Since October, 144 students and 24 teachers from our surrounding communities have attended conservation education days at Loisaba’s Conservation Centre. These days aim to connect those children living alongside wildlife with the conservation projects that are ongoing at Loisaba. The days allow the students to have fun whilst learning about the value and importance of wildlife conservation and habitat preservation on Loisaba.
In culmination to these education days, an essay competition was held last month discussing the importance of conservation. Prior to the task a brainstorming session on the essay question was held with all the students at their respective schools. Over 100 students aged 12-15 years old at Kirimon, Ewaso and Labarishereki primary schools took part! The main benefits of conservation mentioned in the essays were the opportunities of employment and scholarships that conservation offered and income generated from the sale of beads to tourists. Protection of endangered species was touched upon lightly. This is unsurprising given that many of these students have never seen many of the endangered species first hand. Consequently, Loisaba arranged for the top 3 scorers from each school to head to Ol Pejeta for a day.
Last week, the nine essay prize winners, accompanied by three teachers set off to Ol Pejeta to witness conservation first-hand. The first excitement of the day was seeing Ol Pejeta’s Ankole cattle herd, the students were amazed by their iconic, sweeping horns having never seen this breed of cattle before. It was the first of many new sights for the students!
Next stop was a visit to the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary, home to 39 chimpanzees. The students learned about what the chimps feed on, the ecology they live in and how they have been rescued from the illegal bush meat and pet trade. Given that chimpanzees are not native to Kenya, it was the first time any of the students and teachers had seen one before. They simply could not believe that people would use chimps for the illegal bush meat trade.
On then to meet Baraka, a tame blind black rhino and pay a visit to Sudan’s grave. The students spotted two lioness’s snoozing in the midday sun and giraffe, elephant and impala were out in force providing a wonderful game drive though out the day for the students.
It was a day of firsts for these students learning about the importance of the animal species themselves as well the multitude of benefits conservation provides. The future of Laikipia, Kenya and the continent as a whole lies firmly in the hands of the new generation and the decisions they will make in due course. We want to thank The Nature Conservancy and Loisaba Community Conservation Foundation for making this memorable day possible.