Keeping the African elephant alive - The East African

Keeping the African elephant alive

Friday November 29 2013

By Susan Muumbi

Chairman of Tsavo Trust Nzioki wa Makau was at the launch of the documentary White Gold in New York early this month, a 38-minute film narrated by Hillary Clinton, that chronicles the plight of the endangered African elephant.

White Gold looks at the trade in ivory and the devastation it has wrought on elephants in Africa, and particularly in Tsavo.

Nzioki explains what the trust does and how the former US secretary of state is helping to save elephants.

What is Tsavo Trust?

It is a non-profit organisation in support of wildlife conservation in the Tsavo conservation area, which covers Tsavo East and West national parks, as well as Kyulu Hills reserve and the Amboseli dispersal areas.

The team comprises of founder members Nzioki, who is chairman of the board, Tanya Saunders, the CEO, Ian Saunders, the chief operations officer and Richard Moller, the chief conservation officer and pilot of Tsavo Trust’s aircraft.

How is the former US secretary of state involved?

Hillary Clinton has a passion for the protection of threatened species, and a keen interest in the security of areas such as Tsavo.

As secretary of state she was involved in the direction of policy to ensure security in the Horn of Africa and adjacent countries, such as Kenya. She continues to be concerned about the issues, and champions the protection of elephants in Africa.

What next?

There has been too much talk, too many marches and campaigns. Now it is time to act. The three elements most in use at present are awareness creation, suppression of demand and supply, and protection of the elephant.

Of all these, only one deals with the live elephant — protection. We need more support for protection. Tsavo Trust helps protect the wildlife, even as our partners create awareness and help reduce demand for ivory.

The public can participate by supporting KWS initiatives and organisations such as Tsavo Trust, speak out when they see or hear something pertinent.

Law enforcement needs information on suspicious characters. Kenyans should not harbour poachers because they threaten security and livelihoods. Tourists will not come to see our cattle or sheep. They come because of our game.