Category Archives: Education

Announcing the new Kenyan Kids on Safari Camp 2013

Our Kenyan Kids on Safari programme started in 2009 through the support of our friend Todd Cromwell. Initially, the programme involved taking children on safaris into Samburu National Reserve to give them a positive wildlife experience. Surprisingly, many children who live just on the edge of the Reserve have never even been inside.

Shivani introduces the upcoming KKOS Camp to students at Lpus Leluai Primary School.

More than 100 children have been taken on safari through this programme. We give the children digital cameras and binoculars so they can take their own photos, which we later print for them, so they share and remember their experiences in the Reserve. To date, Sasaab Lodge and Samburu Intrepids have supported this programme, and children from Sasaab village, Lpus Leluai, and Kiltamany Primary schools have benefitted from these safaris.

In 2013, we are initiating a new and exciting experience for children in Samburu. This month, we will hold a Kenyan Kids on Safari Camp in Westgate Community Conservancy. From April 17—20, children will be taken on bird walks, game drives, watch wildlife films and documentaries, and participate in workshops and sporting events. On the final day, four local primary schools will participate in a Wildlife Drama competition.

Children from the four schools were selected to participate through a creative competition with the theme “Conservation and Conflict”. Seven children with the best artistic entries from each school were invited to participate in the Camp. The results from the creative competition were fantastic – we had lions made out of beans, birds made out of sand and much more!

> Read more about Kenyan Kids on Safari here.

Here are some of the winning entries from the creative art competition:

Children submitted entries into the art competition in order to get a spot in the KKOS Camp.

A lion made of beans! One of the entries for the art competition.

The following is a winning poem by Antonella Sainety:

Lion my best friend
Lion my friend I pitty you
Lion my friend I love your nature
Lion my friend I like your beauty

What can I do lion
What best fit you lion
Where better keeps lion
Why are you in danger

Sad to hear people complain
Sad to hear people hunting you
Sad to hear dead lions
Sad to miss lions in Kenya

Hoi lion extinctions!
Lion extinction hurts my heart
My ears
My brain
My spirit
And destroys the environment

Hoi lions bring benefits!
To students
To teachers
To parents
Hoi – conserve Lions!

Lions my heritage
The splendour of my country
The beauty of my mother land
Hoi Conserve lions for future generations

 

Ewaso Lions Sponsors Young Girl To Attend Secondary School

We have recently sponsored a young 15 year old Samburu girl, Painoti Letabare, to attend secondary school in Maralal, Samburu District. Painoti comes from the Westgate area in Westgate Conservancy and lives with her parents and younger siblings. She is the first from the family to be given the opportunity to attend secondary school after she completed primary school a few months ago.

Painoti studied at the Lpus Leluai Primary School where she attained 260 marks in the Primary School exams and was the top girl in the school. Her family who only have a few goats as livestock were unable to afford to send her to secondary school after she received admission in one of Samburu District’s best girls’ schools – Kisima High. Ewaso Lions followed her progress and learned about her family situation and decided to enroll young Painoti in our Bursary Programme to join Samson and Edward, the two boys Ewaso Lions is currently sponsoring.

We are excited to have Painoti attend secondary school and will keep you updated on her progress.

Painoti and mama

Painoti with her mother and youngest sister. Her mother is thrilled to send her oldest daughter to school

Painoti on her way to school
Painoti excited to be given the opportunity to go to school

Book Donation to Lpus Leluai

Thanks to the Desai Memorial Foundation, in Nairobi, Ewaso Lions was able to donate a large number of school text books that were lacking at the Lpus Leluai Primary School in Westgate Community Conservancy.  The headmaster, Johnson Lenasalia, met with all his teachers at the school and came up with a list of all the books that the growing number of children required.  With the final year examinations coming up, these books were urgently needed.  We approached the Desai Memorial Foundation who agreed to make the donation.  The books were delivered recently and there are some happy children at Lpus Leluai now!

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This is our second book donation to the school  –click here to read about the first donation.

Many thanks to the Desai Memorial Foundation for their continued support and donation.

Warriors And Scouts Training

We recently completed a successful 3 day training workshop with Warriors and Scouts from Westgate and Mpus Kutuk Conservancies.  Prior to the workshop, we conducted tests with all the participants using photos of predators and asked lengthy questions, to know more about what they knew prior to the training.  The training covered various aspects of wildlife conservation, including predator ecology and identification, wildlife monitoring, conflict issues, tracking, prey identification, grazing and much more.

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Ngila, Ewaso Lions Community Officer, speaking about Predator Proof Bomas and Improved Husbandry Methods

During the training

During the training

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Moses, Ewaso Lions Scout, explains the different predator tracks

participantsQ&A session with the participants

At the end of the training, we traveled to Samburu Reserve, where we went looking for all the predators the team had learned about.  We had a fantastic and extremely lucky game drive!  We saw 2 leopards, a newborn lion cub, 3 sub-adult lions chasing a leopard, and the two big resident male lions of Samburu.

Getting close to eles

Getting close to elephants

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Lguret makes an appearance

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Nashipai’s newborn

Leopard and lions

Leopard stuck in a tree with 3 lionesses at the bottom!

Watch this clip to see what happened to the leopard stuck in the tree…

Lions Chase Leopard in Samburu National Reserve

Thanks to Sasaab Lodge and our project vehicle, we were able to fit the team of 30.  The wardens of Samburu gave the warriors and scouts a talk on the reserve and its importance for wildlife and at the end of the tour, David from Save the Elephants, also spoke to the team about elephants and the current poaching crisis in the region.

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The team thoroughly enjoys their safari experience

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The team at Save the Elephants

It was a successful few days and everyone enjoyed it a lot.  Armed with all this new information and knowledge, the warriors and scouts traveled back to their home areas after a goat feast, excited to share their information and work hard to ensure the safety of wildlife in their home areas.  Lpuresi, one of the warriors from Westgate, said “We are proud of our wildlife and let us all be the messengers of conservation”.

As a result of the training, I completed a wildlife conservation training manual with a focus on predators which I hope to share with others involved in community conservation.

Local Samburu Children Go On Safari with Ewaso Lions

I always love going on game drives. But taking 31 laughing, bouncing, squirming little kids on a game drive is the best. Today we took kids from the local primary school into the park to get up close to wildlife. We piled the kids into two Land Cruisers along with two teachers and Ngila, our Community Officer. Sasaab Lodge graciously lent one of their vehicles.

Samburu kids on their first trip into the park.

The children belong to the Wildlife Club and Scout Club at the local school we support, Lpus Leluai. This school sits on the border of the park, and most of the children live nearby. Despite living next to the park, 28 of the kids today had never been inside Samburu National Reserve! This might sound impossible to some readers, but it’s true. That’s why we think this program – called Kenyan Kids on Safari – is a good one. It gives kids the opportunity to see wildlife safely and enjoyably. It allows them the excitement of a game drive, which most local people don’t get to experience.

I met the kids at Lpus school at 8am and they could hardly control themselves they were so excited. After a short talk on proper game drive etiquette such as staying inside the vehicle and talking quietly, we were off.

Me and the kids from the Wildlife/Scout Club at Lpus Leluai primary school. They are wearing their cool Club outfits!

We had great wildlife sightings. At one spot along the river, we found a fantastic scene of gerenuk, impala, reticulated giraffe, baboons, Beisa oryx, and Grevy’s zebra all browsing together.  We also spent time only a few meters away from a family of elephants. Many of the children looked rather worried to be so close to the large animals, but eventually their concern turned to wonder.

All morning long I had been keeping my eye out for one animal in particular: a lion. The sight of a lion would have made the day. And fortunately, sitting in the shade of the river bank, there was Pixie. Later, many of the kids said that seeing the simba was their favorite part.

Watching the lioness Pixie through binoculars.

The sun was harsh and the road was bumpy, and kids are kids. So by 1pm we began to head home and as we approached the school, the kids started singing. A great end to a perfect game drive.

Another great day of ‘Kenyan Kids on Safari’

Mara Connections

We recently returned from a fantastic trip to the famous Maasai Mara National Reserve.  Although this provided us with a wildlife spectacle that most of us had only dreamed about before, we also got to meet some amazing people doing important work and establish crucial connections.  We first met the hyena researchers from Michigan State University who are based in the Mara Triangle monitoring the hyena population in this area.  We bumped into them on the road where we were engrossed watching hyena behaviour with their young outside a den.  Andy, the researcher, commented that it was one of the first times he had seen a group of community members watch hyena for so long and take so many photos!  Andy and his colleague from the hyena project hosted us for a few hours at their camp and we got the chance to learn all about their research in the Mara.  It was a great meeting and we were excited to have stumbled upon the researchers.

In November 2009, I traveled to the Porini Camps in Ol Kinyei and Olare Orok Conservancies where I spent a few days training their guides on lions and other predators.  I wanted to visit the camps again and check in with the guides and the lions!  We visited the Porini Lion Camp in Olare Orok and had the great privilege to spend a few hours with Philip the manager and two of the guides, Jackson and Meshack.  Our group benefited immensely from learning all about how this successful conservancy came to be and the success of the Porini Lion Camp as well.  We all learned a lot and enjoyed the discussions tremendously.  I was pleased to hear that the lions in Olare Orok were all doing well and numbers had increased.  It is a fantastic place to visit with predators everywhere!

Olare Orok

Our group gets to learn all about Olare Orok Conservancy and a successful eco-tourist camp in a community area

On our last day in the Mara, we connected with the team from the Predator Aware Project in the Siana Conservancy.  I had made contact with Betsy and Nick from Siana last year and have always followed their exciting news and progress through their blog.  I was thrilled to meet them at last.  The team hosted us during lunch and we spent the afternoon learning all about the Conservancy, the important work that the scouts and team carry out and the challenges they face.  This interaction between the Maasai scouts and our Samburu team was a real pleasure to watch.  They shared stories, challenges and successes  about their work.  We look forward to reciprocating and collaborating with the Predator Aware Project  in the future and encourage you all to support this project who are doing such vital work in this part of the Mara.

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Learning about the Predator-Proof Bomas in the Siana Conservancy

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The Samburu team interacts with the Maasai scouts from the Siana Conservancy

A very special thanks to the Hyena Project Researchers, Olare Orok and Porini Lion Camp, and the Predator Aware Project in the Siana Conservancy for their hospitality, kindness and all the information and knowledge they shared with us.

Ewaso Lions visits the famous Maasai Mara

Thanks to our great friend and supporter Chip Owen, the Ewaso Lions team had a fantastic opportunity to visit the famous Maasai Mara Reserve in Southern Kenya, in early February.  This educational trip would give everyone the chance to see new wildlife, view a different landscape and interact with other conservationists, guides and Maasai community members.

We left Samburu early on the 2nd of February and stopped in Naivasha for the night.  Most of the team had never been past Nanyuki before and so every hour was an exciting moment as they saw the Rift Valley lakes and mountains such as Naivasha and Mt Longonot.  The group, equipped with binoculars and cameras, were really excited as we approached the vast open plains of the Mara and drove through the Sekenani Gate.  As soon as we entered, we saw topi, hartebeest and a large herd of buffalo.  The group was thrilled!  Topi, hartebeest, Thomson’s gazelle and eland were new animals and also seeing huge herds of buffalo.  At the moment we only have 5 buffalo in Samburu and Buffalo Springs and none in Westgate, so seeing more than 300 buffalo was something very special!

watching topi

Francis exclaims in excitement after seeing large herds of buffalo

We spent the first 2 nights camping in the Mara Triangle – a beautiful area at the base of the Oloololo Escarpment.  The third night was in the Musiara area (where we froze – it was so cold!) and the fourth night in the Siana Conservancy at the foothills of the Loitas.  This gave us a good view of the entire area and we pretty much covered the whole of the Mara in those 5 days.

setting up camp

Camping in Musiara

We were so fortunate to see a lot of wildlife during our stay in the Mara.  We barely had to look for lions – they were everywhere.  Mating lions in the Mara Conservancy, females and cubs at the Oloololo Escarpment and near the Mara Bridge, a huge pride of lions in Musiara and others dotted all over the landscape.  The guys especially enjoyed seeing males with huge manes – our lions in Samburu either have small manes or are maneless.   I particularly enjoyed seeing so many spotted hyena and spent hours watching their behaviour.  We also could not believe our luck when we saw a young male black rhino on the plains in the Mara Conservancy.  Other new animals included wildebeest (Jeneria’s favourite – he said he would not have left the Mara without seeing them!), Maasai giraffe, Maasai ostrich and loads of hippos everywhere.

watching hippo

Photographing spotted hyena

hippos and guys

Everyone loved seeing the hippos!

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A rare treat – a black rhino in the Mara Conservancy

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Lions at the stunning Oloololo Escarpment

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We had superb sightings of spotted hyena and watched their behaviour for hours

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Female with a bad eye mating with a huge male lion!

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A pride of 14 lions in the Musiara area – the first time for everyone to see such a large pride of lions

The trip was fantastic.  Jeneria loved the wildebeest. Francis said he wanted to take all his cows to the Mara to graze on all that grass! Jeremiah loved seeing large prides of lions and also the hippos. Lemeen enjoyed seeing topi and rhino.  Lekuraiyo had fun meeting new people and conservationists working in the Mara.  I loved being in the Mara Conservancy area.  It was well managed, not crowded, regularly patrolled by rangers and just stunning.

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The group on the border of Kenya and Tanzania

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The Ewaso Lions Team enjoying their first safari to the Maasai Mara

After leaving the Mara, we spent 1 night in Lake Nakuru National Park to break our return trip to Samburu.  This gave everyone a chance to see flamingos, loads of white rhino, Rothschild Giraffe and superb birdlife.  It was a great way to end our trip.

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White rhino and buffalo in Lake Nakuru National Park

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The team with David Daballen from Save the Elephants in Lake Nakuru National Park

We are all extremely grateful to Chip Owen for this opportunity to visit the Mara. It was a real eye-opener and we all learned so much to assist with our work in Samburu.

Please do read our next blog which will be about the various partners we met and conservancies we visited in the Mara and the successful programmes we learned about.

Opening the Simba Library

On the 22nd of November, Lpus Leluai Primary School located in Westgate Community Conservancy officially opened their new the Simba library, which Ewaso Lions made possible.  There were several dignitaries present for this occasion including Honorable Letimalo, the MP (Member of Parliament) for Samburu, the DC for Samburu and the Area Education Officers.

Scouts welcome

School Boy Scouts welcome Guest of Honour and other dignitaries

The new buildings were opened followed by the new Simba Library that Ewaso Lions started a few months ago.  Thanks to donations from my mother and other family members, and the Desai Memorial Foundation, the library is now stocked with enough books for the school, which has grown tremendously over the past few years.  Previously, more than 4 or 5 children would share 1 book.  Now there are enough books for the 100+ children that study in the school.

Opening library

Opening the new Simba Library

Books

The Simba Library

Following the opening of the new buildings and structures, we were entertained by some of the school children who sang, danced and read some fantastic poetry.  Beautiful Samburu ladies from the nearby villages also entertained the large crowd that had gathered for this special occasion.

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Large crowd at school opening

Kids sing

Samburu girls singing

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Samburu ladies entertain the guests

It was a very special day for all involved.  Ewaso Lions is committed to continuing our support for the school in the future.  We are currently sponsoring 2 boys who completed their education at the school in 2009.  We also started the Ewaso Lions Tree Project at the school and continue to make numerous donations of school supplies thanks to support from our donors. We have worked with the children on art competitions and taken them out in the reserves as part of our Kenyan Kids on Safari Programme.  Sales from our Simba Stories books will be used to set up the new Wildlife Club at the school.

Should you wish to make a donation of books for the library or provide any other assistance, please do get in touch with us!

Teachers on Safari

Ewaso Lions works closely with Lpus Leluai Primary School in Westgate Community Conservancy.  We have a number of projects with the school including Simba Stories, Trees Project and more recently the new Simba Library and Wildlife Club.  Thanks to donors we have made numerous donations of books, stationary, posters and much more to the school.  We have also taken the school children out on many game drives as part of our Kenya Kids on Safari programme.

Towards the end of term, the teachers and Headmaster of the school, Johnson Lenasalia, asked Ewaso Lions if we could arrange an educational tour for all teachers as an incentive trip.  Many of the new teachers had not seen much wildlife before and were keen to learn more.  We are also in the process of setting up a Wildlife Club at the school from sale profits of the Simba Stories book. This would be an ideal opportunity to encourage the teachers and get them excited about wildlife which they would share with their students.  I also personally wanted to thank them for their fantastic efforts in working together to create a suitable learning environment for the children over the past few years.

Sasaab Lodge in Westgate Conservancy generously agreed for us to use their vehicle and guide Daniel for the teacher’s safari.  Sasaab have been fantastic in promoting Kenya Kids on Safari and we would not be able to do any of this without their support. Thank you Sasaab Lodge and Ali and Tony Allport (the lodge managers) for your continued and much appreciated assistance.

We set off on the safari at 7:30 am.  The teachers were all super excited and enthusiastic about their trip.  Daniel and I spoke about everything to do with wildlife in the area and the importance of wildlife in general.  It was initially quite strange to be teaching teachers but we all got into it and had a fantastic day.  We had some superb elephant sightings and were extremely lucky to spot a lion in the distance as well.  The teachers learned about birds too.

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Emanuel, excited and a little nervous about being so close to elephants!

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William and Karimi see elephants close up for the first time

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Seeing a lion for the first time!

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Teachers, Daniel and myself during the safari

Here are some of the comments from the teachers:

“Personally I feel there is a need to appreciate this great game drive that Ewaso Lions and Sasaab have arranged for us.  We learned a lot and will share our knowledge with the children.  Paul, Supervisor of Wildlife Club”.

“Thank you very much for the game drive. I enjoyed it very much.  Seeing a lion in the wild for the first time was great.  Karimi, teacher sponsored by Sasaab“.

Special thanks to Sasaab Lodge and their guide Daniel, and Todd Cromwell from the Kenya Kids on Safari Programme for donation of cameras and binoculars for the safari.

Simba Stories makes a great gift this holiday!

Looking for a great gift that also supports a good cause? Take a look at our new book, Simba Stories.

Simba Stories is a collection of poems, stories and illustrations made by students from Lpus Leluai Primary School, and put together by Ewaso Lions.

These make great holiday gifts. Proceeds from book sales go to a wildlife club at the Lpus School. To buy online, click on the link below:

http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1508657?alt=Simba+Stories%2C+as+listed+under+Nonprofits+%26+Fundraising