As the weeks since the end of COP26 go by, there’s been more time to reflect on the Glasgow climate conference. And realise that all hope is not yet lost.
Reteti, the story of the first indigenous owned and run elephant sanctuary
On World Elephant Day, we tell the story of the Reteti elephant sanctuary in Kenya, the first community owned and run elephant sanctuary in all of Africa that also is hiring indigenous women to be elephant keepers.
In the mountains of northern Kenya, a Samburu community is doing something that has never been done before: they have built an elephant sanctuary for orphaned elephants. What’s so special is that its the first indigenous owned and run elephant sanctuary that rescues and raises the orphaned elephants with the ultimate goal of reintroducing them back into the wild.
But the sanctuary isn’t just about saving elephants; it’s about breaking down stereotypes and redefining wildlife management. When people realize that they can benefit from healthy elephant populations, they’re proud to take care of wildlife.
A story of conservation and empowerment for women
In addition to helping elephants, Reteti is also empowering Samburu women to be the first-ever women elephant keepers in all of Africa. At first, the community didn’t think there was a place for women in the workplace. Now, the success of these women elephant keepers is unlocking new possibilities and setting a powerful example for girls hoping to pursue their dreams. It’s also changing how the community relates to elephants. Schoolchildren who have never seen an elephant before or who were afraid of elephants visit Reteti and experience these elephants up close. They then realize they can grow up to be a veterinarian or an elephant keeper.
What’s happening here, without fanfare, is nothing less than the beginnings of a transformation in the way the Samburu people relate to wild animals. This oasis where orphans grow up, learning to be wild so that one day they can rejoin their herds, is as much about the people as it is about elephants.
Since September 2016, the team at Reteti has rescued over 35 elephants and returned ten back to the wild. This is the result of a widely recognized and expanding grassroots movement of community-driven conservation across northern Kenya; a movement that is growing new economies, transforming lives and conserving natural resources.
Shaba, a documentary to support elephants and their keepers
For World Elephant Day, we are making Shaba, an award winning short film about the sanctuary, available online and all ticket sales go directly to support the elephants and their incredible keepers. It will be available until the 31sth of August at shabafilm.org
The film is about an orphaned elephant named Shaba who arrived traumatized after poachers killed her mother in front of her. It took weeks for the team at Reteti to finally forge a connection with her and Shaba soon became the matriarch of the entire orphaned herd. She became instrumental at the sanctuary, caring for each new orphan that arrived and teaching the keepers how to be better caretakers. This is a story about learning to trust those that we fear. Shaba teaches us about love and our connections to all of life around us.
COP26 ended on Saturday 13th November, one day later than expected. Some positives and many negatives in the Glasgow Climate Pact, weakened by India’s last-minute change.
Governments made announcements, leaders spoke, decisions were made, civil society protested. This is what happened during the first week of COP26.
One hundred nations at COP26 in Glasgow made a promise to end deforestation by 2030. NGOs say this commitment is not good enough.
Young Ugandan activist Vanessa Nakate has become a spokesperson for the African people who are suffering most because of the climate crisis.
Cerrejon is one of the biggest coal mines in the world for energy production, in the middle of indigenous Wayuu territory. Today they suffer from high rates of malnutrition and disease.
Tuna recovers while the Komodo dragon falls into the endangered list due to climate change. Sharks and rays are also at risk because of overfishing.
The United States follow the European Union’s example in banning the chlorpyrifos pesticide, a hazardous chemical for the development of children.
Kenya’s first National Wildlife Census reveals that there are dangerously few specimens remaining of several iconic species, including the black rhino.