The Wildlife Story
Hustling villages and a safe wildlife haven
Mount Kasigau, with its hustling villages and basket weaving communities, is surrounded with protected wildlife areas like Tsavo conservancy.
It is economically empowering for the villagers to live next to the protected areas. Tourists can come to the conservancy, they experience wildlife, and will also visit the villages for a meal, for climbing mount Kasigau and for buying baskets.
The major benefit for the community get from living close to the conservancy, are the direct proceeds they receive from Carbon credits. These proceeds are generated and distributed by the Wildlife Works project protecting the forest in the surrounding wildlife areas (read more in the carbon story).
When you visit Tsavo conservancy, your wildlife experience will be real, real wild. Elephants here don’t often let you admire them like in a zoo. They are wild, they are skittish, and if you surprise them, they are gone in the blink of an eye. (did you spot the cheetah and the giraffe in the photos above?)
The giraffe here doesn’t often stand still to let you frame a photo. Be quick and be quiet, or you will not get the portrait.
All the magical wildlife of Kenya, even rarely admired species like melanistic servals, caracals, honey badgers, aardvarks, pangolins or critically endangered species like wild dogs and cheetahs – Tsavo is their home.
Hadithi line products are certified Wildlife Friendly!
The Wildlife friendly seal (more info on www.wildlifefriendly.org) protects the worlds most endangered wildlife in some of the most spectacular landscapes on earth. This label helps consumers to support products that match their values. The certified wildlife friendly and associated projects that show systems and practices that allow people and wildlife to coexist and thrive.
Wildlife Works, who have hosted, supported, and empowered Hadithi crafts support CBO since its inception in 2014, received the seal from the wildlife friendly enterprise network in 2019. The seal extends as far the Hadithi crafts products, so also all the products you can buy on this website, so we thought you should know!
Living with wildlife, what’s the (elephant sized) problem?
Smallholder farmers across Africa have negative and dangerous interactions with African elephants, when elephants seek out food by plundering their crops. This not only impoverishes the livelihoods of farmers, but also creates further conservation concerns for the species as farmers may take harmful actions towards elephants resulting in human-elephant conflict.
Elephants are so unpredictable by nature. The most plausible explanation for the elephants moody crop raids in the savanna is the ‘optimal foraging theory’. This predicts that animals will maximize the quality of their nutrient intake whenever possible.
Tsavo, a semi-arid savannah, is climatically unfriendly for subsistence agriculture even in the absence of pests, and the economic impact of elephant damage on farmers is maybe as big as the damage to crops that is done by smaller wildlife like primates, suids, rodents, birds and insects.
Smaller wildlife are generally better tolerated by farmers than the localized, obvious cases caused by the impressive and dangerous elephants… That's because these large elephants can become so difficult to deter and so dangerous. So there are several more socio-economic 'opportunity costs' borne by rural people living in proximity to elephants.
These costs are difficult to quantify but may outweigh the direct costs of agricultural damage and be a major component of the conflict as it is heartfelt by local people. Imagine for example: restriction on people's movements; competition with elephants for water sources; the need to guard property, which may lead to loss of sleep, reduced school attendance, poor employment opportunities or greater exposure to malaria…
That’s why all efforts to mitigate this human-wildlife conflict deserve the wildlife friendly badge.