Facts about Ol ari Nyiro:
OAN was in the news last year 2013, for the discovery, within a few months, of two species new to science : a butterfly, only known from the Engelesha forest, discovered by Mike Roberts, and named Aslauga gallmannae (Libert & Collins 2013) and a new Frog, Tomopterna gallmanni, Wasonga & Channing 2013- discovered by Museum researcher Victor Wasonga (Photo above).
At this time the Kenya Water Tower agency is planning to gazette Ol Ari Nyiro as a WATER TOWER ( they sent a team to assess OAN Vegetation and ground water, and with
more to follow,
We aknowledge with gratitude parastatals, organizations and individuals who have been and are invaluable in this ongoing quest:
Land of Hope, project Phoenix, and the Snake of Good Luck
MAINA AT WORK ON BATHROOM NO. 1
OUR NEW 'SITTING ROOM" (OH , WELL..)
Staff got presents: on burnt tree new leaves sprout...
.. and, with the superiority of Nature, shy, in the night, elephants come, nonetheless!
Further to my earlier message, here some more images of the tragic fire damage at OL ARI NYIRO.
In addition to the staff quarters and buy content and rebuild from zero the research camp with students researchers and volunteers Banda, -and their mess area- of which NOTHING is left.
Unprecedented and terrifying speed and ordinary extinguishers could not help.
If any of you or your friends feel that the work we have been doing with the GMF/ GAC is valuable, we would so gratefully accept any donation.
WE MUST REBUILD.
Italian friends of Maisha Marefu have donated for emergency staff housing and we have ordered initially 10 metal structures - delivered to day.
A sad hug to all, from Kenya as we try to figure it out.
Kuki with Sveva and team
We have a pay pal number for online donations here
rebuilding the staff accommodation first; we need urgently to re-build the researchers/ volunteers/students banda and the Peace Village_all gone.
the research centre banda accommodation: only standing is the toilet section.
beginning to rebuild staff section
gift of mattresses and bed for some of the staff
SIMON, JOSEPH, JOSEPHAT, MAMA, ABOTO, WAWERU, MAINA
At noon on Sunday 9th March, Ol ari Nyiro was taken over by a destructive malicious bush fire.
Carried by unprecented high winds, sparks of the dry fluffy Lelechwa flew over the massive double and triple firebreaks we had been working at incessantly since October, landed on tall dry grass and started new fires everywhere.
An army of flames charged down from our boundaries with terrifying speed. From Sunday morning to Thursday evening we fought an inferno. We needed a miracle. Then the spirit of the Grandmothers sent unexpected a shower of rain in answer to our prayers - and the fires died leaving smoking ruins and broken buildings. We cannot even begin to take in the extent of this damage. We lost all the centre bandas, the mess area, the volunteers accommodation, the stores, a good part of Sveva's house, all building materials, water tanks melted, spares, furniture, equipment, tentage, and most of the houses at our ecovillage, 10 of the staff houses and all their content- staff food, supplies, their personal treasures.
The girls at the Wilderness Education Centre where we host local kids for free, ran inside the water as the Lelechwa around it went up in flames, but we managed to rescue at least those buildings.
A blessing: the fire was very fast, the grass will grow back: and importantly, however, we managed to save all the large trees; the Enghelesha forest, all the sacred Mukutan gorge, all the big trees at Llera, lugga Tunkuri , the Olive groves of Ngobithu,Ol Donyo Oriu,
and Mlima Kissu.
In the choking smoke next to centre firebreaks, a small confused bird flew on me and clutched my hair.
That gave me a measure of strength. I felt so honoured.
I am determined to rebuild. Somehow, even as the enormity of this task is just daunting. After days and nights of fight and no sleep these images speak for themselves. We have all lost our voice. Exausted and difficult to know where to begin.
My determination to protect the wild and voiceless from the mindless devastation of human greed remains untarnished.
Kuki with Sveva and the weary gallant team Of Ol ari Nyiro Laikipia Nature Conservancy We need help.ANY help.
>>>> PS WE ARE GRATEFUL TO OUR FRIENDS WHO CAME TO RESCUE - FLY OVER THE FIRES COMFORT US AND SENT THEIR TEAMS AND EVEN FOOD AND ITEMS FOR OUR STAFF WHO LOST THE LITTLE THEY HAD.
For flying and ground support:
>>> Gilfrid Powys and Suyan team
>>> Marc Jenkins and Jochen Zeit Segera team
>>> Martin Evans Ol Maisor
>>> Claus Mortensen and Mugie Team
>>> Bianca - who drove up and was caught amongst two fires
>>> Mia and Sveva 's Friends who sent up food and gifts for staff
>>> Especially :
>>> The boys of the Pokot Youth Peace Team
>>> The neighbors youth and Elders of Tebelekwa,
>>> The neighbors youth and elders of Mutaro
>>> The neighbours of Ndidika
>>> The KWS.
>>> The Kenya Police
>>> The Ol Moran AP
>>> The Ol Moran scouts
>>> The EXTRAORDINARY team of OL ARI NYIRO with Patrick Ali, Martin Muthaura, Chelule Moses, Tom Merinyo, Joseph Plesian, Lenawasae Thomas, Kamaiteke Enock, Maina Biwott, Paulina Lendorope, Nkala Emanuel, Lentayon Macharia, Evelyn Bernice, Nixon Juma, Dennis Mary, Anomat Selina, Koech Gilbert, the Rangers, cooks, Girls: too many to mention: champions.
>>> I myself was too devastated, too tired to sit and email earlier.
On WORLD WILDLIFE DAY my message and a thought to the voiceless beautiful and frail creatures of Nature who have the same right to exist and to be respected that we have.
With special regards
From Ol Ari Nyiro
Laikipia Nature Conservancy on the Great Rift Valley
By Kuki Gallmann
March 3rd 2014 has been chosen to celebrate the First World Wildlife Day.
It is significant that when the world is losing species of animals and plants at an unprecedented rate, and elephant and rhino, if the trend continues, face a possible extinction, people who care are coming together throughout the world, to celebrate the beauty and mystery of the millions creatures we share our planet with, and to pledge our responsibility to protect them.
A new awakening to the importance of wildlife and biodiversity and all life forms, is at last dawning on humanity, and the awareness that urgent action must be taken before it is too late.
The planet only has so many acres: we cannot expand nor stretch its carrying capacity. Poaching, pollution and human encroachment have taken their toll on the wild things.
But, since it is man made, this destruction can be corrected by human action. We must act before it is too late.
We have invaded their space, destroyed their natural habitats, interrupted their ancient migratory routes.
We have cut down their forests, polluted their waters, criss crossed their skies with wires, and dug up the soil of their homes probing into the depth of the earth in our insatiable search for oils and minerals.
We have killed them and mutilated them to rob them of their tusks and horns, skin, fur, glands, fins.
We have pursued them even in the protected areas of national parks, set aside especially as their sacred refuge.
Wise and patient, with inherited determination, fewer and fewer the survivors still continue with their journeys through the skies, earth, and oceans.
The terrestrial migrants are wary of humans. They move silently with the favour of darkness, the only sign of their presence their tracks in the dust of bush trails in the early morning sun.
Even in Kenya, when only in the early seventies, when I came from Italy to live here, one had to stop the car on the way from Embakasi airport to Nairobi to allow the giraffe to pass, things have changed for the Wild, and not for the better.
The huge herds that once roamed the plains are a memory of the past. The forest cover has been reduced by illegal logging charcoal burning and farms.
But there is the positive side, too.
Kenya is now leading in the antipoaching campaign.
Led from the top and at the same time sprouting spontaneously at the grass roots and reaching out to all people, a number of successful initiatives have been launched, to create awareness about the ongoing poaching crisis. I applaud the firm stand Kenya has taken to punish wildlife crimes.
“ Poaching and the destruction of the environment have no future in this country” said President Uhuru Kenyatta on his inauguration, in an unprecedented statement of support for the war against wildlife crimes. Soon after, the President signed the New Wildlife bill into law.
The legislation in Kenya hence changed, and the penalties of 20.000.000 shillings or life in jail, are at long last a serious deterrent for the greedy criminals who have decimated our wildlife.
Action must be taken at every level, without delay.
As we are vigilant in the present, we need now to plan the future: we must at last ensure that all children in this country learn about their own natural inheritance as a matter of course, from primary school, as an obligatory part of the curriculum. Childhood impressions last for ever.
Children who are taught from infancy the respect for and the value of all the wild creatures, are enthralled by the intricate magic of life diversity, their importance for the survival of all things, humankind included, and a generation of caring and responsible adults can be hatched.
My message on World Wildlife day is the need to take action.
To give the ones who do not vote a voice. To find again the lost reverence for the great trees, the respect for the large and the small creatures on which the chain of life depends.
Never like today does humankind have the tools to protect what it has never been easier to destroy.
We can do something about it: and if we can, we must.
The very survival of all life forms on the planet depends on our action today.
For “what happens to beast soon happens to man: ALL IS CONNECTED”.
Kuki Gallmann is a Kenyan conservationist, environmental activist and author, and an Ambassador for the Migratory Species for The Convention for Migratory Species (CMS /UNEP ). She is a Honorary Game Warden for the Kenya Wildlife Services.
In memory of her late husband and son she founded The Gallmann Memorial Foundation (GMF), a trust Dedicated to the Coexistence of People and Nature in Africa. The GMF works in wildlife and antipoaching, environment protection, education, community service, peace and reconciliation through Arts and Sports.
She is the recipient of many international awards for her work in Kenya. She lives, with her daughter Sveva-Makena in Ol ari Nyiro (The Place of Springs), on the extreme West of the Laikipia region, on the edge of the Great Rift valley since over forty years.
She has transformed Ol ari Nyiro into a protected area without any livestock, a jewel of biodiversity in Laikipia, where all life is respected and archaeological sites have been found.
Set on the birds migratory routes, Ol ari Nyiro has the only remaining relic forest in the area, Enghelesha, and the dramatic Mukutan Gorge, considered a treasure throve for rare plants, birds and insects. It is the water shed for the great Rift Valley lakes of Baringo that include Lake Bogoria World Heritage Site.
Due to the strict protection of the environment, exceptional discoveries were made in Ol ari Nyiro two of which occurred in 2013, when within a few months two species new to science were discovered in Ol ari Nyiro by scientists of the Department of Zoology of the National History museum.
It shows that if let alone and cared, for, nature heals herself
A new species of butterfly, endemic to the Forest of Enghelesha: - Aslauga gallmannae*-
A new species of frog : Tomopterna gallmanni **
* ‘Metamorphosis’, Vol.24:3-6. Lippert and Collins
** ZOOTAXA ISSN 1175-5326 (print edition) ISSN 1175-5334 (online edition) -SP Anura: Pyxicephalidae: A species of NEW sand frog formerly unknown to science
Around the time of Christmas, one is overwhelmed with wonderful updates of the great work of colleagues and organizations, and for our past year's update we felt we needed a bit of perspective to balance the good,- the bad -of twelve complex months packed with action, that flew faster than most.
On the last day of January I can do this now.
In the great balance of things 2013 was a good overall, if a challenging year, for us up in Ol ari Nyiro.
The worst thing to happen in Kenya was the tragedy of Westgate- striking as it did in the midst of World Peace Day celebrations,- and for us during our annual Sports for Peace event, the Laikipia Highlands games.
Up here bad was the fires of February, the floods of August, the wounding in action of one of our men, and the four elephant poaching casualties: the image of the female and her unborn calf hunted my dreams and of thousands through the world as a symbol of the horror, waste, and random cruelty of the heartless elephant holocaust.
But much good balanced all this:The improved security and extensive intelligence, KWS help and a new vehicle helped in monitoring intrusions, with only 4 casualties throughout the year compared with forty four in 2012; the solidarity of our friends, who supported the laborious and costly task of creating hundreds of Km of fire firebreaks, and of our neighbours who all came to help putting out the fires. Now we have embarked on the harrowing task of opening fire breaks again, our brave old D6 cutting sections through the Lelechwa bush since OCTOBER, have completed over 200 km and need help to move on.
But, on the Community side, the triumph has been the massive, positive success of our community relations, and the completion- at last- of the buildings of our Land of Hope Community Project, in which so much time, love, energy and funds have been invested.
And, on the Environment, due to the single minded determination to protect the extraordinarily varied habitat of Ol ari Nyiro- shared by creatures small and large-, the DISCOVERY - and NAMING after us!- OF TWO SPECIES NEW TO SCIENCE- a butterfly and a frog-, WITHIN A FEW MONTHS in 2013 .
Photos speak for themselves, and you have no time to read a long story.
Here below then some images, happy and sad, tragic and positive- but all inspiring- of 2013 : to share with you all, visually, our projects, the adventures, the magic, the kindness of old and new friends, and the challenges that you have helped us to overcome.
For you to decide if we made a difference,- with our committment and your support and friendship- for the people and nature of this amazing part of the world. 2014 is going to be a GOOD YEAR! We must make sure of this. With gratitude, love respect and blessings to you all,
Kuki a with Sveva
and the Team
of The Gallmann Memorial Foundationin Ol ari Nyiro,
on the Great Rift valley of Kenya
on 31st January 2014
Here we go:
It was after a visit to this school, that I decided to embark in the land of Hope mission:
Imana and some of the Land of Hope kids
|The new fence at Land of Hope||THE MAISHA MAREFU DOCTORS TEAMCRISTINA, PAOLO, AGNESE, ERMINIO, GIULIA E CHICCO|
Bianca (here with one of her Gifts to land of Hope
We thank from the heart OUR VOLUNTEERS:
DR. BAS VAN DER BORNE AND HIS TEAM
THE DUTCH BIG FIVE: DR. SYTSE AND ERNA SIJBRANDIJ AND THEIR THREE BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS
ALBERTO(e MANUELA, PHOTOGRAPHER), GABRIELLA SCAFA
|CRISTINA AND MOSES|
GIULIA ERMINIO JACINTA AGNESE MOSES AND CHICCO
MAKENA (SVEVA) AND HER TEAM
WHEN IT RAINS, IT POURS....
FIRE AND FIREBREAKS
THANKS TO IMPROVED SECURITY and the support of the KWS:
2012: 44 ELEPHANTS POACHED.
2013: 4 ELEPHANTS POACHED (ONE, TUSKS RETRIEVED)
the elephant Female and her unborn calf. A family pay respect to their remains, and community youth come to visit, too.
Our patrol Commander Zachary Nderitu ( right, early in the year, during a drilling exercise with KWS) was shot in an ambush when pursuing poachers in the line of duty.
IN THIS PART OF THE REGIONS
Students look at the Enghelesha Forest.
TWO SPECIES NEW TO SCIENCE WITHIN MONTHS FROM ONE ANOTHER FOUND ON OL ARI NYIRO
1. THE NEW BUTTERFLY: Aslauga gallmannae, Lippert and Collins (discovered by Mike Roberts) a butterfly only existing in our protected Enghelesha forest
Tomopterna gallmanni SP Anura: Pyxicephalidae: A species of NEW sand frog formerly unknown to science, that Victor Wasonga and Mike Roberts had found in one of our sixty man- made dams in the central area of Ol ari Nyiro.
PHOTO CREDITS: AMEDEO BUONAJUTI, MANUELA MONTELLA
WITH SPECIAL THANKS
FOR LAND OF HOPE:
DR. CRISTINA CAPPELLETTI AND THE MAISHA MAREFU ITALIAN TEAM
BIANCA NOTARBARTOLO DI SCIARA AND HER FAMILY
IAN HICKS AND SUSIE GRANT
SOPHIE BARKER AND THE RAINBOW COLLECTION
SLOANN GLOAG AND THE JONATHAN GLOAG CENTRE NUTAN MALDE AND FAMILY
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