When Jim Justus Nyamu, a-k-a the “Elephant Man”, walked into the LWF offices over 5 years ago claiming that he had grand plans to walk from Nairobi to Marsabit in support of Elephant conservation, intrigue quickly merged with some scepticism. But LWF’s membership believed in this ambitious cause from the very beginning and has been supporting Jim with both financial and in-kind donations ever since.
To date, the “Ivory Belongs to Elephants Walk Campaign” has received enormous support from the Kenyan Government, foreign governments represented in Kenya such as Ireland and the US, County Governments, big corporations as well as wildlife and environmental Ministries. First Lady, H.E. Mrs Margaret Kenyatta has also supported the cause.
Jim, the founder of Elephant Neighbours Centre (ENC) and Research Scientist, has now walked 10,457 km which includes an astounding 3,480 km walked in the East Africa region (Kenya – Tanzania – Uganda 2016).
ENC is a Non-profit Organisation whose mission is to protect the African elephant and secure landscapes for elephants outside protected areas. The organisation places emphasis on a three-tier approach: integrating community knowledge, environment and livelihoods in resolving principal problems and bias facing conservation in Kenya.
The Ivory belongs to Elephants campaign has also involved 2, 198 learning institutions and held over 3, 780 community meetings in Mombasa, Nairobi, Maasai Mara, Samburu, Mt. Kenya and the Tsavo Conservation Area just to name a few.
Jim’s 2017 Nairobi – Mt. Kenya – Marsabit walk covered 617 km in 32 days. On his journey, he managed to meet with 51 communities and also attended the Loiyangalani Cultural Festival held on the shores of Lake Turkana in Marsabit County in order to create awareness about elephant conservation. All the meetings were organised and coordinated by County Commissioners and KWS.
The organising team also felt strongly that the 2017 walk needed to address issues surrounding the growing conflict between cattle herders and ranchers in Laikipia. These conflicts have resulted in the unprecedented killings of wildlife, burning of tourism facilities that generate vast amounts of money for the County’s development, not to mention the devastating loss of too many Kenyan lives.
In 2007, the elephant population stood at 20,376 in Kenya. Today, the numbers are significantly lower making this species critically endangered as a result of poaching and habitat loss. Despite global attention to the plight of elephants, their population sizes and trends are uncertain or unknown. To conserve this iconic species, conservationists need timely, accurate data on elephant populations.
Notable strides are being made to save this iconic species. The corridor that connects Mt. Kenya and Lewa’s Ngare Ndare Forest is working well and conservationists hope that other heavily wildlife populated areas in the country can borrow a leave from this. Elephants and other wildlife migrate when they are either looking for water, pasture, salt licks and even medicinal plants! These form fundamental reasons for opening, maintaining and conserving wildlife corridors and habitats.
The two most recent elephant aerial surveys indicate a decline in elephants in the Marsabit ecosystem, which has two distinct habitats: the forested and savanna habitats. It would be prudent to carry out an independent forest survey in Marsabit National Park to establish how many resident forested elephants utilize the forest, density distribution and threats.
LWF will continue to support Jim as he plans for the 2018 Ivory Belongs to Elephants Walk Campaign, and we hope you can too! To find out more, please contact Jim on:
Phone: +254 723 398 190 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org