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from Empowers Africa


A Summer of Conservation

The Empowers Africa crew had a very busy summer: a team from the Empowers Africa Board of Trustees participated in a conservation trip in South Africa with Wildlands and Wildlife ACT; another team climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for wildlife conservation; and our Director of Operations represented us at a major primate conference before visiting projects we support in Kenya. 

Conservation in South Africa 

At the Somkhanda Game Reserve in South Africa, members of our Board of Trustees and their families funded and participated in conservation activities including elephant and lion collaring as well as rhino de-horning. At the nearby Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary, they spent the day with orphaned rhinos. The trip was organized by Charity Travel and showcased the exceptional work of Wildlands, Wildlife ACT and Dr. Mike Toft of Kifaru Wildlife Veterinary Services. Filmmakers and Black Bean Productions' founders James Suter and Oli Caldow joined the trip to document every experience. 

Working With Elephant in Somkhanda

As part of the conservation trip, the team spent time at Somkhanda Game Reserve, a Big Five community game reserve where they helped fund and participate in an elephant collaring exercise. Collaring allows the conservation teams on the ground to monitor the elephant population as well as understand the social integration patterns and behavior of the herds and how they interact. 

During this specific outing, two elephant bulls were collared for conservation purposes. Collaring an animal that large can be extraordinarily tricky, but the experienced team made up of Wildlands/WildTrust, Wildlife ACT and Dr. Mike Toft of Kirafru Wildlife Veterinary Services ensured a successful collaring as well as the safety of the elephants and participants.

Collaring Lion on the Ground

While in the Somkhanda Game Reserve, the Empowers Africa team members also participated in the collaring of two lionesses and one male lion. Collaring lions is an essential way of determining patterns of movement, lion social structures and their interaction with humans, making it easier to mitigate any potential human-wildlife conflict. 

Dehorning Rhino with the Conservationists

The temporary de-horning (it grows back just like your fingernails) is one of the most effective methods used to keep rhinos safe from poachers. The Empowers Africa team helped in de-horning one individual and collaring a total of four rhinos (two black and three white).

Visiting Africa’s Largest Rhino Sanctuary

Following the hands-on collaring and de-horning initiatives, participants paid a visit to Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary. The sanctuary is the world’s largest orphan rhino rehabilitation center and is run by its founder, Petronel Nieuwoudt. Care for Wild is dedicated to the protection of rhinos and other endangered species and features a treatment and care center where animals are rehabilitated until they are healthy enough to be returned to the wild.
Conquering Africa’s Highest Mountain!
In June, our intrepid team conquered Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain. The trip, planned by Charity Travel, was designed to raise funds for the wildlife conservation and human empowerment projects Empowers Africa supports across the continent. 
The video below documents the team's ascent to the summit of Kilimanjaro - 19,341 feet. The view showcases the breathtaking scenery (literally) from the highest point on the continent!
Click to view video.
International Primatological Society Conference
Empowers Africa Director of Operations, Ally Lebron, attended the XXVII meeting of the International Primatological Society (IPS) at the United Nations headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. Ally presented on her past research into human-wildlife relations at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda and the implications for mountain gorilla conservation.

The theme of this year’s IPS Conference was titled Global Connectivity to Ensure the Future of Primates and brought together over 800 of the world's leading primate experts, scientists and researchers including representatives from the Jane Goodall Institute, Arcus Foundation, GRASPAfrican Wildlife Foundation as well as UN experts in areas such as climate change, deforestation, sustainable development and civil conflict.
Rhinos, Chimpanzees and Canines in Kenya
After presenting her research at the International Primatological Society (IPS), Ally headed to Ol Pejeta Conservancy on the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River in central Kenya’s Laikipia region with Asilia Africa. There, Ally witnessed Ol Pejeta’s incredible conservation efforts including the protection of over 110 critically endangered black rhinos, as well as the remaining two Northern white rhinos, Fatu and Najin.​
Ol Pejeta's impressive K9 Anti-Poaching Team works hard to protect the reserve, its rhinos and other endangered species  -- Grevy’s zebra, Jackson’s hartebeest, spotted hyena and the African wild dog to name a few. It is also the only place in Kenya to see chimpanzees in a dedicated sanctuary, founded in partnership with Jane Goodall.
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