Luggard, a lively three-year-old, limps behind the rest of his ragtag troupe of orphan elephants, halting to graze or rub against a tree. When he was just five months old, Luggard was found struggling to keep up with his herd in Kenya's Tsavo East National Park. He had been shot twice. One bullet pierced his left front foot, and another shattered his right, hind femur just above the knee joint. The calf was discovered "too late for succesful surgery," said Edwin Lusichi, 42, head keeper at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT) elephant nursery in Nairobi National Park, Luggard's new home. With the rest of the gang of 20 elephant babies in this unusual orphanage, Luggard comes charging with great enthusiasm, though hobbling heavily on his deformed leg, out of the bush for a 9:00 am feeding. The calves greedily slurp from oversized "baby bottles", rumbling contentedly and trumpeting excitedly as they ingest the special mix of human baby formula, water and vitamins. Each calf at the … [Read more...] about At Kenyan orphanage, baby elephants find a new life, and love
Maasai group of schools
Helping children and women in a rural Kenyan village is a satisfying mission for Invercargill resident Zoe Dawson. The 20-year-old is the New Zealand correspondent for the Children of Maasai Educational Programme, a not-for-profit charity that aims to protect children from harm and help them access education and health services. She is also one of the founders of House of Hope, a special-needs centre for children in Kumpa, about 80km from Kenyan capital Nairobi. "Poverty is not something that you can ignore. It's all fine if you see on TV, but once you go there and see in real life, it drives you to do more.'' Ms Dawson became interested in overseas charity work when she was 17. She spent six weeks in 2016 helping at a childcare centre in Capricorn, South Africa. "I was a typical teenager that wanted to do something and travel overseas. I was planning to go somewhere else, but one day I literally woke up and said to my mother that I would go to South Africa.'' Her first … [Read more...] about Student with a cause caring for Kenyan women, children
I’ve never met anyone like Barichera. A spry 61-year-old, he was waiting for me on a hilltop overlooking the savannah at Singita Grumeti, a 350,000-acre private reserve in Tanzania. Working 21-day shifts from a lookout, Barichera is part of Singita’s anti-poaching unit, responsible for ensuring that animals roaming into the reserve stay safe. Few people know the poacher’s mindset better – Barichera was one. As darkness descends, he tells me about his efforts to overpower elephants and rhinos. Like Singita’s other privileged guests, I obviously consider the destruction of these majestic creatures unconscionable – but a few minutes with Barichera remind me of how easy judgment can be for those who don’t know true hardship. Desperate, impoverished villagers see elephants as beasts that encroach on their homes, endanger their families and destroy their crops. When you are struggling to survive, the money and meat … [Read more...] about Lessons in Luxury: on safari with the wildlife poacher turned protector
Last week a Christian missionary, John Allen Chau, was killed by Sentinelese tribesmen on North Sentinel Island in the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago, apparently while attempting to approach these remote and little-understood people.Access to North Sentinel Island is heavily embargoed, primarily in order to prevent the transmission of disease to the Sentinelese, who sometimes violently refuse any form of contact with the outside world.Chau was bearing a copy of the Bible rather a camera, but this tragic and avoidable incident should also serve as a reminder that the wisdom and ethics of ‘tribal tourism’ are too often overlooked.It’s completely understandable that ancient cultures and ways of life, often unchanged for centuries, hold fascination for travellers. The thought of making connections between very different civilisations, and hopefully learning something that can improve one’s own society, is naturally appealing. But there is an inherent risk involved … [Read more...] about It’s intriguing and exotic, but can tribal tourism be ethical?
The number of girls undergoing female genital mutilation has fallen dramatically in east Africa over the past two decades, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal. The study, which looked at rates of FGM among girls aged 14 and under, suggests that prevalence in east Africa has dropped from 71.4% in 1995, to 8% in 2016. The reported falls in the rates of FGM are far greater than previous studies have suggested, though some in the development community have advised caution over the figures. In February, the United Nations Population Fund warned the number of women predicted to be mutilated each year could rise to 4.6 million by 2030, an increase driven by population growth in communities that carry out the practice. According to the study in the BMJ, the rates of FGM practised on children have fallen in north Africa, from 57.7% in 1990 to 14.1% in 2015. In west Africa, prevalence is also reported to have decreased from 73.6% in 1996 to 25.4% in 2017. The study … [Read more...] about FGM rates in east Africa drop from 71% to 8% in 20 years, study shows