Friendz of Wildlife is dedicated to wildlife conservation and awareness and education for local communities in areas of declining wildlife, and loss of forests, woodlands, and pastures. It is a non-governmental organization formed in July 2011.
Mama elephant brutally killed for her tusks
"I cried loudly when I saw the carcass. It's horror and beyond what humans can do. I have been praying for its survival and safety from the greedy butchers who will value money they get from sale of its ivory, rather than the beauty, elegance, role in food chain, aesthetic value and more importantly the 3 juvenile calves who had parental care in form of comfort, training, security and belonging through her. The calves may survive from the butchers since they have no tusks, that caused their mother’s death, and are not mature enough to escape lion attacks. Their trauma is unimaginable though." -- Letter from Isack Fayo
Wildlife, and particularly elephants, cannot be conserved without partnership and participation of the local communities near which the wildlife lives. Today, adult elephants are routinely killed as they visit their natural watering holes. Some have been killed while pregnant. Calves roam the area, having survived by sheer luck of not having grown tusks. Mothers, adopting two other calves besides her own, have been witnessed, and some of them have fallen prey to poachers, leaving the three calves on their own. This has caused a generational gap in the existing elephant population and transfer of survival skills provided in the parental care to the calves.
Friendz of Wildlife is making what may be considered a last attempt to save the wildlife by making the communities own it and benefit from it, for sustainability and benefits to the current and subsequent generations
Kenya’s growing human population and settlements have steadily and negatively impacted environmental and wildlife resources. This negative impact has led to increased conflicts between people and wildlife.
There are costs visited on the communities for coexisting with wildlife, but there are benefits, too. More than half of the adult population of the elephants that were roaming themeru bisanadi dispersal area even two years ago are dead from poaching by some members of the communities in which the animals had hitherto lived peacefully. Price surge related to demands of ivory from Asian countries is the main cause of this poaching.
Reversing these challenges calls for constant, concerted and all-inclusive efforts that give much accommodation for the local communities. This is the goal of Friendz of Wildlife. Their objectives are:
- Community behavior change education.
- Enhancement of community natural resource benefits wisely, sparingly and without waste.
- Formulation of policies on ownership, conservation and benefits of natural resources.
- Participatory and community biodiversity and natural resource conservation and policing.
- Youth empowerment through nurturing of unidentified, potentially beneficial, held talents.
The following information and photos are posted on the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust website.
"In the general area known as Lemomo near the International Border between Tanzania and Kenya, three of Amboseli’s famous female elephants from the Q Family (Qumquat, her daughter Quantina 13 years old, and another daughter Quaye just 10 years old) were gunned down by Tanzanian gun-toting poachers on the 28th October 2012. Tanzania is currently one of the main hotspots for poaching in Africa where there is evidence of collusion between armed Tanzanian poachers and tribesmen in neighbouring Kenya who pass on information about the movement of the famous Amboseli elephant herds.
Traditionally Amboseli elephants migrate into the Kilimanjaro forests within Tanzania and have done so since time memorial, which is an ancient migratory route firmly implanted within their mysterious genetic memory. The Amboseli population is the only elephant population in Africa where some Elephant families remain naturally intact, led by old, wise Matriarchs, such as Qumquat, many of whom carry sizeable tusks as do some of the old Bulls, such as “Ezra” (who was also senselessly killed, not by Poachers, but by disgruntled Masai tribesmen demanding more of the tourist revenue from the Park.) The famous Matriarch known as Qumquat was born in l968, and was one of Amboseli’s famously identifiable icons. Having been studied for years by the Amboseli Trust for Elephants, she and her family, just 24 hours previously, were photographed together by Big Life’s Nick Brandt, and they were calm and trusting of their human admirers. Quantina’s young first born calf of just six months old remains missing to this day, but fortunately Quanza, Qumquat’s latest calf was spared.
In fact, Matriarch Qumquat had been successfully treated for gunshot wounds in March 2009 by Dr. David Ndeereh, then the KWS Veterinarian seconded to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Tsavo Mobile Veterinary Unit.
She survived that poaching incident and lived on as an international icon with a magnificent and awe-inspiring presence, a lovely gentle nature and wonderful leadership qualities.
Dr. Cynthia Moss and her team of researchers have monitored the Amboseli elephant population over the past 40, meticulously recording all elephant “hatches, matches and dispatches”, following elephant lives thereafter so the Amboseli elephants have been the subject of numerous documentaries and films, which have brought world-wide acclaim to Kenya, not to mention the tourist revenue aspect. Their lives are followed by literally millions of caring people world-wide. The death of each and every one of their number is an appalling indictment on the evil Ivory Trade and the avaricious greed of humankind.
The brutal killing of the beautiful Matriarch Qumquat is a very real loss to the world as a whole and the images of her mutilated face hacked in half by axes to dislodge her beautiful slender tusks, out of which to make a trinket, are particularly shocking. The appetite for ivory in Far Eastern Nations, and especially China, drives the current poaching epidemic and is decimating Africa’s priceless Elephant herds. Once only the prerogative of the rich, today ivory is affordable to China’s wealthier masses who also now regard it as a status symbol, and because of this less than 400,000 elephants remain alive in Africa today, whose numbers are falling rapidly. The Forest Elephants of Central Africa are nearing total annihilation, and many former Elephant Range States have been left with none at all!
What will the International Convention for Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) do to stop this madness when the Parties meet again in Thailand next year? Will they vote to ban all ivory and save the Elephants, or will they again vote for the greed for money driven by trade which has fuelled the current slaughter. Qumquat’s baby, Quanza, was still standing beside her dead mother when this horrific poaching incident was investigated. She was located and captured during the afternoon of the 30th October 2012 and flown back to the Nairobi Nursery that evening, arriving after dark, still in good health, but understandably very traumatized and “wild”, understanding full well who murdered her elephant mother and other family members. She probably even witnessed her mother’s face hacked in half and her beautiful long thin tusks being carried off by the thugs who shot her loved ones."
Elephants are not the only endangered animals in Kenya. Lions are also in danger. The following information was written by Sarah Enniskillen for her column, Talking Point, in Travel News. She wrote this article in November 2009. Sarah asks, "That was over 3 years ago. Why are people so slow to react???"
"The Kenya Wildlife Service warns us that the lion species is not only endangered in Kenya but will be extinct within twenty years! This figure is disputed by Panthera, a wild cat conservation group established in 2006, as being optimistic; ten years they say. The usual causes are given; human overpopulation, (Africa has the fastest growing human population of all continents), and habitat destruction through overgrazing by pastoralist stock. Another aspect is the decline of the herbivore populations which feed the lions through snaring and hunting with dogs for the bush meat trade.
This illegal trade is ongoing and unlikely to decrease as rural populations become poorer and hungrier. A further menace to the Kenyan lion is the use of lethal insecticides such as Furadan which are used to poison livestock carcasses and thus the predator. Furadan, which incidentally also accounts for the deaths of many thousands of smaller scavengers and vultures, should of course be banned. Thus the threat to the lions is enormous and so is the threat to Kenya’s tourist industry. A lion is reckoned to be worth something in the region of one million dollars in terms of the revenue it can bring into the country in its lifetime! It is estimated that there are only two thousand lions left. Will tourists still visit Kenya if there are no lions to see? Panthera has an ambitious project to establish a Pan African lion corridor from West Africa’s coastline, through the Sahel, then East Africa and on south into Southern Africa so that lion populations are not isolated in pockets throughout the continent. But until Kenyans are permitted through the new Wildlife Act to benefit financially from wildlife and obtain an income through the trickle-down effect of the tourism industry, all wildlife is under threat and Kenya’s Biggest Cat of all in particular."