When Ephantus Mugo was 10-years-old, his class made a trip to the Nairobi National Orphanage. This would be the only school trip that Ephantus, who is from Chuka, would take while both in primary and secondary school, and it changed his life.
He says: "I come from a community that has little wildlife left, and seeing the animals at the orphanage made me fall in love with wildlife." Today, Ephantus is following his dream by working to ignite a passion for wildlife, nature and wild places in school children, just like the educator who changed his life.
Every year, along with his team, he hosts more than 3,000 children from all over the country here on Lewa. Ephantus immerses the children in an interactive learning experience that includes viewing endangered species in their natural habitat. For some of these children, it is often their first time to see rare species such as rhinos, an experience that leaves a lasting impression in their young minds.
Ephantus exemplifies what makes Kenyans great - passion, dedication and love for nature. Vote for him to become a Kenyan Champion by following this link - http://visionsofkenya.co.uk/
Photos of Ephantus with school children by Natalie Solveland.
An elephant calf enjoys a mud bath at @r.e.s.c.u.e, the newly launched, community-led elephant sanctuary based here in northern Kenya, at Namunyak Community Conservancy.
African communities have been custodians of elephants and other wildlife for centuries, but modern challenges such as poaching and habitat loss require these communities to come up with initiatives such as @r.e.s.c.u.e to ensure survival of the species.
Would you walk 100 kilometres to follow your passion? John Pameri did, 25 years ago, when he came to Lewa as a teenager with a dream. Having dropped out of school, he wanted a job that would also enable him to care for wildlife.
John says: It's been 25 years of hard work and determination. I came to Lewa when we had very few rhinos, now there are over 150. As a Kenyan pastoralist, who has lived alongside wildlife all his life, I'm glad to be at the forefront of this work that is shaping the future of our landscape.
From an 18-year-old boy with a dream, today, John stands proud as the head of Lewa's field rangers whose work has ensured that the Conservancy has not lost any rhinos to poachers in over 4 years. He has been critical in helping spearhead development across Lewa's neighbouring areas. John has also travelled the world and acquired a pilot's licence in his quest to raise awareness and protect endangered species.
John exemplifies what makes Kenyans great - bravery, compassion and dedication to nature. Vote for him to become a Kenyan Champion by clicking on his picture - http://visionsofkenya.co.uk/
"Give me those people. The brave, the vulnerable, the wise, the ones who care for the world, and how to better it along with themselves." Victoria Erickson.
From raising orphaned rhino calves, enhancing the security of our neighbours to protecting elephants from poachers, rangers play varied roles in ensuring a landscape where people and wildlife can coexist peacefully.
In addition to their work, rangers have passions that define their lives. These brave men and women are ordinary human beings entrusted with an extraordinary task, which they take on with zeal and determination.
For #WorldRangerDay, we sought to turn the spotlight on these wildlife heroes and find out all the ways in which Rangers are just like us.
Here's Carol, one of the few female rangers on Lewa. Carol has loved the arts since her primary school days, in particular, performing in plays and writing poetry. To this day, her love of poetry has remained, and she can often be found with a notebook in hand.
Thanks to the dedication of Carol and all of Lewa's rangers, no rhinos have been lost to poaching on Lewa-Borana in the past four years. Through her tireless efforts, Carol is ensuring rhinos will roam free and wild for years to come.
There are many ways to experience Lewa, but few as beautiful and breath-taking as cosy sundowners on the slopes of Mount Kenya.
This sundowner was set up by one of Lewa's lodges, @SirikoiLodge. For the past two years, Condé Nast has included Sirikoi on their Gold List as one of their favourite tourism destinations in the world.
Last week saw the death of one of our oldest rhinos, Ibong.
The elderly rhino tripped and fell, severely injuring himself. By the time we got to him, it was already too late. Ibong is one of Lewa’s pioneering rhinos and has greatly contributed to the growth of the population that began with just 15 animals. Today, Lewa is home to 61 black rhinos. The Conservancy has also reintroduced the species to previously inhabited areas such as @boranaconservancy to the west, and Sera Community Conservancy to the north.
Ibong was one of the most dominant bulls on the Conservancy and until recently, had managed to protect his territory from younger and stronger males. We will miss his tenacious spirit.
Kwaheri, Ibong! He lived a life every rhino in the world should – long, safe and free of poaching.
In May, our conservation partners Ewaso Lions (@ewasolions) spotted 4 new male lions in Samburu, more than 100kms from Lewa.
These boys left Lewa in February and headed towards Ngare Ndare, before moving west to Borana and then Mukogodo Forest where they were last seen. Our team wasn't sure how the lions were doing, and we are thrilled to learn that they are well and thriving!
Three of the lions were born in November 2013 to the same mother and 1 was born in February 2014. And they have names - Brand, Bick, Mwack and Sakilenye.
This stunning photo of Brand was taken by Robbie Labanowski.
An especially curious spectator at today's 18th edition of the @safaricommarathon run here on Lewa!
Huge congratulations to those who took part in both the full and half marathon this morning. It was fantastic to have you all come and run wild with us. For those in Kenya, we hope you managed to watch it live.
Every year, the event continues to have tangible impact on conservation and community development.
Look forward to seeing you all again next year to beat your personal records!!! Video by @batian_kenya
Photo by @martinbuzora
This adorable foal is one of the 77 Grevy's zebras born last year on the Lewa-Borana landscape. The global population of Grevy's remains very low, at approximately 2,600, of which 98% is found here in northern Kenya.
Survival of Grevy’s zebra foals into adulthood remains critical to ensuring that numbers of this endangered equid increase.
Of the 77 foals born in 2016, 68% remained alive by the end of the year. This is an increase in foal survival rate which represents an encouraging trend for our zebra population that remains ‘adult-heavy,’ primarily because of predation.
Find out more about our key species by reading our latest Impact Report - link in bio.
No rhinos lost to poachers for over 3 years, plenty of wildlife births, more than 400 students sponsored through educational bursaries, 31 schools supported, 40,000 people provided with access to healthcare - we are matching our commitment with results!
Read our latest Impact Report (link in bio) that demonstrates how both people and wildlife can benefit from conservation.
A massive thanks to you all, our supporters, for making our work possible.
Rangers Leperere and Kisio enjoy a light moment with tracker dog Tony. Tony is calm, dedicated and hard working. The bloodhound and his brother Tipper have been a part of Lewa's anti-poaching team for the past 5 years.
Last year, our tracker dog unit carried out at least 20 follow-ups in the neighbouring communities, assisting the Kenya Police to investigate crimes and ensure safer areas for both people and wildlife. #rangers#dogs#antipoaching#lewawildlifeconservancy#boranaconservancy#communities#bloodhounds
Agnes was born blind, but that hasn’t stopped this 16-year-old from enjoying learning and participating in sports. She recently competed in long jump and track races at a national level. Go, Agnes!
Agnes is one of 426 children who received education bursaries from us last year.
Since the inception of our education programme more than a decade ago, we have provided bursaries for 795 children at all levels of education to enable them to realise their potential.
The Great Present (@the_great_present) are donating 10% on every men's cotton 'elephant' shirt purchased to us and Space for Giants. Head over to https://www.thegreatpresent.co.uk and grab one of these fabulous shirts. Not only will you be directly supporting our work, but these shirts are also perfect for summer!
Picture by @mwarv
It was a delight to spot cheetah brothers Wallace and Gromit recently during an evening drive. The two are offspring of Lewa's world-famous 'Three Brothers' - a cheetah coalition that captured the world's imagination with its impressive teamwork and sophisticated hunting techniques.
Wallace and Gromit seem to have also developed these skills, employing clever tactics to survive in the wild where cheetahs remain vulnerable from attacks by larger predators.