By Marcy Mendelson
I was in Kenya this July, in Samburu County, working on a story about cheetahs, and found myself camping with conservationists at the ranger station in Meibae Community Conservancy.
Meibae, founded in 2006 through the Northern Rangelands Trust, borders the Ewaso Nyiro River in Samburu County. It’s a dry, rocky region, subject to drought, and it’s a key wildlife corridor for the endangered Grevys zebra, as well as cheetahs and elephants.
The local people, the Samburu, are pastoralists who keep goats, sheep, and camels and live in semi-permanent home clusters called manyattas.
Samburu communities collaborate with the Northern Rangelands Trust in monitoring wildlife and creating management plans and future tourism initiatives.
My Samburu guide, Chris Lentaam, was kind enough to act as an interpreter and facilitate interviews in the local market, where we spoke with young warriors (known as moran) and women about the state of wildlife and their concerns about the recent severe drought.
The day was cut short when word came from the ranger station about a dead elephant in the area.
The rangers’ truck was out for repairs, and they needed a ride to the site.
We dropped off two rangers by the side of the road, and they marched into the bush where the elephant was said to be, about six miles from the road.
By nightfall, confirmation came that the elephant had been poached. More....