KENYA experienced one of the worst droughts in memory because, critics say, it has cut down its trees. Forests used to cover 30% of the land In pre-colonial times. Now they only occupy 6% of Kenya’s space. Helen and Kenya Mutiso want to teach Kenyans how to grow forests in their own backyard and make money from medicines, skincare products, and dyes. It’s part of a nationwide effort to cover 10% of Kenya’s land with trees. A film by Kevin Njue.
In Uganda, bush meat snares are crippling the chimpanzees of Kibale National Park One in four chimpanzees in the wild has lost fingers or limbs to snares. Ugandan primatologist Dr. Emily Otali tells the story of Max, a chimp that has survived without both legs below the knee and is taking care of his younger brother after poachers killed their parents. A Film by Derrick Kibisi.
Geothermal energy, which is a clean low carbon energy source, currently provides half of Kenya’s energy needs, and its importance will keep growing as Kenya strives to connect more citizens to the electric power grid. Unfortunately most geothermal fields are in National Parks and Reserves, often stressing critically endangered bird species. This film explores the price of power, even for an energy resource that is touted as clean and carbon-free—a film by Evans Ogeto, Cyprian Ogoti, Marete Selvin.
Mangrove forests are among the most threatened habitats on earth, disappearing faster than even rainforests. But mangroves are also the coast’s nursery, providing shelter for 75% of commercially caught fish. Kenya has lost a fifth of its coastal forests in 25 years but locals complain that the country's strict ban against mangrove harvesting has left some destitute. A film by Faith Musembi.
The worst drought in decades showed how vulnerable East Africa is to climate change and that people and wildlife will share a similar fate. In the parched northern county of Baringo juvenile elephants were rescued from drying quagmires of mud, endangered giraffes suffered miscarriages, school children had their classes canceled when rainwater tanks ran dry. But despite these challenges people and wildlife sometimes worked together to overcome the crisis. A film by Joan Kabugu.
With their hunched posture and baldheads, vultures are associated with death. But they are the unsung cleanup crew in Africa. Without them, diseases would spread, and the Maasai Mara Reserve with a smell like a slaughterhouse. But in the last 30 years, even African vulture species have declined by over 80%. Pastoralists angered by attacks on their cattle by lions lace the carcasses with poison. 60 % of vulture deaths have been due to poisoning. Follow a team trying to save them during the annual wildebeest migrations. A film by Noella Luka and Mercy Adundo.
In 1970 Kenya was home to 20,000 black rhinos. By 1989 only 400 rhinos were left. They were killed for their horns which are prized in Asia for folk medicine. Even though there is no scientific proof that the raw material of both rhino horns and human fingernails has any medicinal value, a kilo of keratin fetches $60K on the black market. Conservationists say that the only way to save rhinos from extinction is to create a secure habitat for them to live and breed. Ol Pejeta Conservancy, which started with only 4 black rhinos in 1988 now is home to 114. Each of Ol Pejeta's rhinos is protected by rangers and armed guards at a cost of $10K a year. But this expense is part of a comprehensive business plan where wildlife protection has to pay its own way. A film by Teeku Patel & Amit Ramrakha.
Imagine treating a 200-pound gorilla that’s broken her leg after falling out of a tree. That’s a routine call for Rwanda’s Dr. Gaspard and Gorilla doctors working in Volcanoes National Park. On other days he will treat gorillas hurt by snares, poachers, or in fights between rival groups. We’ll go on patrol with the park rangers responsible for keeping this highly endangered species and our close cousin, from disappearing forever. A film by Novella Nikwigiza & Lucas Rosenberg.
Nairobi’s building boom has created an environmental catastrophe in Kenya’s semi-arid eastern provinces. You can’t make cement without sand, often illegally scooped out of riverbeds by an army of workers in Machakos and Makueni countries. After the sand has been carted away by unscrupulous sand harvesting cartels, the rivers dry up or turn into raging torrents during the rainy season. Makueni’s governor is trying to stop it but compares the business to the drug trade, where corruption and threats of violence stymie enforcement. A film by Samuel Waweru & Humphrey Odhiambo.
Kenya experienced one of the worst droughts in memory because critics say, it has cut down its trees. Forests used to cover 30% of the land In pre-colonial times. Now they only occupy 6% of Kenya’s space. Helen and Kenya Mutiso want to teach Kenyans how to grow forests in their own backyard and make money from medicines, skincare products, and dyes. It’s part of a nationwide effort to cover 10% of Kenya’s land with trees. A film by Kevin Njue.
Kakamega is Kenya’s only tropical rain forest and home to 480 species of birds. But this biological treasure house is under threat from an exploding local population. Ernest Musotso has fathered 30 children and like his neighbors, he’s been nibbling land at the edge of the forest. But even Ernest understands that old customs will have to change if the forest is to survive. Kakamega’s rainmakers and forest guides are trying to save the last stand of ancient indigenous trees, and make sure the beautiful birds who live there, don’t go silent. A film by Robert Gichira and Namukabo Werungah co-produced with NTV Kenya.
Elephants, the largest land animals, are majestic creatures. Many farmers in Kenya see them as lumbering pests. Human-wildlife conflict is becoming a bigger threat to elephants than poaching. Amboseli National Park is home to more than 1600 elephants. But the park can only sustain several hundred elephants. The rest migrate through private conservancies, community grazing land, and the expanding commercial farms springing up along a new highway linking Kenya and Tanzania. Unfortunately, many elephants forage for food while trampling farmers’ tomato and cornfields. As the elephants ply their ancient migratory routes, conflict is inevitable. After an elephant killed a Maasai herder at a watering hole for cattle, his friends speared five pachyderms in revenge. Kenya’s wildlife vets had to scramble to patch up the victims. A film by Sheila Sendeyo & Robert Gichira co-produced with NTV Kenya.
Kenya’s youth will save their wildlife, only if they appreciate what they’ve inherited in their National Parks and Conservancies. Guided by local conservationists, the children will experience the first time thrill of spotting endangered Baringo giraffes and the spectacular flamingo flocks of Lake Bogoria. A film by Joan Kabugu.
Kenya is lucky to have some of the most spectacular wildlife in the world but increasingly it’s in conflict with local people. The big question is: Do they even care? If not why? Are their concerns legitimate? Is the value of biodiversity and pristine habitat only recognized by tourists & international NGO’s, who dominate the discussion? The film is based on the voices of people living on the edge of nature: a dairy farmer next to Nairobi’s National Park, a farm family raising corn next to the Laikipia Nature Conservancy, and a Maasai cattle herder next to the Mara Reserve. It’s a critical debate for local conservationists trying to stop the destruction of nature. A film by Herman Chege.
In 2016, Kenya organized the largest ivory burn in history, in an attempt to stop the poaching of elephants. For Kuki Gallmann, from the Laikipia Nature Conservancy, Africa’s elephant slaughter is personal. Some of the ivory she and her rangers have seized were part of the funeral pyres in Nairobi National Park. She has paid an enormous personal price for her commitment to conservation, but she vows never to give up. From her battle to stop the cattle invasion on her conservancy to her attempts to foster peace during the annual Highland Games, this Italian born Kenyan citizen has seen it all. But nothing prepared her for being ambushed and shot by illegal grazers. A film by Andrew Tkach.
In the second part of “End of the River” John-Allan Namu documents how a severe brought has impacted Kenya’s northern rangelands. Competing tribesmen have attacked livestock and burned down fences and buildings of ranches and conservancies in Laikipia. Are Kenya’s cattle wars a harbinger of what is to come, as rivers dry up and grasslands turn into wastelands? A film by Sam Munia and John-Allan Namu.
Kenya’s most famous TV investigative reporter produced a four-part film on the cattle wars in northern Kenya. In the lawless wilderness of northern Kenya, where pastoralists graze their cows, well-armed herders are forced to compete for diminishing grasslands in this era of climate change. Cattle rustling between Samburu, Boran, Pokot, and Turkana warriors is on the rise. Hundreds have died in senseless cattle wars that top Kenya’s losses from terrorism. A film by Sam Munia and John-Allan Namu.