Save The Elephants

Dear Diane and Katie,

Greetings from Samburu! I hope that you are well this summer. Hopefully, with fun activities set for the season!

As you might have heard or read about the situation here in Kenya, we have had issues due to the drought that has greatly affected the country, with the dry regions of Northern Kenya, where we work, as the most affected. Pastoralists have a tough time finding pasture for their livestock, which has brought in conflicts in conservation areas, both human-wildlife conflict as well as conflict among the different ethnic groups. We are hopeful that the situation will get better, with the recent interventions to promote peace in the region, and government agencies providing relief or subsidized food to the affected.

I am writing to give you an update on Sheila Lebarlaiya’s and Jackline Akuwam’s progress and share with you their results for First Term of the 2017 Academic Year. The two girls are now in Form Two (the second year of high school, similar to the Sophomore year) and are progressing well in school. 

Thanks to you, Diane and Katie, Jackline is able to shine in this school, and work towards her dreams of overcoming all the challenges and achieving great things in life. Jackline continues to remain at the top of her class at AIC Moi Girls’ High School, where she performed quite well in the last school term. She ranked as position 4 out of 171, with an average of Grade C+. Despite the low performance in English and Chemistry, Jackline managed to perform quite well, in a commendable position. We always buy her books as she requests, according to the school requests, or even when we come across great book that she can use for revision. In view of this, we will be meeting with her this coming school holiday – August – to discuss her challenges, and hopefully, it will allow us to understand how we can help her, despite buying books for revision. 

Sheila, on the other hand, has really continued to put more effort in her studies, despite the slight decline in her grades. With an average of grade C, Sheila has performed quite fairly, but due to the high competition in her school (which is a top National School), she has ranked as position 205 out of 252. Things have not been easy for her, especially since she has moved to a new class, with more content to study. She says that she realizes that she has not done her best, and is working hard to improve in this school term. We believe that the discipline and positivity that she exudes will reflect on her school grades this coming term.

Both Sheila and Jackline will be closing school in early August, just before the National elections are held on August 8th. Every August holiday, we do organise to host the Form One and Two students in Camp for the Khan Academy Tuition Program, and this coming holiday the girls would be joining us. However, we are not entirely sure about the program this coming August holiday. This is because we cannot predict the aftermath of the post-election period. All we can do is hope and pray that we will have a peaceful transition. Nothing looks alarming at the moment, but just to ensure the safety of all our students and staff, we would want to have everyone in their homes by the election period and probably, the immediate post-election period. 

Diane, we cannot thank you enough for giving Sheila this opportunity to pursue her dreams, and together with Katie, for ensuring that Jackline as well, goes to high school, provided with all that she needs, in this journey of the pursuit of her dreams. Thank you Diane and Katie, the girls are so very grateful to you for your support, and from the STE/EWS Education Program, we wish to thank you immensely for the incredible support that you have given us! 

With gratitude,

Connie

Dear Diane, 

I hope this email finds you well. Sorry for the delay in hearing back from us, I have just come back from camp where we had a very busy couple of weeks with our partners from Disney. We have a decade long research partnership with their scientists from their Animal Behaviour department and Dr Joseph Soltis came out to help us implement a new project that we are working on using an audio recording of bee sounds to see if this will temporarily deter elephants from approaching a newly built (and hence empty) beehive fence. The bee audio system (we still need a good name for it!) has a sensor to trigger it if an elephant comes close but also has a manual switch that the farmer can press if they see elephants approaching their farm. It lets off a VERY loud angry bee sound so we are hopeful that this will be enough to prevent elephants from breaking a freshly built beehive fence. This concept isn’t to be used instead of bees but the idea is to place it around newly built farms so that there is something to prevent elephants from crop raiding whilst they wait for bees to occupy the hives. 

save the elephants

Whilst we were with Disney and the E&B team of students and local staff we were able to build the beehive fence with your kind donation.

save the elephants

The 300m beehive fence (consisting of 15 beehives and 14 dummy hives) went to the farmer, Leonard who tragically had part of his house knocked down and raided by hungry elephants in March. We had a fantastic few days building the fence around 1.25 acres of his farm with the help of Leonard and his family – it was a great team effort. I have attached some photos to share with you of your fence, Leonard and his family are over the moon with it and are looking forward to feeling more secure behind their elephant deterrent fence.

save the elephants

We decided to put the new audio bee system at his farm, to provide immediate protection from elephants as the lack of rain and crops in the area means we are not convinced we will get any new bee occupations immediately. This is an exciting concept for Leonard, and our team are still fiddling around with the system as there are a few teething problems with the solar battery charger but we are hopeful that it should be finished and operating fully soon. 

save the elephants

I am sharing our intern Lorna’s blog which describes the audio bee system and building your beehive fence http://elephantsandbees.com/deterring-elephants-with-the-sound-of-bees/ . We will keep you updated with Leonard’s progress and we thank you on behalf of him and his family for their life changing gift. I hope you can come and visit him and us in Tsavo one day! 

save the elephants

With best wishes, 

Lucy

Dr Lucy King, MSc, DPhil.

Head of Human-Elephant Co-Existence Program
Elephants and Bees Project Leader
Save the Elephants
P.O. Box 54667, Nairobi 00200, Kenya
Email 1: lucy@savetheelephants.org
Website: www.elephantsandbees.com

Research Associate, Department of Zoology
University of Oxford, UK
Email 2: lucy.king@zoo.ox.ac.uk

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ElephantsandBees

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