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Winter 2017

ACC’s Conservation Safari to Kenya

In January 2017, I had the privilege of leading the African Conservation Centre’s (ACC’s) first Conservation Safari to Kenya. This was an exciting trip with seven wonderful guests, all of whom expressed delight to have undertaken this unique adventure.  Our team designed the safari to give our visitors special access to our conservation projects, partner projects and the people running them. Guided by our leading scientists and community leaders, we were able to experience wildlife in areas off the traditional tourist track, visit projects and people in diverse and stunning ecosystems and learn first-hand how ACC innovations are shaping the future of conservation.  ACC-US hopes to host these safaris annually so stay tuned for 2018 dates!

I hope you enjoy reading about and seeing highlights from our trip!

Carolyn Greene — Executive Director, ACC-US

Meeting ACC Staff

 

Our visitors met with Lucy Waruingi, Director of ACC (in pink above), and staff in Nairobi on their first full day in Kenya before heading to the bush the next day. ACC has a multi-disciplinary team of professionals in conservation biology, natural resource management, community conservation and Geographic Information Systems who are committed to ensuring the conservation of biodiversity while enhancing its values to the local communities.

It was a great way to begin the trip, allowing our guests to get a sense of the breadth of ACC’s work in Kenya, and to meet some of the people who would be joining us on different parts of our journey.

Walking with Baboons

World-renowned primatologist, Dr. Shirley Strum, led our guests on a visit to one of the longest running primate field studies in the world, the Uaso Ngiro Baboon Project. Our visitors had a chance to talk with Shirley while walking among a habituated troop of baboons at the beginning of their day.

Visiting the Women of the Twala Cultural Manyatta

Rosemary Putinoi, Manager of Twala

Our guests stayed two nights at the Twala Cultural Manyatta, getting a detailed view into Maasai culture and customs.  Guests had the chance to experience what it is like to carry 44 pounds of water over one

kilometer (not easy!) and to learn about Twala’s enterprise projects (aloe, bee keeping, beading, tourism).  

The Manyatta, run and managed by women, is located in the stunning wildlife filled Laikipia plateau, near Mount Kenya.

Gifting Cameras to Il Polei Secondary School

Our group presented two point and shoot cameras to Il Polei Secondary School and taught interested girls how to use them.  At first shy, the girls quickly opened up and began enthusiastically taking pictures of each other.  Dr. Strum’s baboon project provides an endowment to some of the girls that enables them to live at the school, bringing a brighter future for these young women. 
Wildlife Viewing 
Who is watching whom?
The safari provided our visitors with incredible wildlife viewing and photographic opportunities. We enjoyed seeing cheetah hunting in the Mara North Conservancy, fighting hippos in the Mara River, a mother leopard in the Maasai Mara Reserve, baboons in Laikipia, lion in Shompole, flamingoes in Magadi and of course, elephants and prolific plains game in Amboseli. Not to mention the spectacular birds in every location!
Meeting Dr. David Western
In Amboseli, our visitors were treated to the singular experience of spending time with world-renowned ecologist, founder of ACC and Amboseli expert, Dr. David WesternWhile joining our guests on game drives and at Tortilis Camp for meals, David explained ACC’s long-term efforts to understand and manage the Amboseli ecosystem for wildlife and people. Spending time with David and hearing his stories was a real treat for all of us!
AET-Kirrinkol Education Fund
ACC-US Executive Director Carolyn Greene with some of Joshua Kirrinkol’s brothers.
Our guests joined us for the launch of the Amboseli Ecosystem Trust-Kirrinkol Education Fund in honor of Joshua Kirrinkol, a beloved board member of ACC-US who passed away unexpectedly in January 2016. This memorial fund will support an education and outreach program at the new Noonkotiak Community Resource Centre near Josh’s Kenyan home just outside of Amboseli National Park. It was a touching experience and a moving day, shared with Josh’s family and friends.
South Rift Association of Landowners, Lale’enok & Rebuilding the Pride
Guests met with SORALO’s director, John Kamanga and Coordinator of Research & Education, Samantha du Toit, to learn about SORALO community conservation programs and the Lale’enok Resource Centre, owned by the Maasai women of Olkiramatian and Shompole group ranches. The centre brings together community scouts, local resource assessors, scientists, 
students and conservationists to collate information crucial to wildlife conservation and community development in the South Rift.  

We learned about Rebuilding the Pride from Guy Western while viewing lions in their South Rift
habitat. Rebuilding the Pride aims to increase lion and other carnivore numbers across the South Rift, linking the Mara, Amboseli and Tsavo into a viable meta-population. The project explores the basis of traditional practices among pastoralists that allow herders to coexist with wildlife and minimize conflict with predators. The lion serves as a signature species for conserving other large carnivores, including wild dogs, cheetah, leopards and striped and spotted hyenas.
Review from a Guest
“I can't even begin to explain how much I have learned and experienced in this trip. Seeing incredible wildlife is only a small part of it. More importantly, I learned so much about community-based eco system conservation: preserving the environmental diversity, protecting wildlife, and sustaining the livelihood of local communities - all three at the same time because they are intricately connected. Dr. David Western (the father of community-based conservation) and Dr. Shirley Strum ("mama baboon") have been great teachers and their lifetime dedication to science-based conservation has been inspiring. It has been a privilege to spend time with them. I also learned so much about Maasai culture and people. The Maasai are, seriously, some of the most eloquent and intelligent people I have met. Their lives are very harsh but the conservation movement gives them a chance for a better future and they will be able to play a significant role in it as well.

"Above all, I have learned that you should never give up on what you believe in. You can create a movement with many small steps along the way, as long as you have a clear vision and really believe in it.”    
 
                                                                -Ning Mosberger-Tang

How Your Gift Contributes to Biodiversity & Livelihood

As a 501c3 nonprofit organization, ACC-US relies on the generosity of individual donors and foundations to support the above conservation projects and many others.  Gifts of any size make a difference in ensuring these important wildlife conservation and community programs continue to thrive. Please make a tax-deductible donation today!
MAKE A GIFT

Special thanks to safari guest and new volunteer, Lisa Fiore for writing this e-newsletter and to all our safari friends for contributing photos!

I also want to thank Cheli & Peacock Safaris, ACC staff, partners, and community friends for making this safari so wonderful!

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