I recall on my Kenya trip to the Africa Network for Animal Welfare in March of 2015 Kahindi Lakalhaile introducing me to fourteen newly installed Guardians at Kasigau. It was a delight to meet Jones Mwandango, Elisha Sogha, Joshuah Nuttu, Charles Mwamreta, Philisier Kale, Joseph Mwinzi, Jackson Mwanguo, Johathan Kimbulu, Jesicah Njeri, Japhred Maguerga, Benson Kalague, Mgrrius Tamanyasi, Alex Mwashauwa, and Vincent Mwangogo. Early on, under Kahindi and Jos Ngonyo’s leadership, team members were called “Rangers.” They were tasked with patrolling 55,000 acres of community land between National Park Tsavo East and Tsavo West looking for poachers and out-of-town leaseholders whose cattle were illegally grazing in the National Park. The team didn’t like being referred to as Rangers, the common term for such work. The team preferred being called “Guardians.” This positive, more friendly title characterized the community spirit and goodwill these workers for the Africa Network for Animal Welfare embraced.
I was delighted to meet with these young people and working with the ANAW group raising funds for their uniforms, flashlights, radios, and general equipment.
One star in the group was Jesicah Njeri, who also distinguished herself in winning track and field honors in the community. Jesicah matriculated to Wildlife Works and began work there as a Ranger. I don’t know when Jesicah began her new job, but the sad tragedy is she lost her life this month attempting an animal rescue, trampled by an elephant. A stampeding mother elephant rolled her vehicle three times. Three or four other workers were traveling in the vehicle. While the others escaped, some with serious injuries, Jesicah unfortunately did not.
We mourn this tragic loss and send our condolences to family, friends, and co-workers.
The event organizers are keying off the theme of One Health and the notion that all life is linked in ways that affect each other. This has relevance to Kenya because bushmeat consumption has increased due to the pandemic. The pandemic is linked to China and the consumption of wildlife meat. China, Kenya, and the United States, indeed the total global community are linked in the economic downturn resulting from COVID-19.
So what exactly is meant by “animal welfare” and how does this matter to a grassroots organization, ANAW in Nairobi, and volunteers and advocates living in the U.S., ANAW-USA.
If you are interested in a distraction from our country’s Democratic Debates and the Washington D.C. drama check this out from our friends in Kenya.
Kahindi Lekalhaile and Josphat Ngonyo continue to educate the public about the brutal and destructive emergence of donkey skin trade in Kenya and the broader continent of Africa. Beasts of burden are important for fetching water, firewood, and all sort of chores necessary to live in rural Africa. As recently as 2015 there are as many as 1.4 million donkeys in Kenya. Changes in the law now allow the use of Donkeys for food, for human consumption. Donkey meat can be sold in the grocery store as a source of animal protein. The sale and consumption of donkey meat is bring about a shortage of donkeys as well as the growing a black market to supply four butcheries in Kenya.
The loss of donkeys through rustling and thievery is becoming critical. This recent interview on Kenya television is worth the preview if you are curious or interested in how many people in Africa get on with and without in their day-to-day lives.
Thank you ANAW for the interview bringing this message to a broader audience.
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.
On my Facebook Page, I promised to share the September 2018 Newsletter written by the Africa Network for Animal Welfare staff in Nairobi. Here is the link below.
I am grateful for the contributions made to ANAW during this holiday season. The campaign is still open. Also, I want to say “thank you” to all who participated to support the employment of the young people in East Africa and their accomplishments for animal welfare, conservation, and habitat.
Mike Coffman lost his bid for re-election to the congressional district where I live. He was “my congressman”. I have heard Mike speak on many occasions and appreciate his efforts for finding solutions to health care and veteran services. This work isn’t easy.
I also appreciate his setting himself apart from the national leadership. Distance from Donald Trump, in Colorado anyway, was a required strategic move. Regrettable, even this tactic didn’t work to save the election for Mike Coffman. It was indeed a referendum against President Trump.
Mike Coffman deserve a big “thank you” from the constituents in Colorado. You sought to create middle ground. Unfortunately, there was none. It is disheartening that the Republican Party pulled financial support from your campaign in the last lap of the campaign. It made it more difficult to win. Perhaps they saw the handwriting on the wall. It is now obvious Coloradoans don’t like the direction Trump is taking the country.
I wish Mike Coffman could have avoided the negative sentiment that has spilled over into his political career. He deserves better. So for one, thank you for your service.
Congressional District 6 was lost not because Mike Coffman failed to serve but because the Republican Party has failed to do its job. We can only hope for better from the Democrats. For now, it feels like our politics is broken, dark and leaderless. The country deserves better.
Congratulations to Jason Crow. We are all in this together.
Maryanne Kagai ANAW’s veterinarian posts the following to the organization’s bulletin board:
It is with great sadness that Ol Pejeta Conservancy and the Dvůr Králové Zoo announce that Sudan, the world’s last male northern white rhino, age 45, died at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya on March 19th, 2018 (yesterday). Sudan was being treated for age-related complications that led to degenerative changes in muscles and bones combined with extensive skin wounds. His condition worsened significantly in the last 24 hours; he was unable to stand up and was suffering a great deal. The veterinary team from the Dvůr Králové Zoo, Ol Pejeta and Kenya Wildlife Service made the decision to euthanize him.
Sudan will be remembered for his unusually memorable life. In the 1970s, he escaped extinction of his kind in the wild when he was moved to Dvůr Králové Zoo. Throughout his existence, he significantly contributed to survival of his species as he sired two females. Additionally, his genetic material was collected yesterday and provides a hope for future attempts at reproduction of northern white rhinos through advanced cellular technologies. During his final years, Sudan came back to Africa and stole the heart of many with his dignity and strength.
“We on Ol Pejeta are all saddened by Sudan’s death. He was a great ambassador for his species and will be remembered for the work he did to raise awareness globally of the plight facing not only rhinos, but also the many thousands of other species facing extinction as a result of unsustainable human activity. One day, his demise will hopefully be seen as a seminal moment for conservationists world wide,” said Richard Vigne, Ol Pejeta’s CEO.
Unfortunately, Sudan’s death leaves just two female northern white rhinos on the planet; his daughter Najin and her daughter Fatu, who remain at Ol Pejeta. The only hope for the preservation of this subspecies now lies in developing in vitro fertilisation (IVF) techniques using eggs from the two remaining females, stored northern white rhino semen from males and surrogate southern white rhino females.
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.
Last week Esmond’s Martin was killed in his home in Nairobi Kenya. The incident is being called a robbery turned violent. I met Esmond and interviewed him at his home in 2015. His death is tragic news. He was a great contributor to efforts saving elephants in East Africa and the world over.
Besides a conservationist, Edmonds was a pen and ink artist. I remember his exhibit showcased at the Denver Art Museum a few years back. It is a small world. A kind and gentle man was Edmonds. I’m sorry for his loss and the extended family’s sorrow. Condolences to his wife. He was married to a sister of a Denver philanthropist. Sad to lose him to the dust of Nairobi.
As many of you might know, I have a deep respect and admiration for the animal welfare work taking place in Africa. I am privileged to know and work in Nairobi and all through Kenya with Josphat Ngonyo and the board and staff of the Africa Network for Animal Welfare. The comments of President Trump are disheartening and grossly troubling for me personally.
It brings me to write this.
I am appalled at president Trump’s characterization of African nations as “shithole countries”. Over the last eleven years, I have worked with Kenyan’s traveling to Kenya three times annually, over 25 trips in total. I know people there working diligently to feed their families, raise their children, striving for a better life. I know people who daily use a trench latrine.
For those of us who believe in marketplace efficiencies and capitalism, Trump’s elitist actions and now expressions of racism and hatred toward Africa and Haiti are more than frustrating. It makes me sick. Our president is a disgusting man. He demonstrates extreme views that should not be spoken outside the confines of his trophy-golf-course-properties. He should not be in a position to represent the United States of America. It is shameful.
Many Americans volunteer around the world as part of our Judeo-Christian ethic and/or simple humanitarianism to bring about peace and share prosperity. Trump disrespects America’s goodwill toward men. He disrespects people. He is not a president that should be enabled. He is intoxicated with power, his past sins only amplified as president of the United States.
This is a democracy. What can be done now? In my opinion, failure to unleash immediate action toward this scourge on our goodwill is un-American and negligent. We cannot wait until 2020 to remove this mean-spirited president from office. He is sadly unbalanced, uncaring, lacks compassion and understanding for others. We have an obligation to fix this. He is dangerous. His real estate deal making paradigm is not a template for formulating foreign policy. He is unwilling to learn.
I write to my Congresspeople. I encourage us all to do the same until there can be an uprising, a clamor of voices to register the frustration of the masses sufficient to move Republican leadership to action.