Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I. Bungoma Kenya - Saving the Black Rhino Research Areas for Final Report to Governments and Wildlife Officials:

Bungoma students research for their position paper on how we can work together to save the rhino will focus on the end user demand and end user demand countries.  Some of the areas they may cover in their section:

Main Demand Countries and The Trade Network of Each
End Users – who, where, how many, and why?
Middle Men and their mark up on price – the economics
Politicians who benefit?!  How rampant is bribery?
Laws and Enforcement in each country
Education programs by governments in demand countries to educate their people that rhino horn has no medicinal uses whatsoever, should not be used for Jambiya knife handles in Yemen, and elephant tusks for decoration is not cool – there are human-made substitutes instead!!

Bungoma Kenya – Questions for Kenya Wildlife Officials and US Senator Markey so far:

Our Bungoma students are suggesting asking the following questions to the KWS Official.

Q1. Do the black rhino earn any foreign money to our beloved country Kenya? If not, why? And if yes, how?

Q2.How many black rhinos do we have in Kenya? And, how are they protected from poachers who endanger their life?

Question to U.S. Senator Markey -

What support is the congress (Senate and House of Representatives) putting in place to see that, the black rhino (rhinoceros species) is saved worldwide, whereby, children of the world can learn from it and not redo the same rhino slaughter in future?

Bungoma Students – Earlier Findings and Other Possible Additional Questions to send to KWS Officials:

Situation in Kenya with rhino –

More than 24 rhinos reported killed by the end of June 23rd this 2013
Tools used to kill were guns
Research states that 3 days later in Solio Ranch near Nyeri in central Kenya, one more rhino was killed.
In Ngulia Rhino sanctuary in Tsavo west National park another rhino was killed.
On 27th may 2013 one rhino was killed at Meru national park and on 29th May 2013, 3 more rhinos were killed on private ranch of Oserian Wildlife Sanctuary.

Therefore, students' worry was, why killings are done in sanctuaries and yet are made in order to protect rhinoceros species?

There they are asking the Kenya Wildlife Services to give a better idea on how to save the black rhino, since they are very view in our beloved country Kenya.

Students' conclusion shows that if Kenya does not somehow increase the effectiveness of its security operations concerning wildlife, or figure out another means of stopping the poaching, they might loose more than 50 rhinos at the end of 2013.

What is being done by the Kenyan government:

The Kenya National assembly voted almost unanimously to raise penalties for wildlife poaching and trafficking of wildlife products on 22nd may 2013.

Therefore the decision created an emergency legislation to raise penalties to 15 years in jail and a fine of millions of money.

But despite those new stiffer penalties, poachers and dealers in Kenya still collectively scoff at the Kenya's lawmakers and the new penalties, which leads Kenyans to feel it is losing the battle against poachers, and the illegal trade syndicate.

Bungoma, Kenya – Lyrics of Their Saving the Black Rhino Song:

Bungoma save the rhino song.

(Jungle boys*2 save the rhinos)*2 is a chorus for the song.
stanza 1
we need to save the rhinos ooh! ooh! ooh! jungle boys *2
stanza 2
As the Jungle we must save the black rhino*2
stanza 3
Vietnamese and south Africans let us unite and save the rhino*2

Nairobi, Kenya - Saving the Black Rhino Research Areas for Final Report to Governments and Wildlife Officials:

Finally in terms of our research, we would like to dwell on the Kenyan situation and pay attention to the following key areas:

·       Current population of rhinos, rate of poaching and particulars of existing conservancy in the country
·       Estimation of revenue from wildlife and estimation of how much the government ploughs back to safeguard wildlife-like the rhino
·       Debate on a current controversy on road that is pass through the park; why the controversy, what are the options
·       Animal and human conflict-state, existing laws are they supportive enough, what is being done to strengthen them?
·       Current state of use of new technology in saving the rhino-there is already talks of deploying drones etc./what are the limitations?

Nairobi, Kenya – Questions for Kenya Wildlife Officials so far:

This are the thoughts so far:

The last time we had a very heated debate on the past occurrence of former president Moi burning tons of tusks worth millions of Kenyan shillings? – It was a fairly interesting debate with divergent views.

Nairobi, Kenya – Sketch of Lyrics of Their Saving the Black Rhino Song:

On the day God created the animals and when all was done-it was beautiful, it was lovely...

I am a Rhino, black or white, I am a Rhino, cousins to the elephants, and all the other wild animals, and we are part of that beauty, without us the world is incomplete...

Save me X9 from the depths of the forest of Africa; from Kenya to Namibia, to South Africa X2 Save me for me and for you... (chorus)

Trash the crap, know the truth; neither my horns or meat can make any medicine; I am no magic wand either. That is true for me and for my cousins the elephant....

What is my worth, you dare to ask; I live in the wild, yet I am like glue connecting human hearts; people from distance a far meet and connect because of me; hospitals and schools are built because of me; lives and destinies are saved because of me and my wild brothers...the earth remains BEAUTIFUL because of me and my brothers

back to chorus...hum along...

New York City – Bronx USA - Saving the Black Rhino Research Areas for Final Report to Governments and Wildlife Officials:

Students from NYC Summer Science Club class will focus on the impact social media and this project and expanding to include students the world over can have for helping our governments and wildlife groups worldwide save the rhino and other beautiful animals from extinction by human hands

1. What are the impacts of the "Saving the Black Rhino Game" on student's understanding of the current rhino crisis?
2. How can effectively use social media such as Google Plus, Twitter, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts to help protect the black rhino?
3.What role can children all over the world play in protecting the black rhino?
4.How can we create networks with rhino sanctuaries all over the world to preserve this critically endangered specie?

New York City – Bronx USA – Questions for Kenya Wildlife Officials so far:

1.How many Rhinos are left in the Kenya wildlife reserve?
2.Have you ever seen a black rhino been hunted by poachers?
3.How many black rhino are left in Africa?
4. Why do you think that the poachers are killing not just the rhinos but other animals in Africa?
5.How can we convince the poachers to stop killing the black rhinos?
6. Are there any international law against poaching?
7.How many rhinos are left in the world?
8. Did you ever save a black rhino from a poacher?
9. What are the average yearly rates of black rhino death and birth? Are there any steps being take to help improve the well being of the rhinos?
10. Being that the black rhino is a native specie from Africa, is there not folklore or reverence for it to help sway the killing of such a great animal?

Questions for US Senator Markey so far:

1. Mr. Senator, is this the first time you are hearing about the black rhino crisis?
2. If you were a Kenyan senator, how would you help protect the black rhino?
3.What can you do to help save the black rhino?
4. Are there any international law against poaching black rhino horns?
5. How are you going to help Kenya, Africa protect the black rhino?
6.Why did you take an interest in helping the black rhino and other animals in Africa?
7.Mr. Senator, do you know how many black rhinos are left in the world?
8. Can the US sent an army to protect the black rhinos and other critically endangered species in Africa?
9. Are you going to encourage president Obama to continue the initiative to protect wildlife in Africa?
10.Are there any international laws being proposed to the United Nation (U.N) to help against the slaughter of black rhinos and other critically endangered species?

New York City – Bronx USA - Lyrics of Their Saving the Black Rhino Songs:

Song #1

We better go go go to east to west searching the rhinos from right to left so were running to save the rhinos alright we got 2 killers and they better stop if they don't we'll call the cops so stop killing the rhinos they are to weak to be killed because they don't have a chance to run away from the poachers from the poachers ........ from the poachers. 

Song #2

I just wanna see you stop killing those rhinos i just wanna see you stop oh! killing those rhinos killing those rhinos ..... killing those rhinos.


Questions and Ideas by One Planet Education Network (OPEN) to government and wildlife officials:

As the crisis is deepening with the rhino under greater threat than ever on the ground in Kenya and elsewhere, is the USA and Kenya working more closely together now that the issue has been elevated by President Obama with his stop illegal wildlife initiative?

And what steps might they take together to increase the effectiveness on the ground in Kenya and with other key international partners?

What is KWS doing to counter the increase in the killings and boldness of the poachers and their bosses?

If the money could be found, would a great increase in salaries of security forces or other related anti-poaching related jobs help the cause?

Can the US offer a whole fleet of civilian drones to blanket the countryside in African countries with high-density populations of rhino and elephants?

What kinds of pressure are our respective governments putting on the demand countries?

And what kinds of pressures might be more effective in having those demand governments and their wildlife officials more effectively deal with the issues – how can they improve interdiction in customs, better enforce local and national laws, or increase and then enforce penalties?

Also, maybe more importantly, what can and should those governments do to educate their populace to fully expose and to counter the myth of curative powers of rhino horn for cancer and hangovers, and other presumed false medicinal remedies?

How can we support that educational initiative with our international education programs for the generation who will inherit our world?

And how can we together support one another – our student grassroots global initiative and its extension, and we in turn your difficult job in stopping this trade before the animal’s demise?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Hi All,

Tomorrow we will discuss the plan for our final day's short presentation


  • Submitting each site's research outlines for the draft final report (position paper) from our students on how governments and wildlife organizations with the support of our grassroots efforts to rally students worldwide can better educate the users of the rhino horn and stop the illegal trade!

  • Submitting the lyrics of our initial songs on saving the black rhino and singing them

  • Questions from each site for Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) Official who may come to Nairobi site on Friday, as well as our Congressman (I might find that out today)

After this, students can discuss or practice their songs tomorrow.

Again, I will lead the multipoint Skype session on Wednesday and Friday.

Please be ready at 8:30 am USA and 3:30 pm Kenya time to begin connecting, and if you can please videotape the session from your end, with some filming of the Skype computers and the Saving the Black Rhino - Mkomazi - version 1.

Version 2 is looking fantastic.  Can't wait for you to get the new Habitat Simulator Episode 1 - For your trial and initial feedback.

All the Best,

One Planet Education Network (OPEN)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Black Rhino Crisis

More value than gold on the Black Market.This is a 3 minute black rhino crisis video.Hope you like the video.Take notes to put it on the blog.

killing rhinos


Just another new Saving the Rhino game screen shot for your viewing pleasure.  Feel free to comment.
Prior article on park expansion buffer areas - could be included in our recommendations section of our students' draft position paper.
OK one last post for the day, but important one for all wildlife parks worldwide.  When it comes down to it animals need alot of room and they do not stay put.  We have set up these amazing and sometimes very large parks in almost every country, however, we are beginning to realize that sometimes that is not enough.  We need to link these parks somehow when we can, as well as linking in the oceans the national marine sanctuaries or marine protected areas.

This article and the research herein concludes that we must put buffer areas around many of our wildlife habitats, especially in high density population areas where modern development bump right up on the edges of the woods and set aside areas.   How much is enough and how we can really do this remains a very challenging problem set.
Well here is a great write-up as usual from our teammates in Bungoma - from Friday's tremendous international session, AND a good photo below of the students researching and checking out our new EverSpire education game series lead character - Malika Hazard.


Hi All
I know Bungoma site was on and off so were not heard very well and these was what they presented:

Situation in Kenya with rhino.
More than 24 rhinos reported killed by the end of June 23rd this 2013
Tools used to kill were guns
Research states that 3 days later in Solio Ranch near Nyeri in central Kenya, one more rhino was killed.
In Ngulia Rhino sanctuary in Tsavo west National park another rhino was killed.
On 27th may 2013 one rhino was killed at Meru national park and on 29th May 2013, 3 more rhinos were killed on private ranch of Oserian Wildlife Sanctuary.

Therefore, students' worry was, why killings are done in sanctuaries and yet are made in order to protect rhinoceros species?

There they are asking the Kenya Wildlife Services to immediately give a better idea on how to save the black rhino, since they are very view in our beloved country Kenya.

Students' conclusion shows that if Kenya does not somehow increase the effectiveness of its security operations concerning wildlife, or figure out another means of stopping the poaching, they might loose more than 50 rhinos at the end of 2013.

What is being done by the Kenyan government:
The Kenya National assembly voted almost unanimously to raise penalties for wildlife poaching and trafficking of wildlife products on 22nd may 2013.
Therefore the decision created an emergency legislation to raise penalties to 15 years in jail and a fine of millions of money.
Surprise -- poachers and dealers in Kenya still collectively give Kenya's lawmakers the proverbial finger, which leads Kenya to feel it is losing the battle against poachers.

International security bodies are working with Kenyan government to get a better idea of dealing with rhino slaughter cases.

Question from Bungoma student to NYC student was;
Do you have poachers in your country?
How do you deal with them?

(Now see recent blog post from George Newman on US OPERATION CRASH)

Answer from Bungoma Students to general question on where the Black Rhinos are found in Kenya:

Rhino valley lodge
Meru national park
Tsavo west national park
Masai mara
Ngulia sanctuary and private ranch of Oserian
Solio Ranch

Hi Everyone,

Will be next posting some more great write-ups and Q & A from Bungoma site from Friday's dynamite international session!!

But here is a fairly recent article which covers one of the questions from Bungoma to NYC students about what the USA is doing about poaching - all our countries are on it.  It's just how effective is it in slowing down or stopping the slaughter and trade:

Operation Crash in USA - by US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)

These people were sentenced really fast -

Earlier Articles on Operation Crash -

These are great sites we should link to on the topic of stopping illegal rhino and endangered species trade.   Very informative and great resources for our research and final draft report.



Saturday, July 27, 2013

Breeding Information

Breeding is reported to occur throughout the year. The gestation period is between 419 and 478 days, with an average interval of 2.5-3.5 years between calves.

Hello Everyone this is Ikrami

Hi Alchemist club members,
                                    I am Ikrami.I am going to be part of the science club.It is a great honor.I wish everyone a nice summer and keep posting on the blog.The reason why Mr.Ronelus made the blog is to post on the blog.Good luck!

Friday, July 26, 2013

More eye candy for upcoming new Habitat Simulator

Just to let you know how much of a global problem - the illegal wildlife trade is.... in addition to the US Fish and Wildlife fairly recent bust of a black market animal parts ring... Czech authorities in Central Europe also are charging 16 suspected members of an international smuggling ring...(24 rhino horns)...
Big News -

Ms. Menya - teacher of the Nairobi "save the rhino" class - is working with one of her student's parents who works in the tour business to possibly get an official from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) who is the government body (like the US Fish and Wildlife Service I presume) dedicated to protecting both wildlife and people affected.

So we hope to have that official come in to one of our upcoming Skype sessions next week and speak to the local and our remote sites, and try to answer your students' good questions.  

Here in the meantime for those who may be researching what is being done in Kenya by their security service that is on the ground putting their lives at risk every day.  Very informative website!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

OK couldn't help myself.  Here is a glimpse of the new rhino Habitat Simulator area and room AND new Habib, doing his morning exercises!!

The new Habitat Simulator is going to be amazing as Larry, Carlos, John and Ellen of OPEN are kickin it!!   Enjoy these not yet finished screen shots.... Can't wait for you all to be playing in it soon!



There was a great question asked by Kenya last week to US students as to what US is doing on the protection of wildlife - rhino - elephant and other?!

Well the main agency in US is the US Fish and Wildlife Federal organization.  They recently made a big bust of a rhino horn ring here...  Here are a few short articles for you to check out.

Also – check out this group dedicated to saving rhinos –

Hey Everyone, 
Here are pictures of students from Bungoma and Nairobi
Bungoma on top gathered around rhino game, and fourth shot down too.

Nairobi, roundtable, sliver stars, reading Habib letter from game, and more.

Looking forward to seeing and hearing from you all soon.

Tremendous shots.  Thank you all.

Monday, July 22, 2013

the countdown of the rhino history!!!!!!!

how can poachers do this to awesome animals like the 
black rhinos.

saving the black rhino is what we  are suppose to do instead of killing them

Fast Facts about black rhino

Height at shoulder, 4.5 to 6 feet (1.4 to 1.8 m)
1,760 to 3,080 lbs (800 to 1400 kg)
Protection status:
Size relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man:

Photo: Close view of a black rhinocerosNearing extinction, the black rhinoceros has long been hunted for its horns, thought, in some cultures, to possess magical and medicinal qualities.

black rhino-witkop safaris

people hunting the black rhino

black rhino-witkop safaris

Future EverSpire Artistic Mock-Ups

Hey everyone, 

Here is a shot of our EverSpire time teleport hub, which is still under construction, where you will learn about our time travel heroes and their missions into the past, the future and in the present time zone.

Here are a few shots of our main game characters who now are locked in other time zones, but may be paying a visit to you in a future episode of rhino.  "Time" will tell.


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Hi All,

Tremendous job, effort and results from Friday's "Ice-Breaker" Videoconference Session. Congratulations to the great teachers and students, technologists, film and other support staff behind the scenes!!   What a successful and promising beginning!!


As many of you know the Bungoma site was shut off from most of the “Ice-Breaker” session due to technical limitations of network and related in that West Kenya area.   Not to say they were totally disconnected as you will soon realize once you read the great note just below from the Bungoma students and their superlative teacher, Mr. Bonaventure Masika.

And that is also the wonder of the Internet where we have many new and powerful ways to communicate, "live" or otherwise.

There are some wonderful ideas in here, suggestions, and great questions from the students of Bungoma, and for the students at our other remote sites.  Some questions for our USA NYC students, others general.  

These are some difficult questions that will take some time to address, but should be as part of the students’ research on this topic of endangered wildlife worldwide, and for our longer range project goals.

Such as - What wildlife laws are in place in the Western Countries (USA)?  How can we stop poachers who are using super state-of-the-art technologies and weaponry equal or sometimes surpassing the wildlife protection authorities to spot and kill rhinos (even from the air), while evading detection?

What a lethal cat-and-mouse game we have here!

But within this piece below we have the seeds for kids combating the bad guys and gals.  See their project goals, personal goals of the Bungoma kids!!

They also set down their specific research agenda for the Save the Rhino Position Paper  - To Research where those black rhino parts are sold.

And lastly but not leastly, there is also a great suggestion in the following document from Bungoma that the students create a “hymn” or song to the Black Rhino and to the world.  Marvelous idea.  Let’s have the students write some lyrics and put a tune to it!!

And what a spirit from the undaunted Bungoma team!!.....See Summary Conclusions section below

As always - don’t hesitate to comment on this and related.

Thank you all.



Hi all,

We missed a great session of the “Ice-breaker” due to the location, and the lower bandwidth facilities dedicated to our more rural and lower traffic area. Remember, Bungoma borders Uganda and we also had roaming Network problems, as Safaricom (our Internet provider) was alternating with MTN Uganda. At the beginning it was very clear and my students were very excited seeing George on our machine screen. “Wonderful!” they said. Afterwards we started experiencing the above mentioned challenges which let us to fail “Ice-breaker’’- meet and greet session.  Bad-luck. At the end we heard Mr. Ronelus’s (Johnny’s) message and we comply with it.

Though my students missed the “Ice-breaker” session they wrote this to you and wished it to be shared with all sites:

Student ‘I’
Hi all
My name is Vivian
A class 8 student Butonge Primary school
I come from Bungoma County, Kenya.
-My geographic region is Western Kenya.
-We are situated on the downs copes of Mt.Elgon.
-I am 13 years old.
-I love my county Kenya because it has several game reserves where my great interest is to care and protect our wildlife.
-Project goal that I expect is to make sure that the young generation advocates for Black Rhino life and all other wildlife species, though writen, demo, pictures and machu pichu one planet game.
-My goal is to see that all countries on the planet to set up rules that will govern wildlife management all over and banning of Black Rhino born markets.
-My group name is Jungle Protectors
-Our research is to see where those Black Rhino parts are sold.
Question I
Which laws do Western countries implement to reserve wildlife compared to third world countries that have Black Rhino slaughter cases as researched by the open Rhino project?
Thank you, bye-bye all.

Student “II”
Hi all,
My name is Jesse
A class 7 student Butonge Primary School
From Bungoma County- Kenya
My group name is Great Ideas.

Western lake basin as a geographical region. We receive both relief and convectional rains from Mt.Elgon and Lake Victoria. I love my country Kenya, the only country with a capital city having a game park, and my interest is to see Black Rhino is protected as a black African child. Since they have a right to live as the jungle law says and rule of law I believe if not it should be emendate and enforced. My expectation to the project goal is make sure that, hymn of save the Black Rhino should be sung all over and be understood by every child of the world and be enhanced by their serious
My goal/ interests are to see that one planet education reaches every child so that we can get proper suggestions that may determine the saving of the Black Rhino.

Question II 
Therefore, my question is, what measures are you going to take to those poachers who are now advanced in trafficking Black Rhino by use of helicopter, drones and even using firearms like silencers?
Thank you
Bye-bye all

Summary Conclusions by Bungoma – Students and Teacher/Mentor
Though our kids missed questions of the young generation of USA, NAIROBI and SCITUATE they request answers for their questions. They referred yesterday’s failure of connection with our culture saying which states that, “the breakage of a cooking stick doesn’t mean that is the end of cooking”. They are still determined for the project to move on. OK. A bad beginning makes good endings-

Bungoma Student Observations/Outcomes & Objectives
1. The kids observed that the project has helped them too much more creative where by most of them have known how to draw and paint using XO laptops.
 2. They have improved in chatting with others since the project has introduced Skype for learners to communicate with others from different countries and places in Kenya. 
3. Learners observed that through this project they have improve in English speaking since they will not talk any other language to other countries.
4. From this project learners are aiming to be intelligent and courageous to perform their work without any shyness, so as to make their country famous to other countries.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Hi Team Rhino - USA - Kenya,

Seeing that the Kenyan students are working real hard to improve their English and speak to NYC students in English during the pilot, it is only fair that NYC team learns some basic Swahili language.

This comes from an old website we did for the Mkomazi video project about 11 years ago!

Please correct me or add to this list Kenya if there are some words that would be useful for our project to know....   Like Rhino, or poacher, or wildlife law, or......

If you ever saw the movie Lion King - you already know some say it....

Hakuna Matata!!

Best to All,


English Translations of East African Swahili

East African Swahili Words, Terms, and their English Translations (useful in understanding terminology used in Tanzanian culture and Tanzania's Wildlife Policy and Mkomazi Game Reserve)

Askari - security guard, watchman

Banda - thatched hut with earthen or wooden walls

Boma - fenced in enclosure for rhinos or large animals, or village

Bul-bul - Black cover-all garment worn by Islamic women outside the home

Chai - tea

Chakula - food

Fundi - repair man or woman (clothing, building, cars, the trades)

Hakuna matata - no problem

Harambee - community self-help

Jinga - crazy

Jua Kali - hot sun

Kanga - printed cotton wrap-around with a pattern expressing a Swahili proverb

Kikoi - printed cotton wrap-around

Kiondas - woven baskets

Lugga - a dry riverbed

Makuti - roof made of dried palm leaves

Manyatta - Massai livestock camp usually encircled by thorn bushes

Moran - Massai or Samburu warrior

Mzunga - white person

Mbwa mwitu - The Wild Dog

Panga - machete

Pesa - money

Shamba - small farm or a small plot of land

TTC - Tanzanian tourist corporation

Uhuru - Freedom or independence 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

cool facts

Photo: Close view of a black rhinoceros
Both black and white black rhinos are actually grey. They are different not in shape color but their lip shape are different . The black rhinos have a pointy upper lip, while its white relative has a squared lip. The difference in lip shape is related to the animals' diets. Black rhinos are browsers that get most of their sustenance from eating trees and bushes. They use their lips to pluck leaves and fruit from the branches. White rhinos graze on grasses, walking with their enormous heads and squared lips lowered to the ground.
Except for females and their offspring, black rhinos are solitary. Females reproduce only every two and a half to five years. Their single calf does not live on its own until it is about three years old.
Black rhinos feed at night and during the gloaming hours of dawn and dusk. Under the hot African sun, they take cover by lying in the shade. Rhinos are also wallowers. They often find a suitable water hole and roll in its mud, coating their skin with a natural bug repellent and sun block.
Rhinos have sharp hearing and a keen sense of smell. They may find one another by following the trail of scent each enormous animal leaves behind it on the landscape.
Black rhinos boast two horns, the foremost more prominent than the other. Rhino horns grow as much as three inches (eight centimeters) a year, and have been known to grow up to five feet (one and a half meters) long. Females use their horns to protect their young, while males use them to battle attackers.
The prominent horn for which rhinos are so well known has also been their downfall. Many animals have been killed for the hard, hairlike growth, which is revered for medicinal uses in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. The horn is also valued in North Africa and the Middle East as an ornamental dagger handle.
The black rhino once roamed most of sub-Saharan Africa, but today is on the verge of extinction due to poaching fueled by commercial demand.

Seems people are already on to this nifty possible solution - Using Civilian Drones to Protect Wildlife from Poachers  AND in Kenya - Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Central Kenya.

Even outfitted with thermal imaging for night time tracking!!
Hello Team Save Rhino,

I have had experience with Skype type videoconference sessions between international sites. So I am going to lay out how it might roll and again project goals and ideas for now and to continue after our pilot.

We are targeting the first such meet and greet session between our kids on the 19th of July.

This will be what we refer to as the "ice breaker" where kids working on the project at each site get to tell the others about who they are, where they live, a bit about their culture and their hopes for this project and working together on a great cause that is important for us all.

We recommend 1 or 2 students share the 5 minute intro from each site.

We start with Nairobi, then to NYC South Bronx, then to Bungoma site.

Choose students who are comfortable speaking for the group, and of course prepare them with an outline and what messages to tell the group. Of course they can read if they wish to.  It will be very informal really just a nice way to begin to get to know one another and make friendships between our peoples.

Tell them to always speak slowly, clearly and a bit louder than normal so all can hear them.  Hearing is more important than seeing in videoconferencing.  Though seeing is great too.

OK here is how it should go for setting it up and then the first session:

Thursday the 18th - we test at the same hour 8:30 am New York City Time 3:30 pm Kenya time - test Skype connections, microphones, speakers, and camera/video.

Be thinking about not only camera on individuals who will be speaking but also if you want to show some other objects such as maps or hand drawn pictures, scenes out your window (if not too sunny, dark, or far away).

Session - approx - 45 minutes or less

Friday the 19th - the ice-breaker - 45 minutes or less

8:30 am USA - 3:30 pm Kenya - set up - calling and basic testing of network and systems
9:00 am USA - 4:00 pm Kenya - Nairobi starts (again 1 or 2 students presents for the class)

Students give names
Village or city
Geographic Region (where in Kenya?  Where in Niarobi?  Where in States and New York City?  Where in Bungoma?
Mountain - Ocean side?  Lake side?
Maybe - Google Earth your location or have other classes do so on another non-presentation computer
Team members (not a full list if big group - camera can point to other participants who can wave or come forward as a group to join the presenter(s), the go back
General age and interests of kids in your area of country/city
Project goals
Personal goals/interests
Maybe Research area for project your group may be doing (Johnny and Kenya teachers certainly guide this and if you have time decide before the 19th session - see below)
Ideas for our project name and teams - Bungoma, Nairobi and NYC!!
Thank you

After Nairobi, NYC, and Bungoma give their initial presentations

Question and Answers (first Bungoma, then NYC, then Nairobi sites)
Have two prepared questions from each site for whichever other site you want to ask
And then if there is something that is out of your script for questions - feel free to ask it, but first ask your teacher

If time - each site students sing together a national or local traditional song

AGAIN PILOT AND PROJECT GOALS (Further ideas and planning for teachers):

Overall project goal for these two weeks is to come up together through sessions and blog postings (or in the next month) is to at least develop a basic outline of how you will together realistically try to save the rhino.  

I have given you some ideas and I am sure you will have many great ones of your own.

Johnny, Herine and Bonnie - be thinking of what areas your students might each want to research to put together their part of the save the rhino report outline, some research they might want to do at this time to prepare themselves for the work ahead, and how you might divide up the tasks - could be -

Of course this does not at all need to get done during this session or even within the month (maybe a preliminary findings summary report), as there is alot of ground to cover on this complex topic.

But let's Skype, begin that research and report outline, begin to play OPEN's Saving the Black Rhino - Mkomazi game together and discuss!!

Current laws in Kenya, Tanzania, and some current international laws say by CITES or other international bodies such as IUCN

Current laws in South Africa (where biggest rhino populations that remain are, and where they are now most under threat)

Awesome new CITES report on illicit trade report....incredible resource

Also, IUCN Congress just met in 2012 in Korea, and discussed plight of wildlife maybe summary report on what their conclusions were (see link below)?

What are CITES next steps or next Congress - the agenda?
IUCN is looking for young generation participation - should your students try to participate in the next CITES congress with their knowledge and report?

IUCN 2012 - resolutions and recommendations

Short paper on rhino and elephants from IUCN 2012 Congress,%20using%20rhino%20and%20elephant%20as%20indicators.pdf

Maybe for later - In your kids opinion what were the stumbling blocks or problem areas that were not solved or tabled for later at conclusion of IUCN session in 2012?

Current laws in Vietnam and China?
How each country laws are enforced (if at all)
Weaknesses in law and enforcement (main loopholes)
Ideas for new laws and enforcement that might work better
New technologies and support such as drones or Internet tracing technologies? - who is doing what with this today? - crowdsourcing project in Kenya to buy and use drones (see article I post next)
How to stop or lessen bribery?
Choke points - how to better catch them at ports or airports (remember they are clever and use 3rd party countries to get to Vietnam and China likely - what might those intermediary ports/airports be?
Who are the middlemen/women?
Who makes what money in the distribution chain - from poacher shooting the rhino to the end of the chain - the villager buying the powder - thinking it is a cure for cancer, headache or hangover etc.?


Kenya two sites present - what has happened and what is happening today in Kenya related to the rhino (status report).  Then discussion and question and answers from NYC and each site to other.


Friday, July 12, 2013


hello my name is aianny marte and im soo happy to be welcoming the kids from Africa welcome to the black rhino program
Hi Again,

News from South Africa - have heard of this last ditched desperate effort before - but something to digest and discuss later about choices relating to the huge rhino problem.  Not good in my opinion.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Hi Everyone,

Been thinking about the big picture and our position paper idea.  One thing to keep in mind as we tackle the rhino and maybe later the elephant (and other African wildlife) problems, is the idea of maps.

Rhinos like elephants roam, even if it is within the confines of a very large park or game reserve.  You have alot in Kenya of course as do other African countries nearby.   It's not that we want to help poachers pinpoint the animals under threat (sure they have their own sophisticated means of finding them), but it might be nice to show generally where these animals reside in Kenya for those are the habitat areas that must be protected (many are).

So be thinking about maps, Google Earth etc. and big protected reserve areas in Kenya for starters.  

The other is to have Kenya students maybe give a part of the report on what government and other important wildlife organizations exist in Kenya to protect the rhino, elephant and other animals within Kenya's borders, and what organizations also work cross-border say with Tanzania and other countries wildlife authorities who presumably work somewhat closely on the problem.

So an assessment of current laws, organizations, and jurisdictions would be helpful.  Again in summary form or on a separate blog area maybe would be best.

Also, maybe big organizations and what they are presently doing in Kenya and TZ at least, like TUSK or World Wildlife Fund, World Bank environmental, etc. - they are likely doing overlapping work maybe?!  Maybe not the greatest communications or program coordination between them either?!

Once we have pinned down the organizations, their jurisdictions, powers, numbers of staffs, etc.,  maps of herds or groups of rhinos, elies,...then its OK - where are the holes, the problem areas, where staff and training may be beefed up....etc.

So maybe groups of kids can work on background - Johnny's NYC on TUSK and other outside orgs...operating in Kenya and TZ.

Then it's research on the criminal gangs that may be operating in Africa, and the demand countries (rhino - Vietnam, maybe Laos, China, Yemen, etc.), how they operate locally, regionally and globally.

Then it's how do we tackle the source demand - the medicinal myth part of the cities and rural areas in those demand countries?!....  And how do we stop other locals from supporting them?!

BIG stuff, BIG complex problem - but our kids are surely up to the task.  Working together and later with other kids worldwide - they can do it!!

Also have the kids be thinking about other possible future episodes we might do for our games related that will educate other kids around the world on the issue.  This is best likely after they have had a chance to play our current game when they can partly now and the rest later...

OK - food for thought and discussion....

Monday, July 8, 2013

Hi All,

In addition to the Wildlife Now website, this is an important information source on Mkomazi National Park of TZ, which also discusses their additional work at Kora in Kenya.

This newsletter is a pretty up to date annual assessment with great pictures of all the work these people are doing for wildlife and local peoples in Africa.  Download this newsletter and print a few copies at your convenience maybe.  Great background for our project.  Enjoy!
Hi All,

George Newman of OPEN here. Thank you all for your early contributions to this very promising cross-the planet initiative to save the black rhino!! I know we can do it if we work together, joining hands across the nations, through our smart, creative and motivated students.  Both Mr. Ronelus and I will be sending along some additional information about our moderately ambitious plans for this program, which we hope to extend well beyond this summer pilot. This is the start of something great and powerful for all people of the world sharing this precious life giving blue marble. Thanks again everyone, we will be back in touch soon.
Hallo everyone,
This is Herine from Nairobi Kenya. We are settling down to preparing for the Black Rhino project. Today the kids have been asked to gather as much information about wildlife in Kenya as much as possible. Beyond what they know from everyday life, pay attention to some of the challanges facing wildlife in Kenya. We will have an open forum discussion about the same tomorrow; after that we will get them to do specific research about the black Rhino. By the time they connect to their newyork pals, I believe they will have so much to dicuss-enjoy doing so.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Obama to Tackle Africa’s Wildlife Trafficking Crisis

President Obama's new initiative to combat wildlife trafficking will kick off in Tanzania. Photo by John Storr via Wikimedia Commons
President Obama’s new initiative to combat wildlife trafficking will kick off in Tanzania. Photo by John Storr via Wikimedia Commons

President Obama is launching a new initiative to combat Africa’s illegal wildlife trade crisis, which will include $10 million “specifically earmarked” for addressing the issue.

According to The Washington Post, “Obama will convene a Cabinet-level task force composed of the State, Interior and Justice departments that will be charged with devising a national strategy to curb the illegal trade of wildlife across the globe.” The initiative will kick off in Tanzania.
WWF welcomed the news, calling it “groundbreaking” and posting the following statement from President Obama:
Poaching and trafficking is threatening Africa’s wildlife. Today I issued a new Executive Order to better organize U.S. government efforts in this fight so that we can cooperate with the Tanzanian government and others. This includes an additional millions of dollars to help countries across the regions to build their capacity to meet this challenge.
The Executive Order includes:
  • A $10 million pledge to improve protection for threatened wildlife populations in key African countries.
  • A Presidential Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking to develop a national strategy within six months to fight wildlife crime, which will receive recommendations from an Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking of independent experts.
  • A review of the federal government’s Transnational Organized Crime Strategy to consider adding wildlife trafficking to the list of crimes it covers, elevating it to the same level as arms, drug and human trafficking.
The entire world has a stake in making sure we preserve Africa’s beauty for future generations.
Demand for wildlife parts comes mainly from Asia, with China’s appetite wiping out elephants, pangolins, and other threatened African species. Meanwhile, Vietnam is a major destination for rhino horns sourced in Africa.
Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One, deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said that the issue of demand reduction had been brought up by the President in meetings with China.
I know its come up at the president and the Secretary of State level with the Chinese. A lot of these syndicates are based in China.
Grant Harris, the senior director for Africa for the National Security Council, noted that the issue of wildlife trafficking figured prominently in former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s policy.
And even before his appointment as current Secretary of State, John Kerry elevated the wildlife trafficking crisis to a high level. On May 24th, 2012, he presided over the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Hearing, which examined the connection between global insecurity and a surging ivory and rhino horn trade.
Under President Obama’s timely initiative, the US seems poised for an active role in fighting the global wildlife trafficking crisis.