March 11, 2010 – If you are an ardent Capital FM fan and have never seen Chao or Somoina plant a tree, you would be impressed that they were part of a 24-man team that drove down to the Taita Wildlife Sanctuary to plant more than 100,000 trees!
With the help of the community of course…
It was a Saturday morning and our crew was sporting branded T-shirts and anything else that would aid their comfort for the gruelling exercise ahead.
Before the green exercise we had a few festivities put together by Sarova Hotels.
The Tsavo Green Foundation is their baby, in partnership with Friends of Tsavo and Futouris, aimed at engaging the local community in raising the bio-diversity profile of the Taita Hills Wildlife Conservancy.
The tent that gave shade to the small group of ‘officials’, with area MP Calist Mwatela at the helm, stood just above the shore of one of the many dams that the Foundation is putting up in the region to keep the people and the animals alive.
The recent drought hit the region hard and the conservancy which is considered an important dispersal area and migrating corridor did not take it lightly.
Elephants moved closer to people’s homes destroying their crops and maiming them. Other animals that drew nearer the villages were poisoned, but not before causing some serious damage.
The lack of crop harvests turned locals towards charcoal burning and poaching, messing up the ecosystem and destroying the environment even further.
The Taita Hills form the first large inland barrier for moisture-laden clouds, which come in from the coast, and the precipitation from trapped moisture creates almost permanently humid conditions in the hilltop forests thus a vital water catchment’s for the Tsavo system. But the drought and lack of trees aggravated this.
That’s when the Tsavo Green Foundation stepped in and with sound encouragement to the local community, planted the trees…
Mohammed Hersi, Sarova Hotels Coast Regional Manager, said the chain of hotels was interested in using the local community to restore the ecosystem and generate employment at the same time.
With much ululation, the tree planting began… (I didn’t just write the story, I planted some trees too. Can I hear an amen?).