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.