After the Ramadan break we are now back on track with our activities.
To our Muslim members, a belated Idd Mubarak.
We are in the midst of an election
fever and there are wonderful pledges and promises in the political manifestos
but little mention of environment and conservation of our natural and built
However, at grassroots level, there
are individuals and com-munity groups who are making spirited efforts in
environmental conservation and poverty alleviation.
While these heroes get scant
recognition at home it is heartening to hear that Kenyan community groups and
individuals have received international recognition for their immense
Serah Munguti from Kenya
has been shortlisted as one of three finalists for the Tusk Award for
Conservation in Africa, 2017 under the patronage of the Duke of Cambridge.
This award is given to an individual
who has made outstanding contribution and success in their chosen field.
Since 2007 Serah has been working for
the conservation of Tana River Delta, an area rich in natural resources,
including two endemic primates, 350 bird species and it is a migration corridor
Despite the rich natural resources the
residents, made of pastoralists, farmers and fisher-men are among the poorest in
Besides there is a serious threat from
land grab for large scale agricultural farming.
To address these issues, Serah
spearheaded a Land Use Plan (LUP) and Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA) of
the Tana Delta which earned her the 2016 UK’s Royal Town Planning Institute’s
International Award for Planning Excellence.
Her work with the residents in
promoting sustainable production projects have earned the communities over Ksh.
20 million from crop production, honey, fish farming, cattle dips and milk
marketing over a two-year period.
In another related
development the UNDP’s ‘Equator Prize 2017’, that recognises innovative
solutions for tackling poverty, environment and climate challenges have
honored the work of 15 local and indigenous communities from Africa Asia and
The winners were selected from 806
nominations from 120 countries.
Of the three winning projects from
Africa, two are in Kenya, both based at the Coast and well known to FFJ, namely
the ‘Mikoko Pamoja’ in Gazi Bay started in 2013 and the ‘Kuruwitu Conser-vation
and Welfare Association’ started in 2006.
In Kuruwitu, the community of 1,400
faced loss of income and food insecurity from dwindling marine life occasioned
by over fishing due to an international demand in ornamental fish. To mitigate
this, an area of 800 hectares was demarked as a ‘no take’ zone, for fishing.
With careful monitoring of fishing
grounds the fish population has now increased by 200 per cent, fish biomass by
400 per cent and there is increase in coral cover and variety of seagrass. In
addition educational programmes and savings and credit cooperatives have helped
to grow local businesses, especially those run by women.
‘Mikoko Pamoja’ is largely a women’s
group who have successfully rehabilitated a 177 hectare mangrove forest.
Mangroves are excellent carbon sinks;
the 3,000 tons of carbon dioxide generated annually is traded in the carbon
The income has helped the community to
invest in clean water and in educating children in this 3,500 strong community.
Ecotourism brings additional income.
The success of this process has
inspired other projects in Kenya and beyond.
Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator sums
it up well:
‘By shining a spotlight on these
initiatives from all corners of the world, we hope that others will be inspired
by their example.
‘Their dedication and commitment shows
what is possible when communities come together to protect and sustainably
manage nature for benefit of all’.
Bat Defenders Day held on
Saturday, 8th July at the Fort was an entertaining and educative
occasion attended by the Principal Curator, Ms. Fatma Twahir, teachers and
students from various primary and secondary schools in Mombasa.
The event was a culmination of a two
day workshop where students were made aware of the truths and myths about bats
and important role they play in environmental conservation.
The students presented poems and songs
in praise of bats with an outstanding ‘taarab’ performance by girls from Sacred
Heart Primary School.
The workshop was a collaboration
between NMK’s Education Department and Tropical Biology Association of Kenya
with funding from Rufford Foundation a UK registered charity which promotes
nature conservation projects across the developing world.
Marlene Reid sends her
best wishes to all members.
She must be thinking a lot about FFJ
as she is busy writing the FFJ Story that we plan to publish as a book or
booklet next year when the society turns 40.
Archival material, specifically from
the early years (80’2 and 90’s) is scant and we appeal to our members,
especially the long standing ones, for any records they may have – old
newsletters, photographs, etc.
We welcome written contributions from
members on any memorable moments.
Since inception FFJ have consistently
organised a wide range of interesting activities and we would like the story to
truly reflect our past forty years.
If you have anything to share please
send it to our secretary Madhvi, Email:
Annual membership expires on 31st
July. I hope you will renew your membership and continue to support the society.
A membership form is attached at the
end of the newsletter.
To end with, some good
Doris Schaule has been reappointed by
Kenya Wildlife Services to serve for another three years as Honorary Game Warded
at Meru National Park.
Our congratulations to Doris – keep up
the excellent work you are doing.
(Taibali Hamzali, Chairman)
Saturday, 27th May - Bird Walk at Bamburi Nature Trail
Equipped with water-proof clothing and
footwear we set out to explore the man-made paradise along the Mombasa-Malindi
On arrival the call of an African Fish
Eagle welcomed us: we later spotted two of them at the Great Lake and one closer
to the Butterfly Pavillion.
The various ponds had Village and
Golden Palm Weavers going about their nest construction; White-browed Robin Chat
called from the cover of sedges bordering ponds while Malachite Kingfisher, Reed
Cormorant and a Purple Heron took to flight when we approached.
There was a kind of a stick-nest in
one of the tall casuarina trees and just when we focused our binos on the nest,
a large shadow passed us only to settle on a branch partially hidden by other
trees but it changed position for us to see it clearly. It was Africa’s largest
owl, yes, the one with the pink eyelids, the Verreaux’s Eagle Owl!
Great White Egret and Verreaux’s Eagle Owl - Africa’s largest owl.
PHOTO: DORIS SCHAULE
Maybe it had been sitting on eggs or
even hatchlings and by coming out of the nest it tried to divert our attention
from its nest.
There was no need to disturb it much
longer as other forest dweller made their voices heard.
Grey-backed Camaroptera, Black-backed
Puffback, Yellow-fronted Canary and Hadada Ibis are amongst species regularly
recorded at the Forest Trails.
Towards the end of our walk we were
entertained by the melodious song of a Bearded Scrub Robin, that remained hidden
in the shrubs along the Leisure Walk trail.
Despite soggy ground and a few short
drizzles the afternoon was quite a pleasant one in the gloomy forest with no
other visitors on sight !
Our bird walk resulted in the sighting
of 20 species out of which 5 were heard only !
We are grateful to Albert Musando of
Lafarge Eco Systems for facilitating our access to the Forest Trails, thus
ensuring that members of FFJ greatly enjoyed yet another monthly FFJ bird walk!
Saturday, 17th June - Bird Walk at Haller Park, Bamburi
We started our walk in rainy
conditions but enjoyed the better part of the afternoon under a blue sky peeping
through the forest canopy of the park.
A Great Sparrowhawk, high up in a
casuarina tree, the calls of White-browed Robin Chat, African Fish Eagle and
Black-backed Puffback were duly noted.
We watched Pied Kingfisher chasing
each other, Egyptian Geese giving us an air-show, found Woolly-necked Stork
preening at the Crocodile pond and a Grey Heron in a tree where we used to see
Black-crowned Night-Heron! Village Weaver and Eastern Golden Weaver went about
their nesting business around the Hippo pond.
We had a nice view of a breeding Great
White Egret in its delicate plumage and could clearly see that the colour of its
bill had changed from yellow to black.
By the time our small group of four
got back to the gate we had recorded 25 species during our 2-hours walk in this
man-made green oasis off Mombasa-Malindi highway.
Our thanks go to the Lafarge Holcim
management and especially Albert Musando, in charge of Lafarge Eco Systems, for
facilitating entry. (Doris Schaule)
Saturday, 20th May - Tree Planting at Bahari Girls’ Secondary
It was a wet day, some heavy storms
but mostly a steady drizzle - ideal weather for planting trees. Bahari
Girls is a national school and on that particular Saturday there were
lots of activities going on.
Protocols and speeches preceding the
planting were brief as the school had other engagements later so it
was wasn’t too long before the large group of students, five FFJ
members and WCK representatives were done with the planting of 1,500
Thanks to Mrs. Mutuku, the
headmistress and M/s Tsofa and Mtengo of WCK for doing a great job
in sourcing seedlings and preparing holes.
With time to spare we had a pleasant
coffee break at Wild Living café en route to Mnarani Ruins to a warm
reception from William Tsaka, the Curator who oversaw the bench project
that FFJ sponsored.
By now the downpour had become
heavier, the Mnarani site was flooded and we had to wade through a
stream to get sight of the benches.
Tsaka, Mnarani Monument Curator and Taibali admire the benches.
PHOTO: DORIS SCHAULE
The effort was worthwhile; the
benches, made from coral stone and timber by local fundis are beautiful and
blend in very well in the forest setting. We all agreed it is money well spent.
Tuesday, 15th July - Talk by Dr. Wanja Kinithia
Dr. Wanja’s passion for bees was amply
evident from the superb talk.
She enlightened us on the incredible
role bees play in our survival and the invaluable service they provide in food
production for human and animal consumption.
Many of us value bees only for the
honey they produce but beyond this they perform a far more important function –
they are champion pollinators.
As the bees move from one flower to
another in search of water and nectar they transfer pollen and thus facilitate
mating and fertilisation.
In fact 75per cent of the food that we
consume is grown through pollination.
Research shows that bee population in
Kenya is on the decline and threatened with extinction. Poor farming practise is
one of the main reasons. Pollution of environment and use of pesticides on crops
contaminates the nectar and can be harmful, even fatal to the bees.
Deforestation, slash and burn
agriculture and uncontrolled developments deprive the bees of their natural
Dr. Wanja’s mission is to in-crease
the bee population and she advocates that bees can thrive in rural as well as
We saw various designs for bee hives
that have been developed to suit different locations, including a multi-storied
one where space is limited.
While future of the global bee
population looks bleak Kenya has made impressive strides in research and
understanding bee behaviour.