Nature news

HR-3_Picture-by-Norbert-NottcherPaul Udoto brings us the latest from KWS

Wildlife documentaries galore
KWS, local TV station NTV and non-governmental organisation WildlifeDirect are jointly broadcasting wildlife documentaries to the Kenyan public. The one-year series on #NTVWild, a new television programme, is followed by in-depth panel discussions. In support of the series, documentary films have been donated by major blue chip producers and many independent filmmakers, including Disney Nature, Alan Root and BBC Worldwide. Kenya’s unique wildlife spectacles attract millions of tourists. The country has hosted major filmmakers over the decades who have made award-winning documentaries about such topics as the wildebeest migration, elephant families and big cats.

Anti-poaching – Ivory bonfire
This month sees the torching of Kenya’s vast stockpile of ivory after a two-day star-studded summit billed to include celebrities, presidents, philanthropists and business leaders as part of the country’s efforts to combat poaching and the illegal trade in ivory. An estimated 100 tons of ivory will be torched, the largest stockpile of ivory ever destroyed by any country, as proof of Kenya’s commitment to zero tolerance for poaching and the illegal ivory trade. The burning will be preceded by an exclusive Giants Club conference at the Mount Kenya Safari Club. The meeting is said to be one of the biggest government-led conservation conferences in Africa’s history. Delegates will also visit local conservation projects.

Conservation – Giraffes in peril
Various studies indicate that the giraffe population has plummeted by up to 40 per cent in the last 15 years in Africa – from 140,000 in 1999 to the current 80,000. Of the nine giraffe species documented in Africa, the West African giraffe is nearly extinct, with only 200 individuals left. The beautiful light brown and white Rothschild giraffe, distinguished by a lack of spots on its lower knees, is so endangered that if no action is taken it could follow the path of the West African giraffe.

Our new family

The Born Free Foundation has a brand new Leopard Family – each with a poignant story to tell, but now living happily at a rescue centre in South Africa

Zoo rescue – Kuma’s story
The first family member is beautiful Kuma from Ivory Coast in West Africa. Wild-born, his mother killed by poachers, he and his brother Tango were put on sale. An Italian man, Alberto Maine, bought the orphans but they quickly grew too hard to handle. Born Free offered the leopards a safe home at Shamwari, but the Ivory Coast government insisted they go to Abidijan Zoo. Conditions were appalling and Tango broke out from his cage and was killed. Kuma was distraught and Born Free redoubled their efforts to bring him to Shamwari. The government eventually agreed and he arrived in 1999 and now enjoys life in his wonderful enclosure.

Sudan rescue – a tale of triplets
Triplets, Alam, Sami and Nimira were tiny cubs only two weeks old when found without their mother in the Sudan desert, back in 2001. The brothers and sister were too small to survive alone and their plight came to the attention of Virginia Lundin, who was put in touch with Born Free. The cubs arrived at Shamwari and today enjoy the freedom of their enclosure, using specially-built platforms to view the hills and gullies.

Cyprus rescue – mother and daughter
Finally Leda and her daughter Rhea were rescued from terrible circum-stances in Limassol Zoo, Cyprus, in June 2009. Here in their tiny cage there was nowhere to hide and few enrichments. Despite this deprived life the girls were dignified and serene when they arrived at Shamwari. Today they appreciate their privacy in the tranquility of the reserve.

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