1 Tahrcountry Musings: The power of blogging in Conservation – An African Ranger shows the way

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The power of blogging in Conservation – An African Ranger shows the way

Masai Mara is one Kenya’s best known wildlife reserves. People used to throng the park to have a glimpse of its magnificent wildlife. But continuing violence after the election changed all that. Tourists stopped coming to Masai Mara. Mara Conservancy a not-for-profit organization which manages the North-Western part of the Masai Mara Game Reserve, on behalf of the Trans-Mara County Council was in dire straights. Conservation of the Mara Triangle was completely dependent upon tourism revenue. There was no money to pay the salaries of the protection staff and poaching was taking a heavy toll of the animals. It was at this juncture that Mr Joseph Kimojino, a Ranger in the park hit up on the ides of starting a blog and let the whole world know about what is happening. Till last November he had never used a computer. A determined Kimojino was not willing to be deterred. He learned the ropes of using a computer and grappled with nuances of internet. He started his blog in January with the help of Wildlifedirect, a British-registered charity set up by Richard Leakey, Kenya's leading paleontologist and the former head of the Kenya Wildlife Service. ( http://maratriangle.wildlifedirect.org). It struck an immediate chord of empathy. Surfers who saw the frenetic appeal from Kimojino started chipping in with help. He is receiving 100s of hits a day.
Harnessing the soaring popularity of blogging and social networking sites is indeed a great way to spread the message of conservation. Oxford university researchers Alison Ashlin and Richard Ladle in an article in science magazine says “blogs provide a communication platform of incredible power and they should be used to engage the public, even to the extent of including blogging as part of a researcher's job specification."

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