I got an opportunity to participate in the biggest ever ivory burn in Kenya, which was held on 30th April, 2016 at Nairobi national Park. The conservation effort wads towards a message to be relayed across the world. It was a day of adventure, thrill, excitement, remorse and pain. I entered the Park gates at 10 am and after the necessary security checks and screening, I was transported to the ivory burning site organized by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). There I saw large tents pitched in for the event, a press corner, and then 12 pyres equal to 105 tonnes of elephant tusks and 1.5 tons of rhino horns piled up with the rangers offloading more tusks at the burning site. It was raining and muddy, thanks to the gum boots which was a saviour.

The burning site was cordoned and getting ready for the burn. The place was buzzing with activity with rangers, photographers, reporters, conservationists, organizers, artists, all battling the rains and still connected with one cause. At about 3 pm, the President of Kenya arrived with other prominent dignataries and His Excellency gave a very powerful speech stating the reasons for burning ivory and the serious intent of Kenya to end illegal ivory trade. The President lighted up the pyre along with Ms Judi Wakhungu, Minister for Environmental and Natural resources , Dr Richard Leakey , wildlife conservationist and KWS Director General, Mr Kitili Mbathi  torching the biggest ever stock pile of ivory tusks.

In the words of President Uhuru Kenyatta – “We come from a truly blessed country. Blessing however come with duty. The last decade has seen a catastrophic destruction of the African Elephant, which threatens our communities. Kenya is rich in natural heritage, we intend to protect it. A time has come when we must take a clear stand, ivory is worthless unless it is on our elephants.”

It was a funeral, a memorial to thousands of lives lost and a celebration of Kenya’s resolve to end this bloody trade. Had it been sold as some have suggested, it would only stoked the flames of greed and demand for more and more Ivory. All of us watched these once alive and ornated tusks smoking to flames.

The Ivory burn got the special publicity it deserved, a clear message to the world that no more trade in ivory.

All of us watched these once alive and ornated tusks smoking to flames.

Some facts:

20,000 litres of diesel and kerosene

10500 elephants and 343 rhinos

12 stockpiles of ivory and rhino horn

105 tonnes of ivory

35 tonnes of rhino horn

$172m combined value of tusks and horns burnt

100,000 the number, at least, of elephants killed in Africa in four years

If  arranged the elephants killed for this stock of ivory tail to tail they would stretch for 30 miles.

  • The aftermath

    The aftermath

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    The wet and rainy morning

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Unloading the ivory tusk

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Thrilled to witness a historical event

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Battling the rains against all odds

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Getting ready for the big event with dignitaries coming in

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Wonderful Soila with her daughter Sian and the KWS staff

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Photo op with the great conservationist Dr Paula Kahumbu

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The ultimate burn

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Let this never repeat

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The rangers working round the clock

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Smokes and flames of the once alive elephants

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It was the largest ever ivory burn

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President of Kenya- Mr Uhuru Kenyatta with a great conservationist Dr Richard Leakey

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Got connected with some amazing bloggers

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1.5 tons of Rhino horn burning

Imbirikani Event

October 26, 2015 7:19 am  /  Conservation, Events, Kenya  /  ,

An event for the Masai women empowerment project was officially launched in Imbirikani near Amboseli , Kenya by Wildlife Direct, UNDP and the Office of the First Lady of Kenya

Happy to share the news that in the event a photograph taken by me during my recent trip to Amboseli for the conservation project was gifted to the First Lady of Kenya. It was an image of  Garamba (mother) with her male calf Gakuo who is named after the father of the First Lady of Kenya. Banners were made of the “Three Holes” family and the Masai women in beautiful beads also.

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Hello friends,

For the last one month, I was away to Amboseli National park in Kenya as a photographer for an elephant conservation project commissioned by an organisation called WildLife Direct led by Dr Paula Kahumbu. It was a 18 days stay in Oltukai Lodge, Amboseli with my dear friend and an expert elephant researcher Ms. Soila Sayialel. I learnt a lot about elephants and their behaviour which was my first experience. Amboseli is a beautiful park and there were many a things I noticed about it

The beautiful sunrises and sunsets.

The dust storm and twisters.

The elephants roaming freely everywhere.

The beautiful dark green grass in the swamp, then the light green grass and totally dry grass around the water body.

The Mt. Kilimanjaro with its mwanzi and Kibo peak. Kibo peak was snow covered one day, next day clear but without any snow and today totally covered up.

The elephants with the Mt Kili in the backdrop.

The variety of water birds around the swamp.

The wonderful landscape of Ol tukai lodge.

Elephants scratching, dusting, sitting, sleeping on the ground, smelling, running, mud bath.

There were many other wildlife and different views of the mountain which was a moment to cherish.

The friendly Oltukai staff made me feel at home.

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B&W exhibition video

September 18, 2015 3:04 pm  /  Events  /  , , , ,

Happy to share a short video of the B&W photo Exhibition that was held recently where  my wildlife images were exhibited and I was interviewed.

Leopard mother and cub

September 10, 2015 7:13 am  /  Big Cats, Tanzania  /  , , , , , ,

Leopard story- This happened in Serengeti National park, Tanzania where we were looking for leopards. There was a Kopje (rock) with dense bushes and we were told that there is a leopard with a cub hiding inside. As you all know mothers are extremely protective of the new borns and leopard being a elusive animal, it would even stay for days hidden inside. After a long patient wait, we saw this beauty coming out of the shade, behind the rock, holding the new born and walking to another bush. This was just a 5 second glimpse but totally worth the wait.

Newborn leopards are extremely vulnerable and rely entirely on mom for nourishment and protection. They are born blind, opening their eyes at around 10 days of age, and weigh only 1 pound. Mom carries the cubs to a new location every couple of days to ensure they are hidden from potential predators.

The following are the sequence at which the whole scene shaped up.

She comes out of a bush. We are scouting where her cub is.

She comes out of a bush. We are scouting where her cub is.

She wants to get down for a reason.

She wants to get down for a reason.

Finding a good position for the leap.

Finding a good position for the leap.

There she decides to jump down.

There she decides to jump down.

We are wondering why does she want to get down.

We are wondering why does she want to get down.

And there she is with her cub, safely hidden behind the rock to protect the baby from the potential predators.

And there she is with her cub, safely hidden behind the rock to protect the baby from the potential predators.

Picks up the cub and walks away

Picks up the cub and walks away

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B&W exhibition

September 2, 2015 6:12 am  /  Events  /  , , ,

Happy to share that few of my B&W wildlife images were exhibited in Kampala Photo Market held on August 2015 hosted by Pearl Guide magazine in Kampala, Uganda. The response was very good. Posting few of the event pictures.

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