Scientific research pertinent to wildlife conservation is wide ranging in its subject matter and scope. Given the impact of human activities on wildlife it necessarily includes human dimensions in addition to species focused studies. This include for example socioeconomic studies of populations; impact of habitat destruction; assessment of an education programme before and after to assess attitudinal and behaviour change; and effectiveness of conservation strategies. Field research is inextricably interlinked with conservation efforts. Population monitoring is essential if conservation practitioners are going to measure the effectiveness of interventions. Regular census provides feedback on what is and is not working, as well as providing an early warning system for emerging threats, allowing conservation to adapt over time and to become increasingly effective. Census results and population statistics not only show actual changes in numbers but reproductive health and potential are indicated by age-sex composition of the population. Understanding aspects of feeding ecology, diet and ranging behaviour are important in determining whether a population could increase in size and for improving management practice in areas underused by the apes. Measurement of ecosystem services can provide valuable data to bolster arguments for keeping forest cover.
Socioeconomic studies are important because the needs of the local community that live adjacent to ape habitat and their attitudes towards the forest, its inhabitants and conservation will determine the success or failure of interventions. Attitudes towards protected areas and conservation will be strongly affected if livelihoods are negatively impacted, for example, when collection of forest products for firewood and building materials is prevented, and when there is crop raiding. Research into poaching and bush meat consumption may include assessing the frequency and location of snares, socioeconomic status of hunters, and the price of, and preference for bush meat. Results may guide community conservation programmes indicating a need to target poorer members of society and to help find alternative means of income generation. Understanding social and economic dynamics and integrating these considerations into conservation planning is crucial to achieving workable and sustainable solutions. We have been collecting information on different wildlife species through research.
Tree planting is the process of transplanting tree seedlings, generally for forestry, land reclamation, or landscaping purposes. Trees are vital. As the biggest plants on the planet, they give us oxygen, store carbon, stabilise the soil and give life to the world’s wildlife. They also provide us with the materials for tools and shelter. Forests play a major role in erosion control, protection and conservation of water supplies and preventing floods. Because of these contributions that trees make to our environment, they are essential to our welfare. By planting trees, we make up for the loss we have caused the planet and ourselves through the destruction of forest areas over the centuries. We engauge the local communities especially youths and school children through tree planting, protection as well as nature conservation as a way of building their capacities on biodiversity conservation activities.
Climate Change mitigation
Climate change is global in its causes but its consequences are far more reaching in developing countries particularly Kenya whose biodiversity and ecosystems are already faced with other threats like habitat degradation, ecology-economics mismatch and escalating population growth. BICO acknowledges that climate change is the most important human-induced environmental challenge that could exacerbate biodiversity loss caused by habitat destruction, invasive alien species and the like. Here we engage in educating communities on the causes and effects of climate change locally, development of resilience techniques and advocating for better mitigation policies. Projects here revolves on equipping local community members with the knowledge needed to combat climate change, better adapt to the effects of global warming through the implementation of practical hands-on activities that will benefit both the local communities as well as the wildlife .
BICO therefore has in its on-going climate change awareness raising campaign to sensitize Kenyans, especially youth across the country and women in rural environment who are the most vulnerable groups to climate change and its harsh impact. The awareness raising campaigns contributes to climate change adaptation strategies and address what Kenyans can do to lessen the impact of climate change and global warming.
Through an integrated approach to conservation, BICO seeks to facilitate the coexistence of wildlife, local communities, and their habitats. The Community driven Conservation Programme is focused on bringing our work into the public realm through several different approaches including talks, media articles, information boards and our drop in centre. We engage local people in developing forest management and conservation practices that will improve the status of the regions forests and increase benefits from them. With coastal people, we work to ensure that coastal and marine biodiversity is protected and used wisely in order to provide social and economic benefits while maintaining ecological integrity. We endeavour to ensure that key elements of dry land ecosystems and biodiversity are brought under appropriate conservation regimes.
Schools Environmental Education
Environmental education refers to organized efforts to teach how natural environments function, how they interact and are influenced by human activity, and particularly, how human beings can manage their behaviour and physical environment to live in a more sustainable and less damaging way. Whilst often used to imply education within a school system, it can include all efforts to educate the public and other audiences, including print materials, websites, media campaigns, etc.
The term environmental education is often used interchangeably with conservation education although the latter is more grounded in its philosophy of teaching how to conserve the natural world. People fight for what they care about, and one aspect of developing a caring attitude is knowledge. Progress in conservation depends upon the development of public understanding of the relationships between species, the environment and people’s own. The traditional thinking behind environmental education is that we can change behaviour by increasing knowledge and influencing attitudes about environmental and surrounding issues. This assumes that as people become more knowledgeable, they will in turn become more aware of the environment and its problems, and be motivated to act towards the environment in a more responsible way. It is now thought that instruction must go beyond awareness and knowledge of issues to change behaviour, and that ‘students’ must be provided with the opportunity to develop a sense of ownership and empowerment so that they become fully invested and prompted to become responsible active citizens in the environmental arena.
In situ projects are doomed to failure in the long term if the local people are not involved and if the underlying causes of habitat loss and the threats to species are not addressed” Support for in situ education programmes such as these will make a difference in the work to conserve threatened species. Without awareness and understanding of stakeholders, conservation initiatives are likely to be ineffective and consequently most of our conservation programmes have an educational component.
We conduct series of conservation education, capacity building training and awareness raising as a means of in-situ knowledge sharing strategy where conservation information will be shared. We do this by instilling an understanding of the value of nature, wildlife and ecosystem whilst improving understanding of Kenya’s conservation laws.
Help us as we undertake education and conservation outreaches
Wildlife resources belong to all of us, and for wildlife conservation to be effective; the public must understand and value wildlife. BICO believes education and outreach are essential to wildlife and nature conservation in general. We respond to this need through;
Development of the capacities of the local communities in monitoring as well as conservation of nature
Development of outreach materials to help the local communities to improve their know how on the values of biodiversity in general in any ecosystem
Engaging the public on biodiversity conservation through participation in local school programs and providing public lectures;
Local capacity building
Capacity has historically been viewed as a human resource term, such as an individual’s capacity to do, to achieve, to develop, and is most often referred to in terms of competencies and capabilities. People are both the driving force behind biodiversity loss and the reason for protecting it. Long-term conservation success depends on developing and supporting committed individuals and institutions that are strong enough and effective enough to address the threats to the natural world. Whilst outside intervention may provide a short-term fix, the most effective and long-term solutions to safeguard species and habitats lie in local hands. Our capacity building helps directly by providing training and education to the local communities in key skills essential for effective protection of wildlife populations and their habitats. Through community initiatives, public discussions and dissemination of educational material we inform the public on conservation issues to help them make informed decisions. We have been issuing biodiversity conservation materials to the local communities too as a way of building their capacities in conservation.
Community sustainable development
The links between biodiversity, conservation and poverty reduction have been explored, debated and incorporated into key policy. Alternative livelihoods projects such as keeping livestock to reduce demand for bush meat or income generating projects such as woodlots reducing the reliance on forest products for fuel are great projects if implemented. The provision of fuel-efficient stoves can further reduce consumption of wood for fuel and has positive benefits for human health and welfare. Community forestry or community based protected areas has the potential to empower community groups. Protected areas and nature-based tourism can provide direct employment, for example as rangers and guides, and support other income generation activities.
BICO supports community sustainable developments geared towards initiatives poverty eradication as well as conserving biodiversity hot spots. To this end, BICO supports numerous Alternative livelihoods through training to help local communities become more self-sufficient, eradicate hunger and reduce dependability. The ultimate goal is to help them move beyond subsistence to surplus. BICO has been active in sponsoring food gardens at both the family and community level. We have also helped to develop innovative cash crop projects that can provide both food to eat and surplus for cash sale.
Water & sanitation program
Water scarcity in Kenya has been an issue for decades, as only a small percentage of the country’s land is optimal for agriculture, and the year-round climate is predominantly arid. People should do their best to conserve water for three reasons. The less water used or wasted by people, the less clean water will become contaminated. Kenya faces challenges in water provision with erratic weather patterns in the past few years causing droughts and water shortages. Kenya also has a limited renewable water supply and is classified as a water scarce country. Urban migration contributes to challenges in sanitation, as people crowd into cities and urban growth is unregulated. Due to lack of access to water and sanitation, diarrhea is second to pneumonia in deaths in children under five years of age (excluding neonatal). Water, sanitation and hygiene related illnesses and conditions are the number one cause of hospitalization in children under age five. Access to water and sanitation also contribute to time savings for women, more hours in school for girls, and fewer health costs. We have been supporting the needs of water and sanitation especially to school children. We on the other hand work with local schools through health and sanitation education. This program aims at ensuring that the local communities have clean and save water. The highest priority for BICO Water and Sanitation programme is improving and optimizing access to safe water and helping provide adequate sanitation to all.
Over 27.8 million lack access to safe water in Kenya
32.7 million People in Kenya lack access to improved sanitation
63% of the total population in Kenya lives below the national poverty line
The number of the big four (Lions, Elephants, Rhinos & cheaters) is decreasing day in day out due to illegal poaching and impacts of the climate changes
Some forests in Kenya have amphibians which are not found anywhere else and they are threatened or critically endangered like the Taita Warty frog found only in Taita Hills forest and parts of Mt Elgon
Majority of the Kenyan population are ignorant on biodiversity conservation
Peacebuilding and conflict mitigation Program
Peace building is a long-term process of encouraging people to talk to one another, repairing relationships, and reforming institutions. For positive change to last, those affected by a destructive conflict have to be involved in the process of building peace as well as resolving their differences in an amicable ways. Transforming relationships is key to putting an end to violence. Our Peace building and conflict mitigation program seeks to address the underlying causes of conflict, helping people to resolve their differences peacefully and laying the foundations to prevent future violence.
Wetland and Marine conservation program
Human activities have significantly altered coastal and marine habitat over time. This degradation and loss of habitat has significant economic and social consequences. For example, habitat degradation and loss has reduced the size and diversity of fish populations, which in turn decreases opportunities for commercial and recreational fisheries. Human population continues to concentrate near the coasts, increasing the pressures on coastal and marine habitat.
Wetlands are important features in the landscape that provide numerous beneficial services for the local communities, fish and wildlife. Some of these services, or functions, include protecting and improving water quality, providing fish and wildlife habitats, storing floodwaters and maintaining surface water flow during dry periods. These valuable functions are the result of the unique natural characteristics of wetlands. Coastal wetlands are some of the most productive ecosystems on Earth. Salt marshes, sea grass beds, and mangroves play an important role in addressing climate change by removing greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing them in plants and in the soil. Coastal blue carbon is the term used for carbon that is stored in these coastal habitats.
Our efforts to conserve coastal habitats play an important role in preserving coastal blue carbon, preventing the release of carbon into the atmosphere, and reducing the effects of climate change.