Daphne Sheldrick's

Oct 28th, 2007, 12:47 PM
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Patty: that is a fantastic point about the population densities and that is exactly why there needs to be a race in Kenya to conserve as much land as possible before it is all overrun with people. The reality is with that many people they will never approach the protection levels that the other countries already have in place and the unfortunate effect is wildlife will likely continue to decline until most of the species only exist in the protected areas which hopefully remain sufficiently protected. I would hope Kenya continues to add more protected areas and make them of economic value to the local populations so as to serve both wildlife and people. I believe there are still many large private ranches and that provides opportunity to convert ranching to wildlife with tourism funds flowing in.

Interesting stat I found on the park revenues. In Kenya only 6 out of 59 parks make a profit and the money made in those 6 has to carry the other 53 parks. Something to think about that your fees are funding lots of work that you personally won't see the results of but without it other parks that are important to wildlife could dwindle.

Nyamera: I think our views conflict because you are focused on the people (the tourist) and my focus is on the wildlife, so we are both viewing from a different angle. You state that you "think the whole idea of conservation through setting aside lands to be enjoyed only by the privileged few is wrong in its core." Your concern seems to be all about the 'privilidged few' people who get the enjoyment of visiting where as my focus is on the fact that wildlife has a place to live. I don't care if only a few, or even no one gets to visit, what I care about is wild dogs have a place to den and elephants a safe place to drink. Am I jealous that I cannot visit an area and someone else has the good fortune too, sure sometimes, but at my core I want wildlife populations to continue to persist whether I personally get to experience them or not.

I agree with you that depending on tourism can be precarious but what else are these countries to do. If the land is conserved now there are options in the future. Foregoing tourism funding conservation at this point just means people will overconsume the land for uses that provide them rewards and there would be nothing left. I believe Botswana has been taking money from diamonds and tourism and investing in other long-term vehicles to provide a steady future, I hope other countries can follow suit.

I don't have time to do a comprehensive review of Tanzania vs. Kenya wildlife and have no goal to glorify one over the other. I care about all of these countries doing well by protecting their wildlife heritage and growing their economies and ideally connecting lands together to create large areas of conservation. Since you ask here are two quick examples of large ranging, high profile species. Tanzania is estimated to have 80% of the East African elephant population. Tanzania also is estimated to have 1/2 of all the lions in Africa, anywhere from 10 to 15,000. Kenya had about 7,000 lions in the early 1990's but are down to 2,000 now. Of course this all has to do with land use and protected areas as Tanzania protects 3 times as much by percentage of acreage and its a bigger country to begin with.

I would love to vist Sweden and take advantage of no park fees and someday I probably will. It doesn't sound like you enjoy it very much but I love the boreal forest, especially on snowshoes when tracking is easier! Perhaps this is another difference I love the natural world and treasure what we have here in the USA as well as what all the other regions have to offer. Africa is easy wildlife viewing and that makes it special for sure. I can say that standing in the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone in the spring and at one time seeing grizzly bear (no lion would want a piece of this animal), wolves, bison (similar size much more agile than buffalo), elk, pronghorn antelope (second fastest mammal to the cheetah), deer, and coyote is spectacular too. Something like 90% of all visitors to the USA national parks never venture more than 2 miles off of the road leaving great wildernesses to be explored and most people do not seem to realize the tremendous natural heritage that still remains in the USA.

Lynda: the daytime activity and heavy levels of habituation certainly make Africa the easy paradise for wildlife viewing. We have great sights as well but they do tend to take more work, patience or luck depending on species. Most of our predators are shy and careful. I do think going on safari can awaken for some the inner-African that was our ancient ancestor who needed to sense and spot the wildlife and thus you pay more attention and begin to discover how much is around you in your home environment. In your general area I did make a trip to Vancouver Island 2 years ago and went far north. North of Telegraph Cove I found 6 different black bears driving around in the early evening. We also went by boat into Knight Inlet and saw grizzly bears as well as orcas. Great area to explore!

Well I think park fees is beaten to death now, glad it provoked a little thought without it getting too ugly.

I don't want to hijack this important thread as the focus needs to be kept on the current plight of Sheldricks. I will be sending in a donation as well and hope this does not become a long term problem for them.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Oct 28th, 2007, 02:27 PM
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Predator: yes I think our views conflict because you, as many others, are completely focused on wildlife believing you can just “think away” people (tourists, locals and even yourselves and your complete motives) and that the important thing is that wildlife has a place to live where there’re no people, working for that without a thought about politics, history and the reality of people’s lives – or if there’re ways for people and wildlife to share living space - in the places that are supposed to be emptied for wildlife. I’d say atrocious human rights abuses have been committed in every single one of the African “safari countries” to fulfil the wishes of foreign conservationists (when this at the same time have benefited the people in power of those countries). Sometimes the fashion is that the cooperation of communities of generic “poor people” should be sought through wells, schools and training for the good ones for positions in the tourism industry. When the fashion is otherwise or when it’s “necessary” they can be beaten up and their houses burned to make way for wildlife. I’m ashamed to say that, mostly because of ignorance, I was part of this school of thinking before my first trip to Kenya.

Another reason our views conflict is that I can’t imagine a life without Africa and the only future I want for myself is living in Kenya.
Nyamera is offline  
Oct 28th, 2007, 03:17 PM
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I plan on visiting Sheldricks in March 09, and considering the cost of the trip, another few dollars to see the baby ellies wont be too much of a drama, which doesnt mean I agree with it. We pay $40 now to go to the zoo, so my thoughts are, for the chance to meet our babies it's worth it. Unfortunately by the time we get there our babies will be at Ithumba and it seems it's a huge problem to get there and back.
If anyone has some photos or videos of Makena I'd really love to see them, she doesnt seem to be very photogenic so the photos of her are scarce.
sallysaab is offline  
Oct 28th, 2007, 05:03 PM
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Nyamera: I think you have the wrong person to lump into the trying to 'think' people away category. In my second post on this thread I mentioned the importance of accruing benefits to locals being a key to conservation. This topic would be a big expansion of the previous discussion, it had been a focus on fees and using them to protect land and wildlife. People are a huge part of the equation and I have demonstrated all over other posts and with my actions that I'm involved on that side of things as well. Friday I leave for Botswana and I first stay at a lodge supporting the almost extinct way of the bushmen at Deception Valley Lodge, second I go to Delta Camp which provide jobs for locals to earn money by following their traditional way of life as you do not do game drives but instead travel in their mokoro and do walks in the Delta as well as visit their village with them. Third I stay at Mapula Camp which is on a private concession that still contains the local village. Delta and Mapula accrue large revenues to the local people and use all local employees including the camp managers. This is a continuation of an ongoing philosophy as I have stayed at the first (only at the time) 100% community owned lodge in South Africa (Buffalo Ridge Lodge) as well as the first in Namibia (Damarland Camp). I have done the research to find and support these places because I want to see the maximum benefits go to the indigenous inhabitants and I have frequently posted on such subjects. Beyond that support via my travel which greatly benefits me too since they are fantastic experiences, I have been working as a trustee for a NGO that is currently being formed called Network for Africa and ground has already been broken on our first project: Ntarama Community Health & Education Centre in Rwanda to support a community of over 3,000 genocide victims. They will have fulltime access to medical care, a computer cafe with 25 computers at this point for learning IT and then helping them with microbusinesses, multiple classrooms, community meeting rooms and solar power so they have a place to work and meet after dark. We have also put together numerous pshycotherapy sessions to help deal with the aftermath of the genocide. Yep, I think about the people alot and spend time, resources, and money to try and make a difference. In short I don't just type a bunch of theory on these boards, I work in conservaton and I serve to help people and wildlife in Africa.

That's it for me on this thread, too important to keep sidetracking. Feel free to call me out on a new thread if you'd like to discuss any other topics.

I hope you acheive your dream of living in Kenya! I don't think we differ that much in that regard either but I'm not waiting for a job to open up in Africa to start working there, I'm already doing it and laying the ground work for more future involvement. I would be interested in hearing what you are doing to help people in Kenya and what type of work you would like to do when you get there.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Oct 29th, 2007, 09:18 AM
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Predator, I’ve noticed your interest in community-based tourism before, but as your creed is to, above all, maximise lands set aside for wildlife – which inevitable leads to human rights abuse, at least in Africa - I supposed this interest was exclusively related to the benefit to wildlife. I’ve read some posts where people declare that to help wildlife they avoid “people-related” charities. They think people are too well off and that a higher infant mortality would be a convenient way to create more space for wildlife. It’s so extreme that my only response, if any, has been to discreetly suggest starting by removing the human beings with the worst ecological footprint – via suicide. I don’t think these people have that much influence in conservation (or at least I hope so). Well-meaning, but ignorant conservationists who celebrate wildlife “success stories” without having, or wanting to have, any knowledge of the human costs are more dangerous.

What am I doing to help people in Kenya? I’m not used to your self-promotional style of writing. As I’m semi-anonymous here I don’t care about hiding my stupidity and moral flaws. I even exaggerate them because I’m mainly here to seek advice as a tourist/Kenya addict and as a person wanting to know the truth so that I don’t do anything bad without knowing it. To convert my latest trip into self-promotion I could say that Bushbuck is on a group ranch where people are living and that the hideous fees go directly (???) to them. That almost all the staff was local (though management and guide were from Nairobi). My intention was to stay at a guiding school for local Maasai youths, but the opening of their camp had been delayed. Mara Intrepids seek actively to employ as high a percentage of local people as possible, management positions included (but my driver was from Nairobi). Earlier I’ve stayed at a gold eco-rated camp and community relations are included in the rating. I’ve often “employed” annoying “guides” from the street, mostly on the coast; in Nairobi I lose my patience. It would be a great ego boost to be a trustee for an NGO, but I don’t move in the circles where that kind of thing happens. I’ve been offered similar things, but at a conman level. I’ve donated some money to a school in Talek and some NGOs, but more important than “helping” is to let Kenyans in were they certainly don’t really need any help, like in selling interesting handicraft abroad. I have a business and I’ve spent a lot of money buying things from Kenya and many hours in boreal conditions that I don’t enjoy at all trying to sell them. My intention is to make a profit for myself as well, but it hasn’t happened – yet. Among others, I’m buying from people with polio who are supporting their families. I could probably come up with more, but this holier than thou competition is taking a worrying amount of time that I don’t have. Yes, I also sometimes I give money to people who ask me. You’re obviously holier than I, but I think I’ve helped you a lot on your way to sainthood. Now when you hear about a NP being created you’ll investigate if people are being evicted, beaten up or worse (and you’ll probably find that it’s the case, though information is usually difficult to find until years after the events)

I don’t expect to find a job in Kenya. The only way is through some kind of business and that’s an extreme long-term project. I also have some other plans that I won’t mention here.

Re. Sheldrick’s, there’s some info on Bushdrums almost confirming my suspicion that it’s a conflict on individual level.
Nyamera is offline  
Oct 29th, 2007, 11:13 AM
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Nyamera: I now see you are calling me names on Bushdrums too, although I guess ‘Saintlike’ and ‘Houlier than thou’ is better than most alternatives even though I’m pretty sure they really mean the same thing;-) as the names that would have to be censored. I’m sorry that I defended myself against your incorrect characterization that I don’t care about people and just want to think them away, clearly you didn’t want to see my active efforts as now you view it as a competition and I look like a braggart and called a self-promoter for trying to keep the characterization of myself accurate in this community with facts rather than unfounded conjecture. This Fodors board has a tiresome trend of people getting personal, not sure why its so difficult to discuss alternate ways of thinking on an intellectual level without having to mischaracterize and/or attack individuals and begin name calling. It’s a poor game that I have no interest in.

I am interested in your craft selling venture as I'm keen to learn more about microbusiness loans and marketing the resulting products abroad. I think its clear that you have the passion and energy to create a good niche for your involvement in Kenya.

I happen to think with 88% of Kenya’s lands in human hands and only 12% dedicated for wildlife that there needs to be more emphasis on protecting additional wildlife habitat than you do. I don’t advocate abuse of people to make additional parks, and I believe its been demonstrated that the associated revenues can be one of the best ways to help people. With human populations exploding and wildlife disappearing rapidly I think wildlife conservation is a critical need and that it needs to happen in conjunction with local peoples. Sorry that has inspired your loathing for me personally because you have a different view point.

I apologize to everyone else for sidetracking this thread!! I thought I was introducing a relevant, thought provoking issue into it regarding park fees (which a few people did seem to appreciate) but clearly it has run off the road for which I’m sorry to all who support the Sheldrick Trust.

At least we've kept the thread near the top>-
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Oct 29th, 2007, 03:24 PM
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Predator, actually you started with the vulgar rant about “people who never want to pay any park fees to protect animals”. I’ve never seen that kind of people on Fodor’s, but I regularly see that kind of self-complacent rant appearing completely uncalled for or as an answer to someone worrying about skyrocketing safari costs. The ranter is usually joined by someone who hasn’t made a sacrifice in his/her life and who wants to add some theory about what the imaginary non-park-fee-paying creature wants to do with its money – like visiting Disney Parks. They form a cosy little community and all (2 or 3?) Fodorites that are sleepless over costs are too ashamed to intervene in the thread – except I, or at least from now on I’ll intervene every time this rant appears. In this thread the rant was 100% uncalled for as sammyl didn’t say anything about park fees for visiting parks, but for visiting the Sheldrick’s Trust, which is like demanding park fees for passing through a dark Nairobi alley. It’d be ugly even if it could be proven that the money was going to a de-snaring project.

Then, talking about incorrect characterization, you went on accusing me of being sickened by generous people when it was quite clear that I was sickened by hypocrites.

Then you continued your incorrect characterization saying the reason for this conflict is that my focus is on the tourist and your focus is on the wildlife, when the truth is that I try to view things from ALL different angles and you only view things from your dogma. And, I don’t even think I care less about habitat for wildlife than you do.

Where have it been demonstrated that revenue from national parks can be one of the best ways to help people? I haven’t heard of a single case. Where in Africa have national parks been made without abuse of people? The only thing I can think of is some community projects that seem to be on a good road - and many that don’t. In what way is Deception Valley Lodge fighting against the ongoing atrocities committed by the Botswana government against the Bushmen of Central Kalahari?

This thread is very stressful to me as I’m a slow writer and I have heaps of work that’s not done, but I’ll continue defending myself and, hopefully, adding something of value. I’d rather be asking about Nyama’s trip or investigating what’s really happening at Sheldrick’s.
Nyamera is offline  
Oct 29th, 2007, 05:02 PM
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Maybe we make a 24-hours break here?
nyama is offline  
Oct 30th, 2007, 12:25 AM
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This is what Daphne Sheldrick had to say in an email I sent to her:

Dear ,

The treatment the Trust has received at the hands of KWS is, indeed, outrageous, especially as the $40 Entrance Fee at the Service Gate was arbitrarily imposed without any discussion with us, the Tour Industry, or even their own Trustees. More outrageous still is the PR obviously going on at the Gate, which is a good recipe of how to lose friends and make enemies. We have no less than some 47 elephants still Keeper dependent, not to mention the wages for 54 trained Keepers working in our three establishments, rescue costs which include the charter of aircraft to bring the orphans in, Veterinary bills to heal them, the need to purchase milk and medical supplies etc., etc. At any age an elephant duplicates its human counterpart and so the orphans are reliant on us for at least l0 years until they are comfortable with the wild herds and have made the transition. We have hand-reared over 85 elephant orphans over the past 11 years, 33 of whom are now living wild. The money we raise through visiting tourists has never been sufficient for the entire Orphans Project and we rely on grants from other caring organizations and donors. It is not yet self sufficient even. Quite apart from that, the Trust has been able to raise funding overseas for specific KWS projects that reflect a lot of hard work and substantial support over the 50 years that I have worked for wildlife. We feel very wounded that a kick has obviously replaced a “thanks” . It has probably hurt them more than us since it has resulted in immense ill-will amongst the public in general, hundreds of irate visitors and tourists, many threatening to boycott Kenya as a destination, but it has of course resulted in a huge dip in the revenue we need to raise the elephants and rhinos in our care.

However, the matter went to the Trustees, and a Committee has been established by the Chairman of Trustees to hold discussions with all parties involved and try and come to an amicable solution. Whilst the Trust is very happy that our orphans should help try and save this dying Park, which is losing its luster because they refuse to fence the boundary open to the once dispersal area, which is now cut off by a burgeoning human population, we would have expected more sensitive treatment from the beneficiary of many years of our hard work and support, hoping that they would perhaps understand that the orphans, and the goodwill and positive publicity they have brought Kenya worldwide, is something money could not buy, and as such should be worthy of at least some appreciation.

With very best wishes

Daphne Sheldrick

roadwarriorafrica is offline  
Oct 30th, 2007, 04:20 AM
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Thank you for posting this update. I do hope that the Trustee Chairman will be able to find a solution that works for all parties involved as soon as possible.

melissaom is offline  
Oct 30th, 2007, 04:44 AM
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Oh, and that $40 fee isn't even a 24/hr fee (as other park fees are) as I had reconfirmed to me this morning... ugh!

If you decide to return in the evening to visit your chubby babies, you're expected to pay another $40.

I believe this will not only impact Sheldrick but the other tours visitors take while in NBO... trickle down!!!!

Bad, bad, bad decision all around.

If a fee has to be assessed it should be reasonable, at minimum, by half for adults and reduced more for children and good for 24/hrs.
sandi is offline  
Oct 30th, 2007, 07:01 AM
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That's been our experience at other KWS parks as well. The park fee is good for a stay of up to 24 hours only if it's continuous. Once you exit the park, you need to pay again to re-enter even if the re-entry is within the same 24 hour period.

From kws.org:

For the purposes of these REGULATIONS a "DAILY FEE" is a fee for one day (twenty-four hours [24] or part thereof) of continuous stay within a specified National Park or Reserve.
Patty is online now  
Oct 30th, 2007, 08:32 AM
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Roadwarrior, thanks for the information! I wonder what kind of PR is going on at the gate.
I hope this will be solved very soon.

Nyamera is offline  
Feb 11th, 2008, 04:13 AM
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Has there been any change of heart from KWS? Do we still have to pay the fee?
roadwarriorafrica is offline  
Feb 11th, 2008, 04:19 AM
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Last I heard, this fee is "under discussion" and is temporarily lifted and haven't heard anything further since last dates of this thread. Best you inquire of your tour operator on-the-ground to see whether this has been reinstituted at same rate or lower. Another source would be the actual Sheldrick website, where they may have posted an update.
sandi is offline  
Feb 12th, 2008, 02:40 AM
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We visited Sheldrick's a couple of weeks ago and only incurred donation fee of $5 pp. Our driver wasn't sure if we would have to pay the $40 fee, but I think it's a new world in Nairobi right now with so few visitors.
jayne_wagner is offline  
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