By David Banks
Running across the grasslands and savannas of East Africa is something I’ve always wanted to do. But knowing what happens when you run in this country, I’ve had the good sense not to do it — until now.
On June 30, I will join Conservancy CEO Mark Tercek and renowned ultra-marathoner Scott Jurek to run Tusk Trust’s Safaricom Marathon on a course within the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. Technically, I’m running the half marathon, but who’s counting?
Our cause is now more important than ever. We are seeing a dramatic rise in rhino and elephant poaching, driven primarily by demand from Asia. While we work closely with our teams in China to address the demand side, we are also working with partners at Kenya Wildlife Service, Northern Rangelands Trust and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy to increase security.
More importantly, we are investing deeply in efforts that connect local communities to conservation benefits. For example, we recently helped facilitate a strategy-setting process for Lewa and Northern Rangelands Trust, with local communities fully engaged as partners in our conservation initiatives.
Given the pressures on Africa these days, it’s tempting to take a defensive posture. Here at The Nature Conservancy, though, we understand that we’re in a race against time. We believe that a proactive, results-oriented approach is the key to success.
Whether you’re racing to protect wildlife and help communities, or just running across East Africa’s grasslands, you need to be fast and nimble. Because lots of things are trying to catch you.
Thank you for your support.June 06, 2012
David Banks is director of The Nature Conservancy's Africa program. He reports from the field on special places, people and conservation issues in our series David's Dispatches.