Author Archives: Paula

Bushmeat education workshop begins in Tsavo

Tomorrow Wednesday 27th 2010, I and a team of highly experienced facilitators from Kenya and the USA will be conducting an educators’ training workshop in Tsavo West National Park.  The workshop which is funded by the USFWS Wildlife Without Borders Africa Program aims at training a selected group of environmental educators working in the western part of the Tsavo ecosystem. The officers are coming from Tsavo West National Park, Chyulu National Park, Taveta ex-poacher project and a Wildlife Clubs patron.

However, the demand for bushmeat education in the region, which is notorious for bushmeat poaching was far much higher than we could meet and we have received requests from Education Officers working in the area for inclusion in the training! And to prove how serious they are, the Officers accepted to participate in the training without getting any financial support from our side.

This workshop is the first of its kind to specifically focus on building the capacity of educators in bushmeat education. By training and equipping the educators on the ground with materials on bushmeat education we are hoping that the knowledge, skills and materials that we have will be used in Tsavo ecosystem for a long time rather than going to the ground ourselves to implement a one off education project that may not be sustainable.

The specific objectives of training these officers are;

1.      To increase their knowledge on the bushmeat crisis

2.      To build their skills on bushmeat education

3.      To provide them with relevant education materials for their education work.

4.      To enhance linkages and collaboration in education in the region

5.      To develop new bushmeat education materials

6.      To build local and international partnership in education

Some of the education materials we are using in this training have been donated by Africa Environmental Film Foundation, Born free Foundation, INCEF, Project WILD and RARE. KWS Tsavo West National Park is providing the training facility and logistical support for the training and outreach. We are also getting technical support from AFEW Giraffe Center, Amara Conservation and ANAW. Big thanks to Melinda, Heather and Natalie for their technical support form the USA.

Thanks YFC, Wildlifedirect, bloggers ……………..

I am grateful to YFC staff and members, Wildlifedirect staff and bloggers who sent words of encouragement to me following the attack. All your comments were very good. Some of them made me forget my predicament as people shared their ordeal in the hands of robbers, muggers etc. Please allow me to quote one here that made me laugh. It came from Theresa “… I was mugged in Spain on holiday, only 23 at the time. Just minding my own business and in a flash I was out of $800 and my passport. I was even foolish enough to give chase!”I imagined myself giving a chase to the six armed robbers!! That would have been suicidal although the scene would have been comical. That made me laugh at a time when I was so gloomy.

Although all comments really touched me, I can forget Minna words; “I’m so sorry for that injustice and sheer terror you have just gone through! And hope the robbers will soon be caught and punished! You are so brave working in such difficult and dangerous circumstances, and I wish you all the strength to get past this horrendous experience! With love from the other side of the world”

Thanks Paula, Joy, Sheryl, Steve, Dana, David Ogiga, William, Dino, Morgan, Phoebe, .. and all of you good people out thee who shared words of encouragement when I was down. You’re are true friends indeed.

Asante sana

Iregi Mwenja

Welcome to the Bushmeat blog

Many people associate me with primates’ conservation following the highly publicised breakthrough discovery of an isolated population of de Brazza’s monkey in northern Kenya. The de Brazza’s monkey is rare and highly threatened in Kenya. Until the discovery, western Kenya was a known eastern limit of the species distribution in Africa. The unique location where this new population is found – isolated mountain ranges of the arid north 200 km away from the hitherto known population and occurring to the East of the Great Valley, led to speculation of speciation and hence the great interest in this discovery.

However, I am not here to talk about monkey discovery in this bushmeat blog. The point I want to drive home is that I am not new to wildlife conservation and success for that matter and whatever I have achieved in the past is only a measure of the minimum.

To make sure I succeed in bushmeat, I decided to expand my knowledge and capacity to pilot bushmeat projects in Kenya by enrolling for a post-graduate course on Bushmeat under the prestigious MENTOR Fellowship program. The MENTOR (Mentoring for ENvironmental Training in Outreach and Resource Conservation) Fellowship Program was established by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the College of African Wildlife Management- Mweka, Tanzania, and the Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group to train and build the capacities of emerging conservation leaders in order to build a network of eastern Africa wildlife professionals who can lead efforts to reduce illegal and unsustainable bushmeat exploitation at local and regional levels. I am one of the eight Fellows under this program.

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The 8 MENTOR Fellows, 4 Mentors, the Program Coordinator USFWS Official and BCTF Director

More high profile African wildlife issues have long overshadowed illegal bushmeat exploitation. The illegal use of wild meat (bushmeat) is perhaps the least documented, but most far-reaching use of wildlife in eastern and southern Africa. It is believed to involve more people and to have a greater effect on wild animal populations, including those in protected areas, than any other wildlife activity. Due to lack of information, the problem is not getting the attention it deserves and very little has done so far.

Today, Bushmeat off take in Kenya is still seen as subsistence activity that has no impact on wildlife population. I beg to differ and that is the reason why I have started this blog to show you just how significant the level of bushmeat off take is in Kenya and the entire East Africa. Bushmeat use in Kenya is no longer a subsistence activity but a highly profitable illegal trade.

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yfc.jpg photos credit YFC and DSWT

Iregi Mwenja

USFWS MENTOR Fellow