Want to help save African wildlife? Visit Africa.

Want to help save African wildlife? Visit Africa.

Nairobi — Standing in the pop-out of a Land Rover just a few yards from Fatu and Najin, the last two northern white rhinos in the world, at Ol Pejeta in central Kenya, was one of the most powerful experiences I’ve ever had.

The last two massive members of this subspecies live under armed guard 24 hours a day in a 700-acre enclosure here. Ol Pejeta is the largest rhino sanctuary in East Africa.

In an era when purpose-driven, transformative experiences are the ultimate travel luxury, a visit to Africa should be at the top of any traveler’s list.

Americans are often inspired by African wildlife: there was outrage two years ago when Cecil the lion was shot by a hunter in Zimbabwe; the Trump administration took heat last year when it said it would overturn a ban on the sale of elephant trophy imports from Africa; and in March, when the last male northern white rhino, Sudan, died here at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, the severity of rhino poaching got international attention.

For those who really want to help save African wildlife, I offer the same advice that Elodie Sampere, Ol Pejeta’s head of conservation marketing, gave to the group of journalists I was traveling with: “The best way to help is to visit, not donate.”

One of the most exciting parts of being here is seeing what the locals are doing to help conserve and protect the continent’s iconic species. Donating to causes from afar helps, but spending money in person shows the local communities that the animals are more valuable alive than dead. And in a selfie-driven era, visitors spread the word far more effectively about the importance of saving these delicate ecosystems.

Beyond that, experiences here can be life-changing, as mine were at Ol Pejeta. More than 85,000 visitors come here annually, taking game drives through Ol Pejeta’s plains, where I encountered elephants, lions and chimpanzees. The high amount of rainfall in this region compared with other parts of Africa means more vegetation, and Kenya’s highest density of wildlife outside of the Maasai Mara. The reserve uses advanced fencing techniques to facilitate the movement of wildlife while, as much as possible, keeping poachers out.

Visitors can either stay at a number of lodges on the conservancy or nearby, as we did, at the Fairmont Mount Kenya. Tour operators like Intrepid Travel offer trips that focus on visiting the last two northern white rhinos and donate part of their profits to protecting them.

Guests at the Fairmont Mount Kenya don’t even have to leave the property to get a taste of animal conservancy. The resort’s founder, 1950s film star William Holden, was a hunter turned conservationist who also founded the onsite Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy, which raises and rehabilitates orphaned and injured wildlife with the goal of releasing them back into the wild.

You can get far more up close and personal with cheetahs at the conservancy’s orphanage than you would in the wild. And cyclists setting off from the resort through the conservancy can see the rare white zebras, which are being bred and hopefully released back to the wild, as well as the mountain bongo, one of the most endangered animals in the world.

By Johanna Jainchill

African debt, Afghan voter violence, and post-Brexit Britain: The Cheat Sheet

African debt, Afghan voter violence, and post-Brexit Britain: The Cheat Sheet

Mixed messages on FGM

Female Genital Mutilation, which involves the partial or total removal of the external genitalia, is a ritual in many societies, particularly in the Middle East and Africa. It can lead to chronic pain, menstrual problems, cysts and some potentially life-threatening infections, among other complications. FGM rates among African children have shown “huge and significant decline” over the last two decades, a study by BMJ Global Health announced this week. East Africa has seen the biggest drop, from 71 percent in 1995 to eight percent in 2016. In North Africa, prevalence fell from nearly 60 percent in 1990 to 14 percent in 2015, and in West Africa rates dropped from 74 percent in 1996 to about 25 percent in 2017. But while campaigners welcomed the news, some advised caution saying FGM also affects teenagers and women not analysed in the study, meaning the overall numbers could still be far higher. And In February, the UN warned that the number of women predicted to be mutilated each year could rise from here to 4.6 million by 2030.

 

 

Why i study the most dangerous animal on earth!

Why i study the most dangerous animal on earth!

Find out why Fredros Okumu catches and studies these disease-carrying insects for a living

https://www.ted.com/talks/fredros_okumu_how_i_study_the_most_dangerous_animal_on_earth_the_mosquito?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=tedspread&fbclid=IwAR2IvRK9B2XeIZQ7tanqwXjuZF2GXr2iXph2Biw5fLk4fay_KaLzRDeUAtI

Ilhan Omar, a candidate for State Representative for Minnesota

Ilhan Omar, a candidate for State Representative for Minnesota

Although the U.S. did not elect its first female president Tuesday night, one woman still made history.

Former refugee Ilhan Omar, who proudly wears the hijab, became America’s first Somali-American Muslim woman legislator after she claimed a strong victory in the Minnesota House race.

The 34-year-old moved to the U.S. at the age of 12, after four years living in a Kenyan refugee camp following her escape from the Somali civil war, the Star Tribune reports. As well as her political duties, she is director of policy at Women Organizing Women Network—a group that aims to empower all women, particularly first and second generation immigrants, to become engaged citizens and community leaders.

Regional presidents, Machar joined South Sudan peace celebration

Regional presidents, Machar joined South Sudan peace celebration

Leaders from around the East Africa subregion ‘descended’ on the South Sudanese capital, Juba, to join the peace day celebrations.

Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, Somalia’s Mohammed Abdullahi Farmaajo, Sudan’s Omar Al-Bashir and Ethiopia’s president Sahle-Work Zewde, were among the dignitaries who joined the event.

Each of the the leaders presented a message to the government and people of South Sudan, stressing the need to maintain and work to protect the September 12 peace deal signed in Addis Ababa.

South Sudanese rebel leader and former first vice-president, Riek Machar, earlier returned to the country for the first time since 2016. He arrived in the capital, Juba, on Wednesday to join the event.

The former Vice President had fled to neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo in 2016 under a hail of gunfire when an earlier peace deal collapsed.

Machar and President Salva Kiir signed a new peace agreement last month in the latest attempt to end the five-year war which has claimed thousands of lives.

Riek Machar smiles as he walks outside surrounded by other people at the Juba airport

In a letter to President Salva Kiir earlier this week, Machar demanded to take charge of his security upon return to the youngest African nation.

International partners and mediators remain sceptical about the respect of this new deal following multiple ceasefire violations.

Source – African News

Chinese loans don’t bother me, Uhuru tells CNN

Chinese loans don’t bother me, Uhuru tells CNN

By ELVIS ONDIEKI

China isn’t Kenya’s only lender, Uhuru Kenyatta tells CNN

President Uhuru Kenyatta is questioning why Kenya’s debt critics only focus on debt owed to China while there are other states that have lent money to the country.

Mr Kenyatta says Kenya has a “healthy mix of debt” because the country’s lenders are not only China but also Japan, United States, and many others.

The president made the remarks in an interview with CNN‘s Richard Quest that was recorded last Friday and aired on Monday night.

Mr Quest was probing the president on whether he is weary of China’s “another agenda” in the loans it is giving to African states.

“Why are we focusing ourselves only on one lender?” Mr Kenyatta asked.

“As far as I am concerned, we have a very healthy mix of debt from the multilateral lenders — who are basically the World Bank and the African Development Bank — to bilateral lenders like Japan, China, France, all who are participating and working with us to help us achieve our objectives,” added Mr Kenyatta.

On the question of China’s intentions, he replied: “We have an infrastructure gap that we need to fill and we are going to work with our partners across the globe who are willing to partner and to work with us.”

The president noted that Japan is the biggest lender to Kenya’s port projects while France is a major funder of electricity generation projects.

He also insisted that Kenya’s high ratio of debt against the gross domestic product (GDP) does not bother him.

“What would worry me is if the debt that we have incurred has gone into recurrent expenditure, has gone into paying salaries or electricity bills and so on and so forth. But what we have utilised our debt for is to close the infrastructure gap,” he said.

Mr Quest also wanted to know whether Mr Kenyatta would be interested in having a review of the Constitution so he can serve for a third term.

“I’m not interested in a third term,” Mr Kenyatta replied.

He also disclosed that his “handshake” pact with ODM leader Raila Odinga was towards bringing an end to the animosity that engulfs Kenya every time an election is nearing.

“We’ve said, ‘Look, we don’t have to always agree on everything. But we can agree on things Kenya, and we can agree that this issue of cyclical elections has to come to an end,'” said Mr Kenyatta.​

Source – Daily Nation