Rangers remain the last line of defense not only for elephants but all of Africa’s wildlife. Despite risking their lives to protect our precious natural resources, their welfare isn’t well looked after; some earning as little as $2 a day.

Aside from the threats from poachers and wildlife, lack of adequate access to basic needs, amenities, and equipment, this is a job unlike any other with a whole set of underlying challenges beneath the green uniform.
It is a tough and thankless job, having to work from dawn to nightfall, and sometimes even through the night if they find a poacher’s tracks.
With no weekends, no public holidays, no birthdays or even Christmas, rangers must stay away from their families for up to 11 months out of a year and what goes on at home while they are away is enough to shake any man.

At Ulinzi Africa Foundation, we believe that the key to keeping the African elephant wild and thriving is to safeguard not only the elephant itself but also its habitat and roaming space.

To do this, we must work closely with the Rangers, to empower them to be more effective in their work. Our vision is to empower African Rangers by offering both financial and technical support to help them in conservation efforts.

We firmly believe that it is our responsibility as Africans, to protect our wild flora and fauna whilst working together with inter-governmental representatives and bodies, as well as private, international and local supporters of wildlife.
Indeed, it is the only way we will then be able to enjoy the bountiful privileges of nature’s wondrous resources, together.

LETTERS FROM THE TEAM

Will Travers, OBE

International Patron, Ulinzi Africa Foundation

Will Travers, OBE

Africa is still a place of great wide open spaces and a myriad wildlife species to amaze and admire and, across that great Continent, Kenya stands out as sparkling jewel.

Despite a rapidly growing human population and related development pressures, Kenya is a magical country where, thanks to the efforts of many, including the Kenya Wildlife Service; over 30,000 wild elephant roam together with 2,000 lions, 1,000 rhino, leopard, cheetah, buffalo, giraffe and literally thousands of species of animals and plants.

Safeguarding a future for Kenya’s wildlife and the wild places it relies on for its survival is a massive undertaking, too great for any one entity – even the redoubtable KWS. That is why partnerships are so important.

That is why I am delighted to be the International Patron of Ulinzi Africa Foundation, a non-government organisation created by Raabia Hawa, one of Kenya’s new generation of wildlife leaders and, herself, an Honorary Wildlife Warden.

Raabia’s passion for wildlife and wilderness areas together with her compassion for the rangers and wardens charged with protecting threatened species and local communities who frequently share their lives with wild animals, mark her out as an extraordinary and visionary individual.

Her wider mission is to inspire all generations, but especially the young, to engage with and support efforts to protect wildlife and to secure the natural environments on which wild animals and many millions of people rely. Her more specific focus is the remote area of north-eastern coastal Kenya, close to the border with Somalia, where wildlife still abounds but where the rule of law is weak.

Together with the community rangers of Ulinzi Africa Foundation, the Kenya Wildlife Service and her supporters, it is Raabia’s intention to do everything possible to bring stability and community benefits to the often forgotten part of the country. Her aim is to ensure that when security in the region is once more established, as surely it must be, thriving wildlife populations will mean that opportunities for local people to benefit from the employment and development opportunities that come from carefully and responsibly managed wildlife tourism will flow once more.

I have seen Raabia in action. Her grit and determination are self-evident. Her commitment beyond doubt. The only thing preventing her from fully delivering her dream are the resources to turn that dream into reality.

So I ask one simple question – will you help Raabia? Compared to the huge sums required by others, she operates a lean, efficient and dynamic operation where every pound, dollar, euro or shilling goes a long way.

She will keep you informed of progress every step of the way, explaining the challenges, setting out the solutions and being accountable to you for your support.

But I am not just asking you to lend your support. I will put my own money where my mouth is by donating US$250 personally to Ulinzi Africa Foundation. If just 500 people worldwide did the same then Raabia would achieve her annual financial target. However, I know that this may not be possible, so whatever you can manage be it $100, $50 or even $25 will make a real difference to Raabia, Ulinzi Africa Foundation and some of Kenya’s most amazing yet vulnerable wildlife.

And if you are would like it go the extra mile then, every year, Raabia organises several Walks With Rangers, where you can join her on specially-created wildlife walks across some of Kenya’s most spectacular and wildlife-rich country – learning, experiencing and being inspired by Raabia who will walk with you every step of the way.

Kenya’s wildlife needs help. Ulinzi Africa Foundation and Raabia Hawa can bring that help. All they need is your support.

Join me and make a dream come true!

Thank you for your kind consideration.

Raabia Hawa

Executive Director, Ulinzi Africa Foundation

Raabia Hawa

What an incredible journey I have had the privilege of being on… my deep love for wildlife now runs not only in my veins, but has finally sprung to life.

Ulinzi Africa Foundation. When we launched in 2014 as East Africa’s first non-profit focused on improving ranger welfare, empowerment and facilitation, I never imagined we would gain as much traction and support as we have in our short lifespan as an organization. For this, I wish to extend my heartfelt gratitude to all our donors and supporters; with your help we are already mobilizing rangers in critical ecosystems in Kenya.

In a decade of active involvement on the ground, particularly on anti-poaching and desnaring operations, I have seen and endured much. Emotions run high as does the adrenaline whenever there is a chase or a successful rescue or arrest, and I am often asked to recount events over campfires and into cameras. Such was my life of adventure before the harsh reality struck and my life changed. It was no longer enough to raise awareness and shout from the rooftops about all that I saw, it was time to do something and fix this problem.

In Spring of 2011, I had the opportunity to visit and work in a very special place in Kenya. A coastal forest teeming with the wildest of game, and home to birthing grounds of our most precious elephants. I had many notable experiences here, but one that shifted the course of my life to what it is today. My first day on patrol in the coastal forests…

It began early in the morning, with a notably demoralized team that had (and still have) no facilitation for mobility. We drove into the forested patch that adjoins the beachfront to the waterpans across the savanna grasslands, and I laced up my boots, ready to begin the day’s work. I didn’t realize how bad the poaching situation was here on the afternoon of my arrival, it seemed so picturesque and peaceful.

That changed dramatically when I nearly walked right into a rope snare within the first three minutes of our patrol. The first thing I noticed was the type of snares being so different to the wire snares I was so used to from Tsavo. These would be hard to spot, set using natural vines and the anchor rope (most likely sourced from what washes ashore on the beachfront) was dug under bark and soil. It was also difficult to track any footprints as the forest cover here is extremely dense, and the leaves fall and cover everything within a matter of hours. I knew this would be challenging, and soon the forest smells began to engulf us as we moved further in.

Wafts of humid wind from the seaside blew through the forest where we were, carrying with them the smell of carcass upon carcass; and leaving me for the first time, feeling physically ill. I barely signaled for a break, when we arrived at what seemed to be the core zone for harvesting poached bushmeat. This ‘Bush Butchery’ as it’s known locally, absolutely tore me to pieces inside. Barely fifteen minutes prior, we were walking amongst herds of wild grazing game and getting excited over lion spoor, and now here I was, literally stumbling upon freshly poached buffalo heads, and almost walking right into hanging buffalo legs in the trees. The sight was gruesome, and after a recovery of a large heap of snares, it was time to head back to camp.

I set my bag down and took off my boots and took a deep breath. Tears began rolling down my face. This was the end of my work in conservation, I thought to myself. I couldn’t possibly do anything about this situation, it was beyond any help at all and we just have to come to the realization that wildlife has no place in the future anymore. I had given up. Those brown boots I got from the army shop in the U.K. would never do another patrol again and I would go back to strappy heels and television.

I was exhausted and went to bed. After quite a nice and well-deserved lie-in, I got up the next day and as I was brushing my teeth, looked up to see all the rangers, in formation and in uniform, and they said ‘Tuko tayari mama, tunaenda?’ (‘We’re ready ma’am, are we going?’). Shocked, I responded positively, got my uniform and boots on, and never looked back ever since. I was not going to give up on this place, and four years on, remain as determined as I was then, to save the wildlife in these critical and dense forests.

For me, it was a mission that led to the formation of Ulinzi Africa Foundation, inspired also by the critical message we tried to get across on the challenges these men and women on the frontlines endure every day in protecting wildlife. The Walk With Rangers awareness walk we did from Arusha (Tanzania) to Nairobi (Kenya) in 2014, spiraled into a fundraising success and situational experience with immense educational value. We trekked more than 450 kilometres over 15 days enduring harsh varied terrain and weather conditions to show solidarity with rangers in Africa, recognizing that they are the ultimate protectors and guardians of nature.

It is my hope that Ulinzi Africa Foundation will continue to grow and begin making critical changes with your support in these remote regions of immense biodiversity value before it is too late to salvage. Indeed in protecting these conservation pockets in Africa, we protect our very souls.

With hope for Africa,

Raabia