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.