A research camp with environmental organization Save the Elephants (STE) in Samburu National Reserve in Kenya fell victim to a flash flood last week, after the Ewaso Ng’iro River broke its banks. Fortunately, none of the researchers or employees were hurt, but the camp lost most of the equipment—including tents, food, computers, and collars—and data in the flood.
Operations Manager Lucy King estimated it would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to rebuild the facility. STE is now seeking donations to help with rebuilding efforts.
“We would like to extend our gratitude to our donors and partners who have already pledged funds for the rebuilding of the facility. They recognize that the elephant research projects we are conducting are too important to halt due to this calamity,” says Operations Manager Lucy King.
Another camp, the Elephant Watch Safari Camp, was also struck, leaving some employees trapped in trees for hours. Tourists and others were able to seek higher ground.
Two bridges in the Samburu National Reserve were also destroyed.
STE was founded by Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton, one of the world’s leading elephant experts. The organization works both on elephant research and conservation initiatives.
“It’s nothing short of a disaster, but we will take a deep breath and rebuild,” Iain Douglas-Hamilton told the Telegraph.
Infant elephant in Kenya. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.
(10/20/2009) Not many years ago if you were planning a trip to Africa to see wildlife, Kenya would be near the top of the list, if not number one. Then violent riots in late 2007 and early 2008 leaving a thousand dead tarnished the country’s image abroad. When calm and stability returned, Kenya was again open for tourism, and it’s true that most travelers were quick to forget: articles earlier this year announced that even with the global economic crisis Kenya was expecting tourism growth. However, a new disaster may not be so quickly overcome.
(10/20/2009) Nearly twenty years ago the ivory trade was banned by Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Many saw this as the most important step in preventing the continued loss of elephants at the hands of poachers, and for awhile poaching slowed down. But now elephants are in danger again: a report by the International Fund for Wildlife Welfare (IFWW) states that an astounding 38,000 elephants are killed for their tusks annually—over a hundred every day.
(04/29/2009) On April 25th two men were pursued by wildlife rangers from the Amboseli-Tsavo Game Scouts Association in Tanzania. The men escaped across the border to southern Kenya where they were caught by police, who had been tipped off by the wildlife scouts. The two men’s SUV contained 1,550 lbs (703 kilograms) of elephant tusks, representing a total of up to forty individuals according to the Kenyan Wildlife Service. This is considered the largest seizure in the region since the ivory smuggling boom of the late 1970s and early 1980s. The ivory is estimated at a value of $750,000 (or 60 million Kenyan shillings).