Projects we love: Reteti Elephant Sanctuary

Reteti raises orphaned and abandoned elephant calves for release back into the wild herds surrounding the Sanctuary in Namunyak Conservancy. The orphaned elephants, cared for by the Samburu community, are symbols of a new wave of thinking about wildlife and the environment that goes far beyond traditional conservation methods and dives deeper into the core value of what nature represents. It embodies the communities standing up united for wildlife, in recognition of the value that they can cultivate.

An ever-growing grass roots movement, community focused conservation is gaining huge momentum in Northern Kenya, and a new wave of wildlife protection is emerging. Once heavily poached and severely degraded, the northern rangeland is now restoring itself through transparent, self-governed community conservancies that promote the preservation of natural resources in order to create stability, employment, and revenue. Since 2012, there has been a 53% reduction in elephant poaching in Namunyak and partner conservancies due to this changing mindset.

All the keepers are from the local Samburu community and are formally trained in the care, rehabilitation, and release of elephant calves. An elected board from within the community oversee all operational aspects of the Sanctuary. The operations also include a mobile elephant rescue team that works daily on elephant rescue, community awareness and the mitigation of human/wildlife conflict.

Opportunities are being created, livelihoods are improving, and wildlife is returning, proving that nature can provide a sustainable economy for the populations that occupy its magnificent ecosystem. On a fast developing continent where space is at a premium, the Samburu community that occupy the Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy is reversing the trends and securing their wilderness landscapes, returning to a learned, age old history of wildlife tolerance and co-existence.

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