Conservation in Kenya: From Zebra to Antelope
In 2007, representatives from the Zoological Society traveled to Kenya to work with local communities on drafting a long-term collaborative plan that would help save wildlife in the region, as well as improve the lives of the local people through conservation. Since 2003, ZSSD had been supporting the West Gate Conservancy and the Grevy’s Zebra Trust, both part of a number of wildlife conservancies that were established under the umbrella of the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT). The NRT’s mission is to “develop resilient community conservancies that transform lives, secure peace, and conserve natural resources.” The meetings in 2007 solidified ZSSD’s ongoing partnerships with the communities, seeking to protect the rich biodiversity of the area that includes Grevy’s zebras, black rhinos, lions, giraffes, African elephants, and hirola antelope, among many other species.
The ZSSD representatives—including curator Carmi Penny, seen here with community members—were welcomed warmly, with a special ceremony to initiate them into the Samburu community. They joined in the traditional chanting, dancing, and jumping of the ceremony—and they even received bright-red Samburu robes as honorary members of the family!