Elephant Aware is a project of Kenya’s Wildland Conservation Trust, which seeks to protect elephants through anti-poaching patrols and human-elephant conflict avoidance, through the deployment of locally trained Masai rangers. Elephant Aware’s primary activity is the monitoring of elephants, in a particularly isolated and remote area of Mara. Elephant Aware is closely monitoring the elephant populations and have a great degree of familiarity with each individual elephant within this zone. Rangers are employed to patrol and interact with the surrounding communities to lessen the Human Elephant Conflict (HEC), which is currently the number one treat to elephants in Kenya.
Friends of Arabuko Sokoke Forest (FoASF)
The Friends of Arabuko Sokoke Forest (FoASF) is a working group that advocates for the conservation of the Arabuko Sokoke Forest through participatory approaches. The organisation trained ten community scouts in 2017 with support from Minara to patrol the forest to ensure better protection of the forest (logging and charcoal) and the wildlife through anti-poaching efforts (de-snaring).
The motivations behind assisting FoASF are numerous. The forest is one of the most biodiverse in East Africa and therefore its conservation is vital. Furthermore, previous FoASF measures, such as building fences, had proven successful in increasing wildlife numbers, notably elephants. FoASF may have lacked financial support to achieve its aims but, in addition to being strongly committed to its cause, has attracting the interest of the Kenyan Forest Service (KFS) and the Kenyan Wildlife Service (KWS) in mobilising its efforts.
After one year FoASF are recognized by the communities living around the forest as the protector of the Arabuko Sokoke Forest. FoASF is also setting up a structure (company limited by guarantee), and is developing benchmark data through a data tracking system (SMART). FoASF is also committed to long term results and is currently increasing its outreach and fundraising efforts.
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT)
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) aims to complement the conservation, preservation, and protection of wildlife in the Maasai Mara, in Kenya. Minara has funded the Mara Mobile Veterinary Unit (MMVU) for a number of years. The MMVU is one of four veterinary units run by DSWT. It treats all varieties of injured wildlife in the Maasai Mara and guards against outbreaks of disease. Over the last 10 years 1500 animals were treated with a success rate of 70%. The grant enables the MMVU, consisting of a veterinarian, their assistant, and two rangers, to carry out its invaluable work by enabling the mobile unit to operate.
Stiftung für das Tier im Recht (TIR)
Stiftung für das Tier im Recht (TIR) is a non-profit organisation in Switzerland. TIR has established itself as a centre of excellence on legal matters pertaining to animals with the aim to raise the legal standards of animal protection laws to meet higher ethical requirements.
With 10% of the world’s wildlife trade taking place in Switzerland, political systems are inadequate to deal with the issue and the dialogue is conservative and outdated. Politicians are badly informed and as a consequence bad decisions are being made. TIR seeks to ignite political, legislative, and public debate on the wildlife trade in Switzerland and through a competence centre which provides reliable information to concerned stakeholders.
Through a Wildlife Action Plan, TIR aims to strengthen wild animal protections; initiate stronger debates on the political, legislative and public levels regarding the wildlife trade; and, have a lobby group of politicians from different political parties to represent international wildlife topics.
Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS)
The Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) (“Komitee gegen den Vogelmord e.V” in German), is a German NGO, which is committed to fighting and halting the slaughter of migratory birds in Southern Europe, with a focus on Malta, Cyprus, Italy, and France. CABS’ work involves removing traps, monitoring hunters, and supporting police efforts to bring poachers to justice. CABS lobbies parliaments on these issues and conducts awareness raising initiatives with the general public about bird hunting and trapping in Europe. Minara supported the extension of their mission to Cyprus where 30 volunteers removed 3500 glue traps, 140 nets and 100 electronic devises to lure birds. Furthermore, combined law enforcement efforts with local police led to the arrest of 20 bird poachers.
Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV)
Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV) is an organisation that works towards reducing consumer demand for wildlife products, strengthening enforcement and mobilising public participation in combating wildlife crimes, and strengthening legislation and policy-making for wildlife protection in Vietnam. ENV’s goals is to help to take down criminal networks; establish legislation to deter wildlife crimes; ban the trade of rhino horns; destroy ivory and rhino horn stockpiles; close tiger farms and the uncontrolled breeding of tigers at zoos and rescue centres; end bear farming; freeze the licensing of commercial wildlife farms; hold authorities responsible for eradicating consumer wildlife crimes; eliminate the use of the internet to advertise and sell endangered wildlife; and, amplify the government’s awareness raising efforts to reduce consumer demand for wildlife.
Minara’s reasons for backing ENV are threefold: ENV is working in Vietnam, which has major issues with wildlife crimes and trafficking. Furthermore, ENV’s activities address the demand side of wildlife trafficking, a pivotal angle which is insufficiently catered to in most conservation efforts; and lastly, ENV is a dedicated organisation fighting for its convictions, and Minara’s grant enables it to continue to remain flexible while attempting to guarantee its long-term sustainability.
Southern-Tanzania Elephant Program (STEP)
The Southern-Tanzania Elephant Program (STEP) is an elephant research and conservation organisation based in Southern Tanzania. STEP works with partners in order to safeguard the long-term security of elephants in Ruaha-Rungwa, Udzungwa, and Selous.
STEP’s programmatic work in elephant protection support involves law enforcement and surveillance capacity building in Ruaha-Rungwa and Udzungwa-Selous, primarily through assistance to ranger teams on the ground with aerial surveillance coordination, GPS recording/mapping/planning of patrols, and use of ground surveillance technology. STEP contributes to building harmonious human-elephant relations by supporting five farmer groups, who manage beehive fences, with beekeeping training, the production and selling of elephant-friendly honey, additional income generating activities, and collecting data on elephant activity to protect villages. STEP also conducts and disseminates research on the threats elephants face; it was seeking USD 10,000 for 2018 to assist with this work. Lastly, STEP’s advocacy work related to raising awareness about the elephant poaching crisis, and lobbying the government for policy changes.