Tag Archives: thanks

Preparing for the expedition

The final preparations are under way for the raptor expedition. Simon is moving Rosy and Girl to their new home in Naivasha today. He will be travelling to the UK on Friday to sort out a couple of things, after which he joins me in Ireland to help transport all the equipment back to Kenya. We will be travelling on 4th October, arriving in Nairobi on the following day. We have a busy first week, with three locations to visit, after which we will be going to a very remote location to release Mutt, a Bearded Vulture (Lammergeyer).

The first few months of the expedition will be spent in Kenya, where there is a huge diversity in habitat and, accordingly, raptor species. We hope to observe and photograph a large portion of the African species during this time. We will also be spending time in Ethiopia and possibly Tanzania before Christmas. In the New Year, we will be travelling south, after which we would like to spend some time in western and central Africa. We will interrupt our car expedition either in spring or in autumn of next year to catch the raptor migration through Israel.

The expedition is intended for data collection, as well as for material for the books. We hope to gather as much data as possible. We are in the process of trying to raise funds for this data collection so that we may be as thorough as possible. For example, it would be of great value to the exercise to be able to extend the trip to islands off mainland Africa, such as Madagascar. Finding funding is crucial to making that happen.

We will make every effort to keep this blog going regularly, if not daily. There will be times when we are away from any kind of Internet facility and for that, we are sorry. Sheryl Bottner has very kindly offered to help us with our Internet management while we are on the road. We will have a Facebook group going soon, as well as other networking tools. I hope you all enjoy following our adventure and feel free to participate by making comments, starting discussions, etc.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been so supportive throughout Rosy’s eye ordeal. News on his progress will follow soon. It has also been great to have everyone’s encouragement for this expedition. I hope it is successful and can contribute to the protection of raptors as well as to conservation more generally.

Thanks

Paula Kahumbu came over with her son Josh over the weekend and sat me down in front of the computer for an intense course. She used a new cell phone modem that cut through the fog and finally I was able to see the Wildlife Direct web site in the comfort of my own computer!

I noted with delight that I have been given quite a bit of money. Some $400 has been donated by three people. It is all the more  generous as I have never specified what I need money for, and to be honest I never thought I would get donations. Now that I have, I must first acknowledge how grateful I am, and also confide in those that support this work that I have had to make a lot of changes of late.

I am grateful to Fineley, Teresa and Antonio and can tell you all that I shall probably put this money into saving the sight of Rosy the male Crowned Eagle. I shall have to post this particular story soon, but in short,Rosy now 32 years old has cataracts in both eyes. He now sits on his shed floor with his mate occasionally descending from the nest tree above to help feed him. He must have an operation that can restore his sight to near normal. Frustratingly, the very laws put in place to help protect wildlife, instead of assisting and expediating the process have conspired to thwart his emergency export to the only animal eye hospital in Africa. I have a quote for the operation at some 14,797 Rand(about $2140) [email protected] (without airfare). I shall now try to raise funds for this project, perhaps through this blog.

In the last year there have been many changes in the life of my raptor collection due to necessary changes in how I live and support myself financially. I have not earned any money for this last year, having asked my former employer that I retire in order to re-evaluate my priorities. The reasons were mostly due to a domestic personal down-turn of events but inflation and increasing lack of security in the immediate area were additional factors.

This entails closing down all operations at Game Ranching Athi River where the birds and I live. I have actively tried to get the collection to its lowest for some years now, recognising that I cannot work, meet expectations and keep a menagerie of wild animals at the same time. The birds down from some 20, to 9 in the last year to now only 6. Most have been released (as is the objective) and others will be given new homes. I plan to be able to return to this former life, with some of my old collection of birds if possible once I am more secure and better able to manage them to a standard they deserve.

Far from backing out I hope to become more effective and better able to financially support these animals. I intend to get some important data regarding the status of raptors throughout Africa and ultimately earning some revenue.

I will be driving throughout Africa with Laila gathering material for a series of reports and books on raptors. Laila Bahaa-el-din is as passionate about raptors and conservation of wildlife as I.  She is a highly talented stills photographer and travelled widely working with monkeys, cheetah, tigers, vultures on three continents. She also knows how to organise and most importantly how to run a computer with all its unintelligble communication problems that so inhibit me. She will soon be writing on this blog, introducing the across Africa Raptor Expedition.

Thanks again to all of those that check in from time to time and especially to those who have donated.