From desnaring to relocation of animals, as well as deploying groundbreaking initiatives to reduce
human/wildlife conflict, Born Free Kenya is recognised as a major contributor to conservation.
The vibrant country of Kenya, with its diverse culture, mesmerising scenery and captivating wildlife, is the Born Free Foundation’s spiritual home. The relationship goes back 50 years, when the actors Bill Travers MBE and Virginia McKenna OBE journeyed to Kenya in 1964 to star in the classic wildlife film Born Free. “It was in Kenya that the animals, the landscape and the essence of Africa entered our soul, never to leave,” explains Virginia. “Having witnessed animals living free and wild, we knew those same animals should not be held captive.”
In 2002 Born Free Kenya was launched in Nairobi. The office has steadily grown and now has eight members of staff and a fleet of four Land Rovers, providing vital field support. The team was recently enhanced by the appointment of Dr Perez Olindo as Born Free Kenya’s Patron. Dr Olindo is a nationally acclaimed conservationist, having held prominent positions in wildlife protection including Director of the Kenya Wildlife Service. Today the Foundation’s widespread activities in Kenya include long-term elephant studies in Amboseli and Mount Elgon, support of the KWS including their vet unit and elephant and giraffe relocation, plus raising awareness to the threat of the bushmeat trade. Born Free Kenya’s efforts were recently recognised in the Kenya Yearbook 2014 as ‘major contributors in conservation’.
Meanwhile in the field, Born Free’s predator-proof boma project continues to help pastoralists safeguard their livestock at night. The 143 reinforced night enclosures have proved an incredible 98.4% effective in keeping sheep, goats and cattle safe from predators such as lions, hyenas and jackals. Following their success in Tsavo and Amboseli, the project is now being replicated in West Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.
Born Free’s de-snaring team is busy removing lethal wire snares and traps in the Naivasha and Nakuru conservation area, north east of Nairobi, before moving on to other critical parts of the country. Further afield, Born Free responded to a request from Kenya Wildlife Service to repair a broken-down water pump generator, supplying water to rhinos in Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary, in southern Kenya. Home to one of the largest black rhino populations in Kenya, the 91 sq km fenced sanctuary has 77 black rhinos. There has been a terrible resurgence in poaching for rhino horn and these precious animals are protected by rangers. The water pump is now fully operational and there is a continuous supply of water to the sanctuary’s water-holes.