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Beads for Wildlife campaign
You can give a gift that helps people and wildlife.
Zoos Victoria is committed to working with communities to save wildlife. Through sustainable development with the Northern Rangelands Trust and communities in Northern Kenya, we are alleviating threats to wildlife and achieving long term biodiversity gain. Through our Beads for Wildlife campaign we sell beautiful hand-crafted beadwork created by women in the Melako Community Conservancy. In these times of extreme drought, beadwork creates a sustainable alternative livelihood for families, reducing their impact on natural resources and wildlife.
What’s the story?
Northern Kenya is facing its worst drought in six decades leaving people, livestock and wildlife desperately competing for survival. People are struggling with drought and poverty on a daily basis. Wildlife such as the Critically Endangered Grevy’s Zebra, once common in Northern Kenya, are being forced to compete with domestic stock such as camels and goats for precious natural resources. Zoos Victoria is working with the local Rendille tribe of the Melako conservancy, to alleviate pressure on both people and wildlife.
- Provide a source of income to families in Northern Kenya to reduce their reliance on livestock while still meeting their livelihood needs
- Alleviate the threats posed by drought and competition for scarce resources
- Provide the Zoo community with the opportunity to join powerful conservation efforts in Kenya through a tangible call to action.
Facilitating conservation action
Beautiful handmade beadwork made by the women of Melako Community Conservancy are sold through Zoos Victoria, to provide employment and an alternative income. This allows them to support their families by using a skill aligned with their cultural values.
Zoos Victoria purchases the beadwork from our partners, Northern Rangelands Trust, who pay the women for their beadwork. This money provides reprieve during times of severe drought, reducing family dependance on maintaining large numbers of livestock which consequently benefits species such as the Grevy’s Zebra.
To date (May 2012), Zoos Victoria has sold 74,000 pieces of beadwork and generated AU$236,217 in income for 600 women creating products for the Beads for Wildlife campaign. This alternative income source has resulted in the following benefits to the people and wildlife of Melako:
- Reduced reliance on livestock lessening the burden on natural resources such as water and grazing. At this time we have also seen an increase in the abundance of wildlife, including the Critically Endangered Grevy’s Zebra
- Increased school attendance and education accessibility, as families are able to afford both the time and cost of education, relying less on children working to herd livestock
- Increased food security
- Increase in access to health services
- Reduced conflict with neighbouring communities as men feel less pressure to rustle livestock from other communities
- Encouraged involvement from other Australian zoos, in turn engaging their visitors in the fight to save people and wildlife in Northern Kenya.