Skip to main content

ANNUAL REPORT- Letter from our Founder.



A year ago we successfully began our Anti-poaching operations in Kipini, part of the Lower Tana Delta in Kenya. I remember sitting down with my rangers and telling them I could possibly only keep them for a year, but even if that is all we are able to manage, we will have saved a few lives and it will be worth it. They had a somewhat confused look on their face and said, “Ok madam.”

Getting into our second year of operations, I now understand why they seemed so bewildered. They had a faith and confidence in me that I didn’t fully have in myself.

I knew I could manage the team, and structure our operations well enough to combat the poaching here. I was confident about all the relationships I had quickly fostered with local administration and partners in conservation, and we hit the ground running. What I was unsure about, was our funding. We have been reliant on a goodwill donor who gave us an initial boost that allowed us to begin operations, but otherwise have been largely dependent on crowdfunding. The advent of Covid-19 significantly dented this but we carried on nonetheless.

I am happy to report thay in 2020, we recovered over 100 various poaching apparatus including lamping equipment, snares and spears; recovered over 500 pieces of timber; and treated 16 animals for snare and arrow injuries. We also made 21 arrests- sending out a strong message that poaching is no longer any man’s game, you can and will- get caught. 

We also hit another major milestone in 2020- we are surrounded by communities who rely on livestock and farming, and Human Wildlife Conflict cases have risen by an estimated 300% in the last 10 years. Depredation resulted in the retaliatory poisoning of at least two lions in 2019. In order to prevent this (and further livestock losses to the community), we collared a male lion who had taken down some goats and continue to monitor him on a daily basis. We have had zero cases of lion poisoning, and only one case of a cow that was grazed by lion.

I sit here in my camp today, overlooking a waterhole after returning from some road maintenance work. The sands are telling me a story of hope- the pug marks of a lioness with tiny paws walking around her, heading into the forest.

I haven’t seen these little ones yet, but with your continued support I am confident that I will- and they will be all grown up and not eating goats for dinner! (Our prey species population is on the rise). Speaking of which, the rangers sighted a white waterbuck the other day. I still have to get a better photograph of her, but this is quite remarkable indeed.

Thank you for helping us get this far, and I hope someday you will have a chance to visit this incredible ecosystem. This is where my heart lies. 

Raabia Hawa

Exec. Dir. Ulinzi Africa Foundation

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Meeting with Dr. Richard Leakey

Wilbur Smith’s "Elephant Song". I remember the first time I read that book, about 5 years ago. His words cut through my heart like a heated knife through butter. I could imagine it so vividly, I may as well have been there and borne witness to the massacre of the gentle giants we all know as the elephant. I never could finish that book; it was too painful for my heart to bear. Elephants have always had a special place in my heart, as do all wildlife. Something purely magical about each one that I cannot really explain. Having grown up in the eighties, one couldn’t help but be drawn to the politics and controversy surrounding these majestic ‘beasts’ of the African wilderness. I grew up in that time. Hunts were the norm a few years prior, and then, the big one. The ivory ban. Kenya was put on the world map in a gust of flames and a cloud of smoke thick as the canopy of our once great forests. How I remember that day. I was glued to that television like my life was on the line.

...Of White Blood.

It is the night of the 18th of July, 2011. 0400hrs, and I have been tossing and turning all night. It is only hours away, and I will be there in person. The Ivory Burn. When I was a little girl, I watched it on the television, and read about it for many years in many books and prints. It moved me. It moulded me. Tonight, it frightens me. I didn’t know back then, that I would live to witness another event of this nature. I didn’t know back then, that I would see the face of its reason. So here I am, wondering what the coming hours will bring. More than anything else, I fear how I will feel. Not too many months ago, I had the honour of assisting Danny Woodley’s team in Tsavo West with some rhino tracking and a census as a volunteer. I learnt a lot from that trip, and saw a lot too. After our day of tracking, I requested to see some of the confiscated trophies from the store. Three rangers unlocked the huge padlock and walked into a very dark room. My heart did not know what to expect. Mi

Barisa's Journey: A Tale of Conflicting Coexistence.

For the Love of Elephants. In the heart of Kitere Village, nestled amidst the rolling landscapes of Kenya's Tana River, lived a remarkable elephant named Barisa. No ordinary elephant; Barisa was a gentle giant who had become an integral part of the community. His story is one of harmonious coexistence, illustrating the beauty of human-wildlife relationships and the challenges that sometimes necessitate difficult decisions. A Gentle Giant Among Us Barisa's story began when he wandered into Kitere Village, and stayed. Unlike many tales of human-wildlife conflict, Barisa's presence was marked by peace and mutual respect. The villagers soon realised that Barisa was not a threat but a friendly, gentle soul who meant no harm. He would stroll through the village, his massive frame moving with quiet grace. Children would wave to him on their way to school, and this quaint village fast became the epitome of human-wildlife coexistence. Barisa's presence became a daily reminder of