The highlight of the 4th quarter last year was undisputedly Big Life’s supporters stepping up to help us fund our operations. The drought has put pressure on everything from our rangers to our budget, and thanks to you, we started the New Year on confident footing to tackle the challenges in front of us.
Unfortunately, the biggest challenge remains the lingering drought. Despite decent rains in the Chyulu Hills in December, the rest of the ecosystem was not so lucky, and conditions continue to be hard on everyone – human and animal alike.
Most recent counts put the number of drought-related elephant mortalities due in the Amboseli area at over 150. Among these were the youngest and oldest members of the herds that move through our area of operation, which is a bitter pill to swallow.
On the plus side, mortalities to date are not nearly as bad as during the last major drought in 2009. While current circumstances are dire and require all hands on deck, we’re well-positioned now to put meaningful measures into effect to help. We’re continuing our school feeding programs to make sure kids get at least one meal per day. And strategic water and food for animals will continue until we see (fingers crossed) rains early this spring.
Another highlight from the 4th quarter was the return of the Maasai Olympics. If we were worried the games had lost any luster for the local communities in the last four years, we were sorely mistaken. The warrior athletes competed against each other valiantly, and community members turned out to enjoy the games en masse. It provided a spark of joy during an otherwise challenging time. To our sponsors who made the day possible, we thank you.
Thank you to all who support us as we press on into this New Year, resolute to continue protecting the wildlife and wild lands of East Africa for the benefit of all.
Executive Chairman & Founder – Big Life Foundation Kenya