Dedicated to the Co-existence of People and Nature in Africa
Gallmann Memorial Foundation's conservation efforts have equally emphasized the diverse flora in the area. One of GMF's successful eco-initiatives was discovering the eco-friendly energy of Lelechwa shrub, an excellent alternative to burning firewood.
CONSERVATION INITIATIVES INCLUDE:
Kuki first pioneered private anti-poaching in the early '80's when it became clear that, unless something was done to stop the slaughter, the survival of both elephant and rhino populations was threatened. Now, with 50 trained guards, the problem has abated despite the increased pressure along the borders.
However, the farmer/elephant conflict continues as the numbers of small-holdings surrounding the conservancy increases and both animals and farmers alike face a real risk when the former venture beyond the fence. The monitoring carried out by the security team and 20 Community Scouts (including 10 Monitors from the Pokot tribe) employed by GMF along the borders therefore proves invaluable. Maintaining the fence and updating equipment for the guards - binoculars, guns, radios, etc - is imperative.
One of Kuki's dreams has long been the establishment of a safe elephant corridor along their migration route in the Laikipia District to reduce the farmer/elephant conflict. In order to realise this ambition, she co-founded the Laikipia Elephant Project; collaring, studying and monitoring the movements of these majestic animals.
Further steps towards a more harmonious relationship between farmer and elephant have been taken with the employment of the 30 Community Scouts along the boundaries. Members of the local communities, they report any movements to and fro from the conservancy and actively dissuade the elephants from leaving, no mean feat. The use of a thorny, impenetrable indigenous cactus instead of the resource-sapping and aesthetically off-message electric fence is slowly being implemented.
A simple but effective conservation practice, tree planting has long been part of GMF policy; this year we are planting over 10,000 trees: African Olive, Terminalia brownii, Acacia abyssinica, Erytrina abyssinica, Protea gaguerdii, and Red Cedar which, since they constitute the primary habitat for the endangered Colobus monkey population here in the 2000 acres of original, protected Engelesha Forest, are of particular importance. Over 5000 trees have been planted in the last few months.
Trees are also regularly given to the local community and schools for planting and their medicinal properties imparted.
We are constantly engaged in new research and projects. Cosmology, community service, environmental education, reforestation, wildlife protection, essential oils extraction, and craft making are but a few areas of our evolving work.
Volunteers applying are required to be self-supporting and/or recipients of grants, and to have a specific background in the chosen subjects in addition to a minimum of two referees. Qualities of self-reliance, independence, leadership, dedication and stamina in addition to solid health and fitness and, last but certainly not least, respect for the local traditions and customs are a must. Behaviour in line with the above is expected.