We are pleased to report that much progress has been made in rebuilding and reequipping our research centre in Samburu, following its destruction by the surging flood waters of the Ewaso River on March 4th, 2010. We owe our progress to the tremendous and overwhelming support of our friends and donors who responded to the calamity by generous donations for the rebuilding effort. We are also grateful for the support of the Kenyan and international media, who publicised our plight and helped raise international awareness. We are well on track to resuming our all-important scientific work at the facility at pre-flood levels, which for many years has helped the world understand and conserve elephant populations.
The best example of this is STE’s participation at the United Nation’s Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) meeting in the direct aftermath of the flood. In Doha, Qatar, the parties to the convention met to vote on the Zambian & Tanzanian proposals to down list the status of their elephants to appendix II and renew the legal ivory trade. The STE research team actively steered the debate on the ground to ensure the proposals were rejected. Although this was good news, serious issues still remain and the battle for the elephants is far from over.
The decisions taken at CITES determine the future of the world’s species, including elephants, and our efforts at the event went a long way towards ensuring their survival. Read more about CITES.
Whilst debate raged at CITES, we were busy picking up the pieces of our camp and making plans for the rebuilding effort. Currently, all staff are housed in camping tents provided by the British army immediately after the flooding. However, permanent living quarters are being constructed which will make life at the camp more comfortable then ever before. The new structures will be eco friendly, as well as flood proof, relocated to higher ground to ensure greater security and minimal human footprint on the environment. We expect to have them up in the next two months.
Access to food and drinking water was greatly disrupted by the flooding, which destroyed our well, refrigeration facilities, and bridge used for transportation of supplies. Our well is now functioning again, thanks to the generosity of near by road construction crews who provided us with building material. Our fridge has also been emptied of mud and reinstated, allowing us to enjoy fresh nutritious meals once again.
Our scientists in Samburu are once again in the field, busy monitoring the movements of elephant families returning to the area. We are still raising funds to repurchase essential field equipment including digital cameras for recording elephant ids, high-speed computers, and elephant radio tracking collars. New, high tech equipment will enable us to enhance our operations and monitor greater elephant numbers. We are also in the process of restocking our library, as the flood washed our priceless collection of books and field guides away.
As we put together the pieces of our camp, we hope that keep us in your thoughts and donate to our rebuilding effort. With your support, we look forward to an exciting 2010 at the STE camp.
Yours sincerely, Iain Douglas-Hamilton and the STE Team!???
To donate to STE’s rebuilding effort, for online donation in UK please access http://www.justgiving.com/ste-research-camp-floods??
For US donations please access our Network for Good link here. (Please specify the donation is for “Save the Elephants” in the ‘Designation’ field.)
For all media inquiries please contact: ??Natalia Mroz: +254 (0)718 200952 or [email protected]