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

Another Species on the way to Extinction ?


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.

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.

Appeal Judgment to be Known July 29th

Last year’s victory by the conservation community to block the building of a road across the Serengeti was 101_114 - Copyappealed by the government of Tanzania.  Continued filings by the lawyer representing the interests to conserve the park have been submitted.  On June 10, the East African Court of Justice announced it will make its decision public at an open court session at the East African Community Headquarters in Arusha Tanzania.  The decision is to be made on July 29th, 2015.

The Africa Network for Animal Welfare along with supporters from Serengeti Watch, Love Animals, and many others including ANAW-USA, remain hopeful that the appeal will be denied closing another chapter on the continued pressure for commercial development of this wilderness area.  It is our mandate to forge on to protect the world’s largest migration of this kind for the millions of animals migrating between Tanzania and Kenya.

Saving the Serengeti, 23 Day’s Campaign

Only 23 days remain in our effort to raise what is becoming an incredible amount of money.  So far, in this campaign, $1,000 has been donated to block the construction of the a road across the Serengeti.  Thank you, thank you to the people who have donated so far. This adds to the tens of thousands of dollars already given in this battle.

I am asking one last time for your consideration, if you have not donated. Please consider a gift of any amount.  The Africa Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW) went out on a limb funding this case.  It has spent funds it really should not have, to bring attention to the degradation of migration routes across the Serengeti that affects the Maasia Mara in Kenya.

The Tanzanian Government appealed the case won in East African Court of Justice last year  Judgment-Ref.-No.9-of-2010-Final.  Winning the case thus far was accomplished in partnership and due to the efforts of Friends of the Serengeti and Serengeti Watch.  Their partnership with us has been phenomenal.   The appeal should be finalized in another ruling by the court very soon.

If you find it in your priorities to give to ANAW and this effort, the staff and board in Nairobi, as well as the board in Denver Colorado, will be very grateful.  You will be helping to recoup funds ANAW has lent to this cause, funds it does not really have to champion this cause.

Again, thank you to those of you who have made a contribution.  Everything and anything helps.  If you haven’t really thought about it, if you haven’t contributed, please consider this last request and visit the donation site.  I will keep you informed and post the ruling of the court decision to uphold or remove the current prohibition on building the road across this World Heritage Site.


Saving the Serengeti Migration Route

Dear Friends:

Only 30 days left to raise funding supporting the legal effort to block the building of a road across the Serengeti.  The Serengeti and Maasai Mara represent a world heritage site under siege.  Your contribution is important to the group I am working with, the Africa Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW) in Nairobi.  Please lead a hand, a gift of any amount is appreciated.  The effort so far has been supported in total by the Serengeti Watch people and their network.  It would not be accomplished with out Serengeti Watch.  A big thanks to their organization.  This last push rests with ANAW and and ANAW’s friends.  Can we count on your help?  Please go to the link below and make a contribution of any amount.

Check out related stories and reference to the legal battle taking place.   The status at this juncture of the “legal battle” is fully on the shoulders of ANAW.  Please join the community of conservation monitors and experts.



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.