Early in March, children from Nairobi and Laikipia were given a wonderful opportunity to participate in a fun wildlife research project. In an event dubbed the “Kids Twiga Challenge”, a diverse group of kids from a variety of backgrounds were able to contribute to conservation education and learning in Laikipia by helping scientists to study the population of giraffe in Laikipia.
The event was organized by Wildlife Direct, Mpala Research Centre, Laikipia Wildlife Forum, Princeton and Columbia Universities as well as by researchers who are in the process of developing the IBEIS (Image Based Ecological Identification System) which the children used to “count” the giraffe.
The first results of the survey demonstrated that there were more giraffe found in conservancies where wildlife management was more of a priority, in comparison to community group ranches. The information collected will be useful for future planning on conservation, community engagement and further understanding wildlife behaviour. Because of the success of the tally, more schools have expressed an interest in participating in an event like this again. LWF’s Wild Class will help make this happen, by giving children the opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way both to science and to the land around them.