Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Kenya Elephant Man, Mourns Julius Kimani

It’s with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Mr. Julius Kimani Former Director of Parks and Reserves of KWS. On behalf of Elephant Neighbors Center, and I send our deepest condolences to Mr. Julius Kimani’s family and the Kenya Wildlife Service family at this difficult time. The world of conservation mourns with you and celebrates the extraordinary life of this remarkable “ General” who devoted his life to peacefully protecting Kenyan Wildlife. 

The work of the Kenya Wildlife Service stands as a testament to the power of his leadership, he rose to the rank of Acting Director due to his dedication, humbleness but no-nonsense man. Mr. Julius’s tireless efforts earned him not only a highest position at KWS but to the Kenyan Conservation fraternity, he was known to any one in Kenya and in conservation.

I celebrate an extraordinary man, a warrior, a statesman, and a patriot, who embodied so much that, is best in Kenyan Wildlife Conservation fraternity and in Kenya. So for someone like Julius to ask you while he is still alive to stand and speak of him when he is gone is a precious and singular honor. At one he was quoted “Tsavo is Kenya’s second oldest national park. It biodiversity is part of our history and one of the pillars of our economy. For this reason, we will protect this unique ecosystem and its wildlife fiercely, relentlessly and passionately. And for as long as we have friends like IFAW who share our vision, Tsavo will live well into the future” 

I personally met Julius Kimani in early 2000 but interacted with him in 2013 during my Mombasa- Nairobi Elephant Walk to this date, he has lingered as a close confidant and a friend bearing in mind my campaign need planning, intelligent and honest personnel! His leadership will be immensely missed.  I celebrate my friend and I will remember him for the many things he did for this country, he did it without asking for anything in returns, he never expected anything but instead he did because he was passionate and did it from his heart despite the risk therein. If there is anything we can learn from Julius is what contribution are we making, what sacrifice are we giving for the betterment of wildlife conservation in this country, are we working for our self or are for the wellbeing of people of this country! What kind of a legacy are we fulfilling!  

It brings to mind something that Hemingway wrote, in the book  “ For Whom the Bells Toll “ “Today is only one day in all the days that will ever be. But what will happen in all the other days that ever come can depend on what you do today.” In the world of conservation, Julius learned in ways that few of us ever will the meaning of those words—how each moment, each day, each choice is a test. And Julius passed that test again and again and again. And that’s why when we spoke of virtues like service and duty held by Julius while on duty, it didn’t ring echoing. They are just words to him. It was a truth that he had lived and for which he was prepared to die. And it forced even the most cynical to consider, what were we doing for our country? What might we risk everything for?

Julius upholds orders; discipline and he would not hesitate to tell us when required! Like all of us who go into public service, he did have an ego. Like all of us, there was no doubt some people didn’t like his working philosophy, some compromises he struck, some decisions he made that he wished he could have back. It’s no secret—he had a temper, and when it flared up, it was a force of nature, a wonder to behold. His jaw screeching, his face blushing, his eyes boring a hole right through you!  I ever experienced it firsthand, mind you. But to know Julius! One  was to know that as quick as his passions might flare, he was just as quick to forgive and ask for forgiveness. He knew more than most his own weaknesses, and his blind spots, and he knew how to laugh at himself. And that self-awareness made him all the more convincing.

What better way to honor Julius’s life of service than, as best we can, follow his example? To prove that the willingness to get in the arena and fight for wildlife conservation is not reserved for the few, it is open to all of us, and in fact it is demanded of all of us as citizens of Kenya. That’s perhaps how we honor him best, by recognizing that there are some things bigger than ourselves or desire or money or fame or authority. That there are some things that are worth risking everything for: principles that are endless, truths that are unshakable. At his best, I believed Julius showed us what that means and how to live on it and we are all deeply in his debt. May God bless Julius Kimani and rest his affectionate soul in the best place.

Jim Justus Nyamu , Cde
Executive Director Elephant Neighbors Center

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Kenya Elephant Man arrives in Botswana

Kenya Elephant man enters Botswana through Ramokgwebana border post from Plumtree border of Zimbabwe, his was escorted by Senior Government officials from Plumtree led by Ms Rorisang Makhurane District Administrator of Mangwe District, Cllr Chairman of Plumtree Fanisani Dube among other senior officials.

I feel depressed that today I am sending you Jim out of Zimbabwe after spending a whole month in Zimbabwe educating people says Ms Makhurane, I only spent a short time with you and I how I wish you can spend more time particularly in Mangwe District she adds.

Jim left Kenya in July 14th and enters Zimbabwe on September 10th from Zambia, in one month with his host Farai Chakwa, Blessed Ngudo and Sam Nkomo he crisscrossed Vic Falls, Hwange, Gwayi, Lupana, Bulawayo and Plumtree. When I was being handed over from Zambia I was not sure how Zimbabwe would be, I am leaving this country full of tears of love looking by how Zimbweans have done to my team and I “ says Nyamu” Our challenges found an answers in your land and your support, concern and care was overwhelming something that I will never forget he adds.

According to CITES, four countries namely South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and South Africa down listed their elephant population from Appendix I to II in 2008, there has been global and continental efforts in reverting this decision in view of ending domestic trade on ivory that has escalated poaching across South and East African region. Africa host about 415,000 elephants according to Africa Elephant Data Base with some countries almost losing their elephants due to poaching, habitats loss and climate change.

Jim will be walking across Francistown, Nata, Maun, Palapye to Gaborone Botswana capital, he is expected to end his campaign walk in Gaborone that has taken him 102 days covering approximately 3769 km . I had purposed to walk up to Johannesburg but due to visa restriction and validity I will have to finish the walk at Gaborone says Nyamu.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Elephant Neighbors Center nominate 11 Goodwill Ambassadors

On behalf of the Elephant Neighbors Center, I wish to appoint the first bunch of our Honorary Good Will Ambassadors from all over the world for a period of 1 year . These noble Ambassadors will represent us and help in creating awareness from their reach, as most of you are aware that awareness is numbers we are committed in stretching out our mission and agenda.
The first bunch of the Hon Good Will Ambassadors include the following .
1. Kareem Mohamed Legal Advisor based in United Kingdom (Kareem Mohamed
2. Babra Adoso current Chairman of Association of Uganda Tour Organization Babra Adoso
3. Gloria Alelle currently Miss Tourism from Northern Tourism region in Uganda Gloria Alelle
4. Helen Colgan wildlife lover based United Kingdom Helen Colgan
5. Shubert Mwarabu Director of Me Against Elephant Poaching in Tanzania Shubert Mwarabu
6. Cheryl Brown Conservationist based in US Cheryl Brown
7. Billy Lombe Director of Youth Environment Network in Zambia Billy Lombe
8. Florence Ruhina Former Miss Tourism Nyandarua County in Kenya Florence Ruhina
9. Saskia Heyder Conservationist based in German
10. Mondo Luca 15 years old boy and founder of YARH Network based in Sweden Mondo Luca
One again I congratulate the above team who has accepted to support us as we prepare for the East – South Africa Elephant awareness campaign walk, during and after the walk. I am humbled by your previous support you have shown in your personal capacity in wildlife conservation.
Website : www.elephantcenter.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/elephantcenter/
Twitter : @NyamuJim
Instagram : #JimJustusNyamu

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Kenyan Elephant Man plans to walk from Nairobi to SA for Jumbo

According to African elephant specialist group (www.elephantdatabase.org ) Africa  elephants population dropped from 472,269 to 401,732 between 2006 and 2013 , the cause of the decline is caused by illegal poaching of elephants arriving to 9% rate of decline primary due to poaching .The data shows that between 2006 and 2013 Africa lost 193,749 elephants , South Africa lost 19,198 and East Africa 47,898 .

East Africa as a region is affected by poaching and has experienced an almost 55% elephant population decline, largely attributed to an over 60% decline in Kenya and Tanzania elephant population. Three East African countries Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda were classified also as Ivory source by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) CoP 15 Doha in 2010.
Southern African elephant population has also suffered a decline, the data shows between 2007-2013 the region lost 18,658 (2007; 297,718 and 2013; 278,520). Botswana host the highest savanna elephants in Africa (2013; 133,453) seconded by Zimbabwe (2013; 67,954) respectively. Four countries in this region namely Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa have listed their elephants in appendixes II and practice ivory trade.
Cases of poaching in the East and South Africa region have been cartelized by macro factors in their neighboring countries namely Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa that are enjoying the down listing of their elephant population from Appendix I to II by CITES opening up opportunities to trade in live elephant and ivory.
The absence of sufficient integration multilateral and bilateral policies and action frameworks against acts and crimes poaching despite cross-border wildlife reserves and parks are significant loopholes promoting less conviction cases. Not any of this three broader country is safe working independently faced with a fact of cross-border elephant movement and migrations. It is justifiable that efforts such as the East African Walk, aimed at strengthening inter-state collaborations to identify integrated anti-poaching mechanism, action plan and task forces are required.
It’s in this spirit that Jim will lead an East – South Africa Grass –Elephant campaign and awareness walk. The 180 days walk aims at covering approximately 4500km aiming at one (mapping the elephant movement (trans-regional) from East – South Africa secondly showing the residents/nations how significant its in safeguarding these long corridors and thirdly lobbying for an amalgamated wildlife anti-poaching and trafficking strategy from the two region. Lastly this walk will also diplomatically ask the four countries namely Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana and South Africa to take their elephant population in Appendix I. These four countries are the only in Africa whose elephant population is in Appendix II and they can legally trade on elephants and have negatively affected the neighboring countries/region.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Is UK ready to ban Ivory trade

The existing rules in UK license worked ivory items produced after 3 March 1947 to be sold with a certificate, with no restrictions at all on worked ivory produced before that date. The physical and online market surveys in April 2016 shows the availability of antique ivory in the UK market.  This confirms that no new or raw (unworked” ivory was seen in any of the physical market outlets or online platforms. These antique markets are available across many cities in UK that include Swindon and Fulham among others according to the rapid survey of UK ivory markets by Traffic.

In October 6th2017, UK government through Environment Secretary Michael Gove Sanctioned proposal to introduce a total ban on UK sales of ivory that could contribute either directly or indirectly to the continued poaching of elephants. In his strong statement the Minister says “ The decline in the elephant population fuelled by poaching for ivory shames our generation” He also emphasized that these plans will put the UK front and centre of global efforts to end the insidious trade in ivory.

A directive was then announced looking for the public evidence on the effect of the proposed ban would have. This includes its effect on elephant conservation, the natural environment and businesses, as well as its economic and cultural effect. The intended ban was subject to some strictly defined exemptions. The consultation at the beginning of this month showed that 85% of the UK population supported a ban on ivory sales—most supported a ban with no exemptions. There is a case to be made for antique ivory in some instances says Lord Baroness Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville during the debate at the House of Lords on December 21st 2017.

The “Ivory belongs to elephant” London /Kensington- Bristol Elephant and awareness campaign walk spin over this period of UK greater consultation. Jim Justus Nyamu and a team of MTM – Bristol engaged local people and received immersed ground support from local and authorities that i.e. Lord Mayors who backed UK government and showed solidarity in saving African elephants and UK government in its determination to reach out to citizens called for public and media debate in an attempt to gain citizen support.  During our 11 days walk, we passed through Windor , Reading, Newbury, Swindon, Cirencester, Cheltenham , Gloucester, Stroud, Chippenham  -Bath- Yate to Bristo approximately 210miles .  This awareness campaign walk is a continuation walk already done in East Africa and in the USA under the banner of “ Ivory belongs to elephants “ and so far Jim has walked 110,800km with a plan to walk from Nairobi- South Africa in May 2018. The South Africa awareness walk, aims at bringing 8 African countries with highest elephants together in a bid to identify a unified mechanism in ending poaching. 

On December 21st 2017, I was privilege and honored to be a guest at the House of Lords in WestMinster London at 2pm. The Lord Carrington of Fulham led a debate on the impact of the ivory trade on endangered species, and efforts to eliminate that trade whilst protecting the cultural heritage of antique ivory. During the debate Lord Bakewell acknowledged the local communities efforts in creating space for the elephants, “to be completely successful, the solution to this abhorrent practice will need to involve educating the communities that share the landscape with these magnificent beasts and providing an alternative source of income for those who carry out the poaching and their families” say Bakewell.

This debate received unison across the House on the objective of protecting the elephant and other endangered animals that are sources of ivory. The question is how that can be achieved. “ Nobody who has been to Africa and has seen the distinction of the noble beast, the elephant, and then seen how their tasks have been torn from the body, could fail to be moved. Unfortunately, I have seen that on a number of occasions and have seen the difficulty faced by the anti-poaching squads as they try to enforce the law and restrict this type of activity says Lord Stevens of Kirkwehelpinton” .  Different Lords shows solidarity and expressed a need supports “We need to apply forensic judgment to the trade in ivory. At present, the bad guys are getting away with it. We must accept that legal domestic ivory markets contribute to this horror in two ways: by fuelling demand for ivory and by providing a hiding place for illegal modern ivory to be laundered through the legal market, and the UK is a significant trading place for legal ivory” Lord Horgan Hawe .

During the 3 hours debate 10 Lords of 13 raised some pertinent observation and comments that affirms the commitment to end ivory trade in UK. Lord Hogan Hawe in his Maiden Speech recapped that I want to make it clear that I support a total or quasi ban on the trading of ivory in the UK for both domestic sale and export. I could support a total ban on ownership but there are still so many unanswered questions, as has been sketched out here today, about how to implement such a ban. “  I would want to see far more emphasis placed on recovering criminal assets from ivory poachers and those they sell to. I know from experience, as will police officers here and those I have worked with, that organized crime is always about profit. Criminals may trade in drugs, sometimes human beings, firearms or, as we have heard today, ivory, but always for profit. Take out the cash and you stop the crime; follow the cash and you will find the criminal” say Lord Hogan in his submission.

Campaigners argue that the demand for ivory is fuelled in part by the UK’s legal ivory market, and that this encourages the poaching of an estimated 20,000 elephants per year. As I have said, the results of opinion polls suggest that a total ban on the sale of ivory should take place. Campaigners argue that if a ban is taken forward, any antique piece of ivory that is historically and culturally significant and which the public wants to see should be placed in a museum. However, I think it will be quite hard to pursue that line says Lord Stevens “ .   Lord Baroness Jones of Whitchurch objected the views expressed by several noble Lords that items of artistic, cultural or historic value should be exempt. That is a real challenge: who is to determine which pieces meet that description? Self-certification is clearly open to fraud and a licensing system, as some noble Lords attempted to describe, would be cumbersome and would rely, again, on skills that auction houses simply do not have.

I personally feel that there is a dire need for radical and robust action to protect one of the world’s most iconic and treasured species is beyond dispute.  According to the latest data Africa host 315,000 and have lost over 10,000 in less than 10 years, It is estimated by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) that the population of African elephants declined by 111,000 over the past 10 years.  “ The decline is largely caused by the spill in poaching for ivory that started in 2006, in actual facts 2016 was the worst for most countries in Africa to experience since 1970’s” .

The UK consultation came to an end yesterday December 29th 2017 ,  the question now remains  will UK government impose a total ban  on the ivory trade?  Will they placed recovery assets from ivory poachers and those they sell to as proposed in the recovery procedures? What will be the fate of the banning the sale of ivory and sales of items of artistic, cultural or historic significance?  

By Jim Justus Nyamu- Elephant Neighbors Center .