Voices From Kenya
Copyright Saint Louis Zoo Belinda Mackey
Copyright Saint Louis Zoo Rikapo Lentiyoo
Our partners in Kenya give their thoughts about the impact of the community conservation programs -- how they've raised local awareness about the plight of the Grevy's zebra and how they've changed people's attitudes toward the zebra and other wildlife:
Belinda Mackey, Executive Director, Grevy's Zebra Trust
Probably the biggest change we have observed over the past two years is that awareness of the issues facing Grevy’s zebra has risen to a level beyond our expectations and that people have actually changed their behavior towards these animals with tolerance of them increasing significantly. I observed this very change a few weeks ago when I saw two bachelor male zebras grazing right next to a herd of goats with their young herder sitting quietly under a bush nearby. It is the direct involvement of the community in this program that has led it to its success; half our work has been done for us as the scouts spread the message that Grevy’s zebra are valuable and the entire community participates in their conservation.
Rikapo Lentiyoo, Regional Coordinator/Laisamis, Grevy’s Zebra Trust, from Naibelibeli
There are opportunities that are arising from this project that are good. Some other areas are crying because they destroyed their wildlife and they can’t get them unless they buy them. Nkai (Samburu god) has given us that heart of taking care of wildlife and people are supporting us to do this. Let’s come together, work together and be united.
Chereb, Grevy’s Zebra Scout, from Sessia
Since the project started we have been seeing the goodness of the work and we enjoy it. We are learning more and didn’t know the importance of Grevy’s zebra at the beginning. Before the project started, Grevy’s zebra were afraid of livestock and humans but now they are not afraid. When we first started working they used to run away but now they let us go near. Even the herders accept them to pass next to them. Monitoring of Grevy’s zebra was the responsibility of the scouts but now it has become the responsibility of the whole community and they report sightings to the scouts. Now Rikapo comes to meet with us and gives us more information than before so we are more aware of the Grevy’s zebra than before. We are proud because we are eating food because of the Grevy’s zebra – not just the scouts but other members of the community. We have used this money to buy shoes, to buy clothes, to buy goats. This is a good project.
Rosemary, Grevy’s Zebra Scout, also from Sessia
The goodness of the Grevy’s zebra project has been mentioned by my colleague. We have even known the seasons of the Grevy’s zebra and where they graze. And we even know the areas they normally give birth. And we have even known how to age them and we are grateful because we have already got the knowledge to know these animals – even those of us who have not been to school.
Naibelibeli Community Member
Maybe Grevy’s zebra avoided livestock in the past at the beginning before we were educated by this project and let the Grevy’s zebra come close. Now if you go to where they are you will meet them with cows.