Empowering Africa’s Rangers, Defending Africa’s Wildlife.
Working primarily in Kenya’s Tana Delta ecosystem, our projects focus on anti-poaching, safeguarding critical habitats, engaging with local communities to sensitize them on the importance of wildlife and environmental preservation; and ensuring rangers all across Kenya are better equipped and trained in critical life-saving First Aid and field communication and tracking skills. We also respond to any reports of injured or trapped wildlife in urban areas as well as rural zones.
Ulinzi Africa Foundation was founded in 2014 by Raabia Hawa, a well known Kenyan media personality turned conservationist. Raabia’s passion for wildlife shone through during what she termed, the ‘dark years’. Between 2011- 2015, ivory poaching was rampant in the East African region. With Tanzania losing on average 30 elephants every day, and Kenya’s mortality standing at an average of 8-10 elephants poached per day; the situation was dire.
Hosting a show on prime time radio with the Radio Africa Group, Raabia quickly realised that what she was seeing on the field during her off days and weekends, was nowhere in the public domain. Kenyans did not know elephants were being massacred. It was then that she took it upon herself to raise awareness about not just the plight of elephants, but also that of the rangers, many of whom had been shot in the line of duty and some who sadly lost their lives. She joined hands with the Star Newspaper, a local publication, and began a new journey as a wildlife reporter, spending more and more time doing what she loved, being in the field working alongside rangers.
It was working, Kenyans became more aware, as did the global community. Support began piling in with governments issuing local bans on domestic ivory trade, and even stronger pushes for international bans to be imposed on the bloody trade. Then came a life changing moment. One of Raabia’s closest friends and rangers had been shot, and another lost his life to poachers.
She had to do more. So she set out on the iconic ‘Walk With Rangers’; a trek that saw 71 people from all over the world come together through her facebook following, to walk over 500km with her and about 30 rangers from Tanzania and Kenya, and the Tanzanian Minister for Wildlife and Natural Resources at the time, Hon. Lazaro Nyalandu. The trek from Arusha to Nairobi was gruelling but bore significant results. An online crowdfunding campaign was set up that raised about $40,000 which Raabia then used to purchase an anti-poaching ranger vehicle. The vehicle was deployed to the Tsavo Conservation Area where it worked with the rapid response unit, apprehending poaching suspects and bringing them to justice for about four years. However, there was a problem, there was still no one working to protect the wildlife in the Tana Delta.
After a further four years of fundraising, our funding goal was finally met, as were all the necessary papers for us to combine our ranger unit with Kenya Wildlife Service and deploy our rangers to the Delta.
Today, they continue to record successful operations, alleviating poaching and removing deadly snares from the forests almost on a daily basis.
While the rangers are hard at work (most times with Raabia right by their side, doing what she loves), Ulinzi Africa Foundation continues to work on Ranger First Aid and field training, our community sensitisation and enterprise and our urban wildlife rescue programs.
We remain committed to helping Africa’s wildlife and habitats remain safe and thriving for future generations.
Will Travers, OBE
International Patron, Ulinzi Africa Foundation
Africa is still a place of great wide open spaces and a myriad wildlife species to amaze and admire and, across that great Continent, Kenya stands out as sparkling jewel.
Executive Director, Ulinzi Africa Foundation
When we launched in 2014 as East Africa’s first non-profit focused on improving ranger welfare, empowerment and facilitation, I never imagined we would gain as much traction and support as we have in our short lifespan as an organisation. For this, I wish to extend my heartfelt gratitude to all our donors and supporters; with your help we are already mobilising rangers in critical ecosystems in Kenya.