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Through our Desert Lands and Wildlife Program, we work to ensure the long-term survival of native wildlife--not just in remnant populations but in ecologically meaningful numbers distributed across their historic ranges. A notable achievement has been 8 years of successfully defending the grasslands, wildlife and water of Otero Mesa—one of the largest remaining desert grasslands in North America--from proposed oil and gas development. We have also worked hard to build support for successful reintroduction of the Mexican wolf to its historic range in the Southwest through public outreach, advocacy and highlighting the potential economic value of wolves from ecotourism. To view this site as it was intended, please consider upgrading to a modern browser.In your current browser, some pages may not function or display correctly.
Part nature detective and part optical technician, Eric Medard has spent 25 years developing soundproofed infra-red equipment. The majority of pictures in this gallery were taken in Eric's garden in the west of France, except the otter and coypus, which were photographed near the river Aron, 40km from his home.
The brown bear was photographed in Slovenia, the genet and the garden dormouse in the south of France and the wild boar and fox in a forest near Eric’s house. The Suyian trust was set up by our family the Powys’s in order to raise the funds that will enable us to more effectively contribute towards the many initiatives that we have always been involved in.
The Suyian Trust, partners and friends of the Rumuruti Forest Association are organizing a walk dubbed 'Footsteps for Forests' to raise approximately USD 400,000 to be used in erecting a perimeter fence around the Rumuruti forest.
While Anne is busy planning the Footsteps for Forests walk..I have been busy visualising the footsteps in the forests! Footsteps for Forests will hold its very first walk to raise funds for the fencing of Rumuruti Forest.
We are inviting a member of each community who depend on the Uaso Narok and Uaso Nyiru rivers for their survival to walk with us. We will walk with camels that will carry all the kit, following the Ewaso Narok as it flows down a very dramatic and rocky gorge into the low country where it widens and meanders its way towards Samburu reserve across some of Kenya’s most arid and devastated country. The walk will be a really exciting and fascinating safari following the journey of two vital life-giving rivers that connect Laikipia with Samburu. We would like to get serious in action for forest conservation there is little time to waste, the rains have sort of come in some places the dust is still far too close to the surface in others and very soon people will forget the drought the lack of water the food shortages dry springs and massive loss of livestock. Rumuruti Forest is all but gone BUT there are still seeds in the ground there are saplings up to ten feet tall and the community do care they want a healthy forest for their future and for those downstream. This is how the idea of the walk evolved, the challenge of how does one begin to raise what will probably end up costing up to Kshs 30,000,000!(approx USD 390,000). It is with utter horror that I continue to watch the destruction of our forests while we debate on whose fault it was originally and who is going to pay for what, eventually. There is nothing as paralyzing as being faced with a crisis of such magnitude, knowing you have to do something, yet not having the foggiest idea what you ought to do.
Among the objectives of the Rumuruti Forest Association, a partner of Suyian Trust, is the erection of a perimeter fence around the forest to allow re-forestation and prevent further logging in the forest. Anne is going to walk for 2 weeks through the forest and water catchment areas to help raise funds to put up this fence and I think she may be holding the key to the tackling of our forest problem – doing the little she can, using what she does best.
After almost a year of anxiety, hard work and faltering, the MISITU YETU, UHAI WETU booklet is finally here! The 28 page booklet – written by Anne Powys and designed by me – is colourful, rich in pictorial content and simple in style. What excites me most about the booklet is its potential for influencing and transforming attitudes, particularly of people who live around forests, towards the protection of forests, use of forest products and the regeneration of destroyed forest areas.
I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend, it was inspirational meeting many like-minded people, some of whom had travelled miles to learn more and join up with ‘nature’ fun! We had a few things for sale: Elephant dung paper made by a women’s group in Laikipia, baskets from Rumuruti Forest, books, Suyian honey and some homemade cookies and chilli sauce!
I had pledged that any money from sales no matter how little must go to Rumuruti and Kirisia forest. We are proud to say that Suyian Ranch still has quite good cover on the ground despite carrying over 350 head of Samburu and Pokot cattle as well as Suyian livestock!


There is even more destruction by fires lit by the nomadic families when they are moving ‘bomas’. We have encouraged the youth groups in the Baawa area of Kirisia forest to talk to the young moranis who herd the cattle in and around the forests, to encourage better practice in the forest.
It is really encouraging to hear that people living around the forests would like to learn how to take care of them.
In an earlier post we mentioned the Rumuruti Forest Association (RFA) who are trying their best to  prevent further destruction of  the Rumuruti Forest.
We recently had a tragic incident where one of the scouts had his house destroyed by arsonists. My name is Patrick Mwangi I am a forest scout for the Rumuruti Forest Association in between taking care of my family. Some weeks ago, on a Sunday while my family and I were away from home, some unknown people came and set our house on fire.
Although we do not know exactly who was responsible, we do know that there are people in our community who do not like the work that I do.  They would like to clear this forest to grow crops and do not care about the destruction of the forest.
I was asked by worried friends of Rumuruti if I would give up now since I have no home and this kind of life is quite dangerous. While all eyes are currently on the Mau forest in Kenya we thought we could turn your attention, for just a bit, to the forest that is close to our hearts and which needs attention before it is too late – The Rumuruti Forest Reserve.
The Rumuruti forest a dry, upland forest, located North-East of Nyahururu town in Laikipia West District is a critical catchment for the Uaso Narok River which hundreds of people depend on for their water. The forest which was once intact with a closed canopy comprising the Juniperus procera (cedar) , Olea europea ssp cuspidatus (olive), Podocarpus latifolius, Podocarpus afrocarpus (podo) and many other indigenous trees, is currently under threat by wanton felling of trees, serious charcoal burning and extraction of wood for furniture making! In coming posts, we will tell you more about the forest, its beautiful flora, its unique fauna and about the efforts to save it by the people that live around and depend on it, so keep your sights trained on this blog…. WildlifeDirect is separately registered in the US (501-(c)3 not for profit) and Kenya (not for profit), aimed at helping endangered animals worldwide. WildlifeDirect ensures that 100% of your financial support (net of bank transfer fees) reaches your intended purpose. Cookies perform functions like recognising you each time you visit and delivering advertising messages that are relevant to you. As usual, I have been seeing things in pictures and here is what I thought would be a great identity for this campaign. The walk will take place in January (dates will be set very soon) through the Rumuruti Forest and will follow Uaso Narok river, which depends on the forest and provides surrounding communities with water all year round, until it joins up with the Uaso Nyiru its tributary.
By including people from as far away as Samburu reserve it makes us realise how many people actually rely on what happens upstream and that making this connection might shift us into a more urgent mode of thinking, acting and doing! This now makes this walk a commitment that I cannot escape from and if you care to join me on this quest please make contact now it should be a really fun walk!
The forest must be fenced to make restoration possible and we have to raise funds to make this happen. The selfish desires of a few individuals are threatening the very existence of a whole nation and we, for the most part, are passive. So when Anne said she would do what she knows best how to do – walk, I begun to think very differently about the whole situation. The Fence is meant to keep out people and larger wildlife which often destroy tree seedlings before they have a chance to mature. It has a Swahili translation and it is our intention that the information in it be accessible to people with middle to low literacy levels. I always give myself as an example of someone whose attitude towards conservation was completely transformed by just a little knowledge about plants and their importance, through one such book. There were many participants from across Kenya all with amazing stories and ongoing projects in conservation from birds to craters, bees, reptiles, vultures, forests and more. This often brings us closer to our environment, if we can relate to the plants we need and use in our daily lives – herbal teas, creams, food and of course all the local medicinal herbs too.


We managed to come away with $90 which went straight to the Kirisia youth group (by mpesa) who spent the next week pulling dead cattle out of all the seasonal rivers in their area (which are dry) ready for the next rains. As you can imagine, it is challenging taking care of our own livestock with these dry conditions and still find the time and the energy to work with forests in need.
The wildlife still looks okay, though older animals look as though they might go down very soon. We are all suffering the crippling effects of the very dry conditions since the long rains in April failed over most of Kenya.
The talks have gone very well so far, young people sharing their concerns for their forest and discussing the way forward on how best to protect this vital livelihood resource without which the people would not be able to survive. One of the initiatives of this association is the deployment of forest scouts to work alongside the Kenya Forest Service scouts in preventing further logging.
I have been doing this work because I care about the forest, I am interested in herbal medicine and I have been taught how to treat others.
But my answer is this, I care about the forest too much and no matter what happens I will never give up. The Suyian Trust and the RFA have decided to raise funds to help him and his family build a new house and get their lives back on track.
The Narok is the main tributary for the Uaso Nyiru river which flows all the way to Samburu National Park and beyond to Haberswein. If the destruction can be stopped immediately and reforestation begun the forest can be regenerated.
No administration fee is taken for the funds that are transferred through us so that the financial support, net only of bank fees, can go where it was intended in its entirety. Sorry but we simply cannot keep up with this collective trend of pretending that there is nothing wrong, believe me our livelihoods depend entirely on the health of what is left of our natural resources particularly our forests. We might have a few heated debates while the news is still hot but those will die off soon enough when we stop seeing the horrific pictures. I am going to write and tell you all about her idea, her plans and the actual walk for the forests and you are all going to contribute in your own little ways.
It will be distributed amongst the communities living around the forests in Laikipia whom we work with.
The few family groups of elephant that seem to be resident are thin but the calves still look all right. The flow of the Narok I would say is mainly due to a big Cyperus papyrus swamp further upstream which really ought to be treated like a forest and guarded jealously since it acts like an enormous sponge and is vital to the protection of this river. In years gone by the people only cut branches so that there was fodder for the next year but now whole trees are being felled!
Huge trees are cut down to harvest a spoonful of honey – the violation of the forests has reached such immense proportions!
What has come out most clearly through these talks is the lack of awareness on the part of this particular group of people. The RFA scouts who work on a voluntary basis do a great job, but unfortunately, not everyone is impressed by their zeal. The last part of the Uaso Nyiru flows through miles of very arid land occupied by pastoral people who depend entirely on this river for their survival. We hope that you will adopt one of these forest champions and sponsor them to do this two-week walk. Lions in the Suyian sanctuary took one elephant calf – perhaps the adult elephants were too weak to protect it? The more valiant of us will write letters of protest to some authority or other that we feel is responsible.



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