Archive for kenya

Bush Warriors Founder, Dori Gurwitz, Remembers the First Burning of Kenya’s Ivory Stockpiles 22 Years Ago

Posted in Africa: Elephants with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2011 by Dori G


Bush Warriors Founder, Dori Gurwitz, was only a teenager when he personally witnessed Kenya’s first burning of ivory stockpiles 22 years ago–an experience he will never forget.

Photo credit: Tony Karumba

In 1989, African wildlife conservation saw a historical event–one that many people did not think would happen. The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) lit aflame a massive ivory stockpile, underscoring their zero tolerance for the illegal ivory trade. No matter what political thoughts people and governments around the world had about Kenya at that time, one thing was very clear: the government was seriously committed to the preservation of its wildlife, at all costs. It got to a point that game wardens were given permission to kill, should they confront a poacher. This zero tolerance policy worked and, despite all of the challenges associated with being a new and developing nation, Kenya rose as a leader in wildlife conservation. The eco-tourism industry exploded!
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IUCN Species of the Day: Hirola

Posted in IUCN Species of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 12, 2011 by Bush Warriors


The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(tm)

Photo credit: Tim Wacher


The Hirola, Beatragus hunteri, is listed as ‘CRITICALLY ENDANGERED’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species TM. Continue reading

Organization of the Day: Living With Lions

Posted in Organization of The Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 6, 2011 by Dori G

Living With Lions

Until recently scientists believed there were 100-200,000 lions living in Africa, but a recent survey has found that the number has dropped dramatically to approximately 23,000 and most of these are living in protected National Parks. Howeve, outside these areas and even some from within, lions are being killed at an alarming rate.  Unless urgent action is taken, they may be completely wiped out.

Living with Lions is a research and conservation group that works to save the remaining wild lions and other predators outside protected areas in Kenya. The organization currently has five projects: Lion Guardians, Mara Predator Project, Laikipia Predator Project, Amboseli Predator Project and the Kilimanjaro Lion Conservation Project. The Lion Guardians program was created in response to the slaughtering of over 200 lions in the Amboseli-Tsavo Ecosystem since 2001.  The group monitors lions, educates communities, and provides tools to mitigate human-wildlife conflict. The Laikipia and Amboseli Predator projects study the threats posed to lions outside protected areas and uses this information to develop practical measures that encourage coexistence between people, livestock and predators.

The Mara Predator Project (MPP) is monitoring the lions in this area, identifying key trends and shifts in population, and building an online database of individual lions so that effective conservation methods can be applied. Lastly, the Kilimanjaro Lion Conservation Project (KLCP) was established in early 2004 to try to use some of the lessons learned in Laikipia to halt the massacre of these big cats in an area of Maasailand between the Chyulu Hills, Tsavo and Amboseli National Parks in southern Kenya.

Living With Lions is lead by Dr. Lawrence G. Frank and his outstanding team of project biologists and coordinators. To learn more, click here.

Happy Birthday Bush Warriors!

Posted in About, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2010 by Dori G

Note: Please play this MUST SEE video and enjoy.  This is what is at stake!



A year ago on November 13th, Bush Warriors was first launched into to the world.  This was my attempt to put the truth out there of what is really going on with our world’s wildlife.  Everyone loves nature and wildlife.  We all love lions, tigers, bears and dolphins.  We even love sharks, though we were taught to be afraid of them.  Wildlife and nature is gaining more popularity than ever, everywhere you look “a green lifestyle” is the new trend.  ‘Organic’ and ‘nature’ are buzz words surrounding corporate board rooms, the way we live,  and the food we eat.  It’s all about ‘going back to nature’.

The sad and unfortunate reality is that we are just about as far from nature as we can get.  In fact, we, as humans, are getting further from it by the minute.  Despite the growing popularity of the ‘green revolution’, species continue to be lost at unprecedented rates.  The fight to save species is not small or easy.  Many challenges block the path to success, including corruption, economics (both poverty and wealth), overconsumption of our natural resources, consumerist demand, and societal values.

Photo by Takeshi Igarashi

We live in a world where biodiversity is given due attention only when it is deemed profitable or there is some underlying financial interest in saving it.  Some even say, “What is the point in spending well needed funds on animals we know will be extinct from their natural habitat in a generation or two?”

If we truly open our eyes to see what has happened to the world around us, we will not be able to live with ourselves and the destruction of our planet that we cause on a daily basis.  Plastic bags that help us carry food from stores are killing our sea turtles, as they  are being mistaken for jellyfish.  Palm oil, as harmless as it sounds, is a real killer to many of our earth’s forests and all that inhabit them.  Yet it is widely used to give our foods a longer shelf life, so that we may enjoy our microwave popcorn.  The cost of palm oil is not just the cost of cheap, processed foods.  It is also costing us majestic creatures, like orangutans.  Valuable components of an ecosystem that also display many similar emotional and social behavior as us humans.  Now they slip into the brink of extinction and are being used, abused and slaughtered, while their natural habitat is replaced by palm oil plantations.

Rhinos and elephants, animal icons that we love so much, are systematically being murdered for their horns and tusks. In fact is its estimated that 102 elephants are being killed a day. That is almost a kilometer (over half a mile) of dead elephants on a daily basis.

Photo Credit: Michael Nicols

Since 1997, 353 new species have been discovered in the Himalayas, 1,220 in the Amazon and 1,231 in the Mekong region.  Our world has such a rich biodiversity,  and yet, with all of our knowledge and growing understanding of how fragile our ecosystems are, we are losing species before they are even discovered.

We citizens of the world must unite in a unified global voice saying, “Enough is enough.”  We must put a stop to the war taking place on our wildlife and natural world.  If we don’t, it will be lost for good and we will also lose ourselves in the process.

We need your help is educating and spreading the word. Please join our growing Bush Warriors global tribe in spreading the message.  We have created the Bush Warriors Ambassadors program that gives you tools for five second online advocacy.  All you need to do is paste our blurbs and links on your Facebook, Myspace, email, or any other social platform, and you are done. By doing this you have become an ambassador for change.

We have already grown so much in our first year, and plan to push harder and reach more people in our coming years.  Join us in our efforts and step up to be a voice for wildlife today!

Asante Sana

Dori & The Bush Warriors Clan

Organization of the Day: Ol Pejeta Conservancy

Posted in Organization of The Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 7, 2010 by Dori G

John and Jane Kenyon took over the management of Ol Pejeta in 1949 when it was owned by Lord Delamere and together they spent the next 15 years developing the ranch. When John first took on Ol Pejeta he was joined by a school friend and business partner of Lord Delamere named Marcus Wickham Boynton. Together they organized the then 57,000 acre ranch into a successful beef producing company. Over the next few years they successfully expanded the farm to cover an estimated 90,000 acres. John and Jane left Ol Pejeta in 1958, returning in 1959 for a further ten years before finally retiring to run their own cattle ranch to the north. Since that period the ranch has had a number of owners, all entrepreneurs in their own right.

In 1988, the Sweetwaters Game Reserve (24,000 acres) was opened by another of Ol Pejeta’s previous owners, Lonrho Africa. Primarily started as a sanctuary for the endangered black rhino, wildlife populations (including the “Big Five”) have steadily increased since that time. In 2004 the ranch was purchased by Fauna and Flora International, a UK based conservation organisation. The Sweetwaters Game Reserve has now been extended to encompass the entire ranching area to create the “Ol Pejeta Conservancy”, approximately 90,000 acres in extent. This has created the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa, with the aim of generating profit from wildlife tourism and complementary activities (including cattle) for reinvestment into community development in the local area.

The Conservancy boasts the largest sanctuary for black rhinos in East Africa, provides a sanctuary for great apes and is host to the ‘big five’ among a large selection of other African animals. The Conservancy also operates a successful cattle program that is integrated with the local wildlife. The Conservancy also operates programmes with the surrounding local community to aid health, education, water, roads, provision of agriculture and livestock extension services and the development of community-based conservation tourism ventures. It has a number of projects aimed at protecting the highly endangered black rhino, and spends considerable time and effort ensuring that the security and further growth of the current population is maintained, the number of black rhinos on the conservancy currently stands at 100.

In 2009, four of the world’s eight remaining Northern White rhinos were transferred to Ol Pejeta from the Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic.  Other than these four, Northern White Rhinos have gone extinct in the wild.  Ol Pejeta is trying to repopulate the area with these rhinos.

To learn more, please visit their website.


Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2010 by Dori G

At one time the Angolan Black and White Colobus monkey’s range spanned the entire East African coastal stretch from Somalia to Mozambique, but today they can only be found on the southern coast of Kenya and the northern Tanzanian highlands. In some areas, populations have declined by as much as 50%. Their decline is mainly due to the fragmentation and loss of their forest habitat, but can also be attributed to road kills, electrocutions from power lines, poaching, pet trade, and conflicts with humans that result in lethal pest management practices.

The Colobus Trust (CT) was formed in 1997 in the Kenyan coastal area of Diani because of public outcry about the dramatic increase in deaths of Angolan Colobus monkeys in the area. The Trust works closely with local communities and businesses to promote conservation of the species and encourage protection of both the monkeys and their associated coastal forest habitat, a globally-recognized biodiversity hotspot. CT conducts research on the species to better understand its biology and interactions with its ecosystem. The results of their many research projects provide them with valuable information that can be applied to their conservation efforts in order to best achieve their goals.

They actively work to secure the last remaining patch of primary forest, which is critical to this primate’s (and others’) survival, with forest surveys, reforestation projects, and offering sustainable alternatives to the use of the forest resources. They promote eco-tourism by conducting tours for visitors to see the forest and its beauties, as many visitors come to Diani because of its ecological appeal. CT provides rescue action for monkeys that have become a problem of conflict with humans, and also rescues monkeys suffering injury from vehicle collisions, electrocution, poisoning, and dog bites.

Animals brought to CT receive medical attention at their veterinary clinic. After treatment, the monkeys are carefully rehabilitated so as to successfully return them to their natural habitat. CT also accepts pet monkeys and provides them with a way to interact with other monkeys and their habitat, so that they can eventually be released into the wild too. CT releases troops of monkeys together so that the monkeys can work together to be successful. To reduce road kills, CT constructs and installs “colobridges”, providing monkeys with a safe way to move across roads. The bridges have significantly reduced the number of road kills each year. The Trust conducts weekly education workshops for local primary and secondary schools to come learn about primates, the environment, and conservation. CT also conducts environmental workshops for local businesses and residents to learn about how they can lessen conflict with the monkeys and reduce their negative impacts on the ecosystem as a whole.

To reduce deaths and injuries caused when monkeys attempt to use un-insulated powerlines to navigate the forest, CT works with Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) to cut back and remove vegetation from the areas around powerlines on a weekly basis. The Trust also patrols forest patches every week and destroys every snare it finds. Students often accompany CT on these patrols so that they can see firsthand how this activity is affecting the Black and White Colobus population (as well as other wildlife species). The Colobus Trust is a valuable commodity to the conservation of the last remaining Black and White Colobus monkeys, and greatly contributes to the protection of the global biodiversity hotspot in Kenya’s southern coastal forest biosphere.

To learn more, please visit their website

Organization of The Day: Elephant Pepper Trust

Posted in Africa: Elephants, Organization of The Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2010 by kendickjerkins

When human-wildlife conflict results in the deaths of wildlife, the outcome can be far-reaching for those populations. Such situations are further amplified when they lead to human deaths as well. Human-wildlife conflict can be caused by a number of factors, but is most commonly agriculture-related. In Africa (and Asia), farmers often find themselves in a gruesome battle defending their livelihood against relentlessly hungry elephants that raid their crop fields.

From beating drums to deploying fireworks to attempting to chase elephants away (which frequently results in human deaths), farmers are often left sleep-deprived and profitless from their agricultural investments. That is until 2002 when stars aligned and a chance meeting between Australian businessman, Michael Gravina, and elephant biologist, Dr. Loki Osborne, resulted in the Elephant Pepper Development Trust (EPDT) and gave new hope to small-scale farmers plagued with elephant problems. Methods for deterring the hungry elephants are only effective if they involve minimal costs and provide long-term solutions. EPDT struck gold when they discovered that elephants are inherently repelled by the smell of chili peppers.

Chilies are easy to grow as they survive in some of the more extreme conditions found in Africa that other crops cannot survive in, are money-making cash crops, and are unpalatable and revolting to most mammal “pests”. EPDT trains local farmers how to implement the use of chilies into their farming practices in a number of ways. Chilies can be planted to create an elephant-repellent buffer zone between valuable crops and wooded elephant habitat. Farmers can also saturate simple string fences with chili grease to discourage elephants from entering. At night (the time when crops are typically raided by the giant pachyderms), briquettes made of chilies and elephant dung can be burned to keep elephants away. Though often skeptical at first, once farmers see the success of these methods playing out for their neighbors, they become sold on these sustainable ideas and seek help from EPDT immediately.

Currently, the Trust is working with communities in areas of Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Namibia with great success, and uses Educational Demonstration sites to educate farmers about their methods.To increase benefits from the use of chilies, EPDT has joined with African Spices Pvt Ltd. to buy surplus chilies from the farmers which are then used to create delicious chili-based, “uniquely African” blends that are sold commercially as an organic, fair trade product. In this way, the farmers profit from the crops that have been protected by the chili methods, from the chili crop, and from the peace of mind brought to them as a result of all of these factors. Elephant conflicts become almost non-existent, preventing the death and injuries of both humans and elephants in a win-win situation.

10% of profits from “Elephant Pepper” products are given back to EPDT to be used for improving and expanding their program to more farmers and communities. This program also provides a way for the global community to become involved with elephant conservation by purchasing the delicious products and supporting the cause. EPDT’s problem animal control methods help to eliminate serious human-wildlife conflicts and can be used to do the same in other areas of the world where elephants and humans have been battling to the death.

To learn more, please visit their website