The desert used to be a haven for wildlife as there is space and it was mostly undisturbed. Reticulated giraffe, oryx, grant’s gazelles, cheetah, African wolves, gerenuk and ostrich are among some of the species that thrive in this biome. However, since the introduction of motorbikes, the wildlife in this vast space has never been more under threat. It is easy for people on the bikes to go un-noticed, running the animals down and slaughtering them for bushmeat.
Of particular interest is a remote population of endangered reticulated giraffe that live in the Kaisut desert. We have joined hands with ‘Save Giraffes Now’ (SGN). They have supported us to establish a ‘desert team’ consisting of six people who know this landscape intimately. The role of this team is to monitor and protect giraffe and other wildlife in the desert. They will also be engaging with people who are coming and going on motorbikes or with livestock. We are delighted to say things are already improving. The giraffe guardians come from both Rendille and Samburu communities living in the desert.
During the dry season, the wildlife can find refuge in the desert due since many species including giraffe and gerenuk can get enough moisture from the leaves that they eat. However , after good rains, the desert is transformed and there is ample grazing and water. The influx of people means that our team must closely monitor any areas where wildlife and people would come into contact.
Our team is supported by six trained camels, allowing them to access places where vehicles would get stuck. This also allows them to have a the advantage of stealth over the poachers. Additionally, the desert team are working with towns such as Korr and Kargi to find solutions for their horrific plastic waste problems.