazing location.

Poachers intentionally kill vultures to avoid detection after slaughtering elephants.  It is a terrible reality that the vultures of Africa are at risk of endangerment and extinction.


Pathways Kenya 2016

Colorado State University has raised the bar for convening its Pathway conferences outside Colorado. This was the fifth conference organized by the Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the first outside Colorado.  About a third of the participants were students and wildlife guardians, rangers and young people from all over Kenya.  The exchange of ideas and information sharing was top notch.   Including so many local enthusiastic young people interested in conservation was brilliant of the organizers.

University of Denver faculty and the One Health team were represented with the presence of Dean James Herbert Williams and professors Philip Tedeschi and Richard Reading.  Representing the Africa Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW) were Josphat Ngonyo, executive director, and Ambassador Nehemiah Rotich, president of the board.  Staff and adviser to ANAW, Kahindi Lekalhaile, was there  along with myself representing the Africa Network for Animal Welfare-USA (ANAW-USA).

Kahindi Lekalhaile, who  grew-up near Nanyuki, presented the keynote address kicking off the conference along with the Munir Virani, the director of The Peregrine Fund.  Not present but appreciated by me personally was Meme Kinoti, Chair of the Management of Nonprofit Management department at Regis University in Denver.  Kinoti, a Kenyan, collaborated on developing the ANAW presentations.

Pictures here are the Mt Kenya Fairmont Safari Lodge (complete with a disturbing array of elephant and wildlife trophies) Tom Serfass facilitating a session,  Philip Tedeschi, DU and ANAW-USA Board Chairman, Josphat Ngonyo Executive Director of ANAW and David Gies also for ANAW-USA.

Several scientific  papers were presented covering topics of wildlife and fishery management, humane wildlife conflict, case studies for resolving conflicts and creating conservation, integrating social science into One Health to inform policy, aspects of hunting, zoonotic disease transmission and the conservation revolution taking place in East Africa and other parts of the world through community based efforts.

The ANAW team presented on the importance of civil society and voluntary association in mediating attitudes for addressing wildlife crimes.  Our talk emphasized observed changes taking place showing the will of Kenya to stop poaching.  For example, the courts are dishing out harsh penalties now for elephant and rhino poaching.  An example is a recent sentencing to life in prison to a major supplier for  transporting ivory through Kenyan boarders.  Kenya has the unfortunate distinction for being largest exit point for ivory leaving Africa to China.

These changes taking place are not the result of just ANAW hammering away on the problems.  For the judiciary work, especially in real time monitory of the courts Wildlife Direct and Paula Kahumbu along with the support of the Africa Wildlife foundation and countless other organizations and funders are recognized.

Wildlife Census Taking at Nairobi National Park

The Great Zebra & Giraffe Count 2015flyer1

Every year the Kenya Wildlife Service conducts wildlife counts inside Nairobi National Park, the headquarters for the David Sheldrick Trust.  This year it coincided with World Wildlife Day.  The count includes the entire park.  Eunice Robai and I were on hand to represent the Africa Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW) and participated one March 2, 2015.  Our assignment was to drive to the east most loop of the National Park photographing all the Zebra and Giraffe within viewing range.

The count was unique this year because Image Based Ecological Information System, IBEIS (www.IBEIS.org) implemented a pilot project using photography, GPS technology and innovative software to document baseline data identifying migration patterns, individual animals, adjustments due to drought, grazing competition and implications for species moving through protected and unprotected corridors.  The team included Dan Rubenstein of Princeton University, Tanya Berger-Wolf, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chuck Steward, Computer Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Jason Holmberg, of Wild Me (www.wildme.org).

This information is valuable to wildlife managers and has potentially broad application for tacking elephant movement as well.  While we were not tracking elephants we were successful in identifying new animals for the data base.  The systemP1120079 works by loading pictures and GPS coordinates into the IBEIS software and “tagging” individual animals.  The most difficult part of the exercise was finding zebras and giraffes that were standing in a left profile position.  This was one of the criteria for taking the image of any animal.

Here is the report identifying any animal new to the database.  Also, pictured her are Chuck Steward, David Gies, Dan Rubenstein, and Eunice Robai.

Colorado’s Petition to Stop the Ilegal Sale of Ivory

Please sign our petition:

If you have been following my posts, you know the efforts taking place around the world to stop the killing of elephants and rhinos.  I live in Colorado and invest a fair amount of time working and being in Kenya.  It seems remote but it is not, to bring the issue of poaching home to Colorado.  The world is such a small place and there is so much human life crowding out and competing for a spot to live on this tiny planet.  One way we can support countries in Africa is to visit them.  This is difficult because security is an issue.   This is changing as the threat of terrorism is an international issue and will diminish.  Indeed, I have don’t hesitate to invite people and friends to Kenya.  But you don’t have to participate in the economic development through travel to support a growing democracy.

The other thing one can do, regardless of where you live, is sign our petition banning the illegal sale and commercialization of animal products in Colorado.  It doesn’t matter where you live.  The petition is about demonstrating that people care and what the slaughter to end.  If you live in Colorado, all the better to sign the petition and add your name to the change we hope to bring about.

It matters to the elephants.  It matters more to our humanity.