For as long as I can remember, my father and I have a shared a passion for running. When I was growing up my dad ran a myriad of marathons in various cities and for different causes, and always I would watch from the sidelines, admiring all the people going past, dreaming of the day I would be able to do the same. After years of running on teams and by myself I finally reached the point where I was ready to run a marathon. We did some research and decided to run the SAFARICOM marathon in the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Northern Kenya on June 29, 2019.
The SAFARICOM marathon partners with an organization called Tusk which works to amplify the impact of progressive conservation efforts across Africa. Tusk partners with local organizations, such as the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, to develop successful conservation initiatives in more than 20 countries and to increase protection for over 10 million acres of land and more than 40 different threatened animal species. In Kenya, these efforts include providing wages, housing and rations for wildlife rangers, protecting habitats to decrease the extinction of at risk species and allow animals to keep their migratory patterns, sponsoring education and schools and working with local communities to promote human-wildlife coexistence. Information on Tusk can be found at <www.tusk.org>.
The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (“Lewa”), where we will be running the marathon, serves as a safe refuge for the critically endangered black rhino and the endangered Grevy’s zebra, as well as the elephant, lion, giraffe, wild dog and other iconic wildlife species in Kenya. Lewa’s approach is focused on the belief that the future of wildlife preservation depends on communities being able to derive their day-to-day livelihoods in ways that are compatible with thriving wildlife habitats. As a result, Lewa invests heavily in the livelihoods of its neighbors through programs in education, healthcare, water, micro-enterprise, youth empowerment and more. Information on Lewa can be found at www.lewa.org.
For anyone who has ever witnessed the beauty and majesty of species like rhinos, elephants, lions, giraffes, zebras, wildebeests and others in the wild in their natural habitats, you know that this is a heritage that should be maintained for future generations. Unfortunately, the pressure on wildlife habitats is growing at an alarming rate, particular in places where wildlife is seen as threatening lives and livelihoods. Anti-poaching efforts are only a part of the puzzle as conservancy is increasingly more about people and their livelihood. There is no single solution to prevent human-wildlife conflict, and, as a such, organizations like Tusk and Lewa focus on developing measures that can be combined and adapted according to the species and the local context. Tusk’s and Lewa’s efforts have had a material impact in preserving this natural heritage.
In registering to run the SAFARICOM marathon we have pledged to raise money for the projects supported by Tusk and Lewa in the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy area. All of the money will go directly to Tusk and Lewa for the amazing work they do. Please help us in reaching our goal. Every dollar helps! We’ll do the running, you do the donating and together we can make an impact!
Nina and Georges