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News and views from Tsavo Conservation Group (TsavoCon) in Kenya
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malkahalaku conservancy rangers passing out

Pride & Joy [2-minute movie]

Earlier this year, twenty-two anti-poaching ranger recruits from Malkahalaku Community Conservancy passed out from the Kenya Wildlife Service Law Enforcement Academy. This short video – less than 2 minutes – celebrates a passout parade with a difference…
Please click on the image above to view the movie
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Just like an iceberg…

Alluding to an iceberg when writing about Tsavo may seem strange, but I use this analogy to describe what it takes to develop a community conservancy. What you see at the front end – anti-poaching rangers on patrol, for example – gives little indication of the back-up that is needed, often out of sight and behind the scenes, to support these operations. And therefore we would like to say a special thank you to our many supporters who have helped to make it all possible.

These past few months, in line with our 'Stabilization through Conservation' (StabilCon) approach, we have been expanding our stewardship team and our working partnerships, increasing our reach and impact, ensuring robust progress on our projects and strong delivery of training, guidance and capacity where it is really needed. We are developing new operations infrastructure both in the conservancies and at TsavoCon HQ – our central ‘ops room’ is now fully functional, servicing both our projects in Malkahalaku and Taita Taveta. Our communications network is expanding; our anti-poaching and logistics aircraft is flying in Tsavo – increasing our efficiency and ability to cover more ground – and our vehicle fleet is growing in line with our growing operational responsibilities.

Tsavo’s community conservancies cannot succeed without this strong foundation underpinning their progress and securing their future – and none of this would be possible without the generosity of our supporters and the cooperation of our partners. Thank you all.

Our 'ops room' at TsavoCon HQ (above) is the nerve center of our operations, with live tracking and direct communications with our teams in the field. From here, our projects are planned, supported, tracked and monitored.

Our communications network is expanding (above). We initially installed digital radios in our ops room and vehicles, then began expanding the net into our operational areas.

In Malkahalaku Community Conservancy (above), our stewardship team is currently accommodated in tents, pending construction of a permanent Conservancy HQ. The expansion of our operational infrastructure includes accommodation for rangers and improved kitchen and sanitation facilities and a wider communications network. Our specially modified vehicles, adapted for extended operations in harsh conditions, are playing an invaluable role supporting not only the deployment of rangers and our stewardship teams but also the development of infrastructure.

The Eagle Has Landed [1-minute movie]

Earlier this year, following a long journey from the United States of America, TsavoCon's new anti-poaching and logistics aircraft finally landed in Tsavo, ready to start work. The aircraft is a Top Cub, ideally suited for its role supporting anti-poaching and logistics operations in Tsavo's conservancies.
Click on the image above to view 5Y-TTX's very first landing in Tsavo!

The power of engagement

One of the most important roles fulfilled by the newly graduated Malkahalaku Conservancy rangers (photos below) will always be close interaction and engagement with their own communities, a vital – but often underestimated - component of building stronger security, not only for their wildlife but also for the people of Malkahalaku and their livestock.
There's nothing quite like the TsavoCon's new anti-poaching and logistics aircraft to engage the interest of Malkahalaku's children, who had a great time being given a tour of the cockpit when our plane landed for the first time in the Conservancy.

The power of partnership

The Malkahalaku Community Conservancy Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held in Malindi, with members of the Malkahalaku Board, TsavoCon stewardship team and regional officials present. During the meeting, support for our ongoing partnership was confirmed by Malkahalaku’s community leaders, and for the Conservancy’s development plans, including a livestock management project. An emphasis on dialogue and working things out collectively shone through during the AGM discussions, with many questions being asked and answered by all participants present. Constructive meetings like this build stronger relationships between all members of the Malkahalaku community and their partners, while also acting as a forum for creating awareness of new government legislation affecting everyone living and working in rural Kenya and for addressing new ideas for implementation as their Conservancy develops. 

The photos below show Mohamed Kamanya, TsavoCon Coordinator for Tana River County addressing the Malkahalaku Conservancy AGM, and all the participants posing as a group afterwards.

Having already forged a formal partnership with the Taita Taveta Wildlife Conservancies Association, as reported in an earlier newsletter, TsavoCon has now signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the County Government of Taita Taveta. The aim of our cooperation under this MOU is to jointly implement our StabilCon approach in order to enable unity of purpose among all conservation stakeholders working in Taita Taveta, so that projects can be aligned with the County Government efforts and Kenya’s Constitution, which provides for sustainable sharing and conservation of natural resources.

The photos below show the Governor of Taita Taveta County, Hon. John Mruttu sharing a joke with Ian Saunders of TsavoCon, following the signing of our MOU.

As part of their commitment to this endeavour, the County Government of Taita Taveta have donated an office to the Taita Taveta Environmental Coordination initiative (TTECi). TTECi brings together the County Government of Taita Taveta, the Taita Taveta Wildlife Conservancies Association (representing the landowners), Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and Tsavo Conservation Group (TsavoCon), in an effort to align conservation strategy and implementation in the wildlife dispersal areas lying outside the National Parks, which are managed by KWS. TTECi aims to ensure that all stakeholders can work together in a coordinated way, ensuring mutual support and benefit.
Malkahalaku graduates passing out Manyani
Two of Taita Taveta's and Tsavo's finest: the region is famous for its large-tusked elephants.

Training, training, training

At TsavoCon, we are committed to providing training opportunities for our team in order to ensure that, as a stewardship organisation, we stay at the cutting edge of new conservation thinking and delivery. Four members of our team, including one of Malkahalaku Conservancy’s newly graduated rangers, recently attended a training course in the ‘Investigation and Prosecution of Wildlife Related Offences’. The training was conducted by Lawyers Without Borders and hosted by KWS at the Tsavo East Education Centre. The course included modules on crime scene investigation and management; generating the support and trust of the community; eye witness interview technique and testifying in court.

The photos below show members of the TsavoCon stewardship team alongside the trainers from Lawyers Without Borders, and Donald Mombo, TsavoCon Coordinator for Taita-Taveta County receiving his certificate after completing the course.

Malkahalaku Conservancy’s newly graduated rangers (below) also underwent in-situ continuation training, including modules on patrolling tactics, techniques and procedures, basic first aid and data collection on predation and human-wildlife conflict.

Tsavo - beyond elephants

Symphony & Synchrony

Symphony & Synchrony [2-minute movie]

Tsavo hosts Kenya’s largest elephant population, but it is also home to other creatures that like to stick together. Red-billed quelea birds congregate in their millions to breed. If you can spare just two minutes to relax in front of a gentle natural spectacle, take a look at the remarkable ebb and flow of the quelea flocks in this short video filmed from TsavoCon’s HQ… (Please click on the image to view)
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Please do share this newsletter with interested friends and family - thank you!
With warm wishes -
Tanya Saunders
Tanya Saunders
Executive Director  |  www.tsavocon.org
Tsavo Conservation Group logo
TSAVO CONSERVATION GROUP works to secure wilderness areas in Kenya’s iconic Tsavo landscape and beyond, for the benefit of wildlife, habitat and people. We achieve this by implementing our 'Stabilization through Conservation' approach with a focus on innovation, partnership and stewardship.
TSAVO CONSERVATION GROUP is a US 501(c)(3) non-profit with its field headquarters in Tsavo, Kenya.

 
KENYA:
Tsavo Conservation Group, PO Box 101-90128, Mtito Andei, Kenya
USA:
c/o StrataPoint Financial, Attn: Stephanie Lanier, PO Box 511, Oak Creek, WI 53154, USA
Copyright © 2016 TSAVO CONSERVATION GROUP, All rights reserved.


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