Economic development and reforestation
Wildlife Works' mission is to harness the power of the global consumer to create innovative and sustainable solutions for wildlife conservation. Not long ago, the 80,000 acres we now know as Rukinga sat on the brink of disaster. For years, it was home to a slowly failing cattle ranch, but the wildlife saw it as a passageway between Tsavo East and Tsavo West national parks - the largest protected lands in Kenya.
The proposal to Wildize was for the creation of a self-sustaining greenhouse project to serve several critical conservation needs within the Kasigau corridor. It involved renovating partially derelict greenhouse structures, on the land leased by Wildlife Works (EPZ) ltd. Once renovated, the greenhouse would be used:
· To grow indigenous trees for reforestation of the local community to replace trees lost to the charcoal trade
· To grow Habanero chilli pepper bushes for distribution to the farmers on the edge of the corridor to use as a barrier to elephants to stop them crop raiding
· To propagate organic fruit tree seedlings for sale to local farmers to provide a shade rich additional cash crop for their arid farms
The first two components were of direct conservation and community benefit and the third component provided the cash flow to pay for the first two and make the whole project self-sustaining.
Finally, the profits made from the sale of fruit trees was also be used by Rukinga to purchase the ripe peppers from the local farmers, from which they made a range of “elephant-safe” pepper sauces, sold both locally and in retail outlets in Kenya’s cities, thus creating a market for the community’s cash crop.
©WildiZe videographer, Fred Kayzer, filming the site visit
WildiZe funding made all this possible, which has become a sustainable income generation and community development success.
Project web site: www.wildlifeworks.com