Girl Baby Elephants Become Proxy Matriarchs At Kenya's Reteti Elephant Sanctuary

Girl Baby Elephants Become Proxy Matriarchs At Kenya's Reteti Elephant Sanctuary

Sunday night has been elephant update night for Anne. My head is swimming in new information and stories. Before I venture out, let me share this charming, empathetic story in National Geographic about Kenya’s Reteti Elephant Sanctuary in Kenya.

A few weeks ago, AOC featured the entire short virtual reality film ‘My Africa’, narrated by Lupita Nyong’o and set among the Samburu people. The region of the film and this May, 2017 article includes the Turkana, Rendille, Borana, and Somali peoples — besides the Samburu. Knowledgeable about many of the civil wars that have ravaged Africa (and America) I’m not familiar with tensions in this area. The point of our story and ‘My Africa’ is how these ethnic groups are working together today to strengthen their communities while protecting the estimated 6,000 elephants, according to National Geographic, who share the land.

In fact, I pursued the article because of this beautiful image of Mary Lengees, one of Reteti’s first female elephant keepers and Shyian. Upon landing at National Geographic, I felt a poignant moment for Shaba, a little female elephant who is now the boss. So much has been written about the great elephant matriarchs, strong leaders who sleep hardly at all to protect their herd.

The notion of a baby girl elephant’s natural instincts taking hold, making her the leader and caretaker long before her time is due reminds me of stories of young girls with countless siblings — too many for mom to manage — or even orphan girls with young brothers and sisters who suddenly rise to positions of leadership, almost out of instinct.

Lupita Nyong'o Narrates Award-Winning 'My Africa' Virtual Reality Film For Elephant Conservation

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Lupita Nyong'o Narrates Award-Winning 'My Africa' Virtual Reality Film For Elephant Conservation

A virtual reality film ‘My Africa’, narrated by Oscar-winning film star Lupita Nyong’o and supported by The Tiffany & Co. Foundation, is among the winners of the annual Jackson Hole Science Media Awards.

The nine-minute film won top honors in the Virtual Reality/360° Storytelling category for “effectively using 360 technology and resources to advance an appreciation or understanding of a scientific discipline, discovery or principle.”

The film which was commissioned by Global environmental organization Conservation International which supports community-led wildlife conservation in Northern Kenya —is available in 7 languages including English, French, Mandarin, Portuguese, Samburu, Spanish and Swahili.

Directed by David Allen, the project was captured with virtual reality cameras in the Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy in Samburu County of northern Kenya at the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary, the first elephant orphanage in Africa owned and operated by the local community. In a region where conservation has traditionally been pursued by outsiders, Reteti — and the surrounding conservancy organization, Northern Rangelands Trust — offer a model grounded in local leadership and traditional knowledge, explains Creative Planet Network.

LOEWE Works With Kenya's Samburu Women On Elephant Bag For The Elephant Crisis Fund

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LOEWE Works With Kenya's Samburu Women On Elephant Bag For The Elephant Crisis Fund

LOEWE and Knot On My Planet joins forces today to launch a limited edition collection of their iconic Elephant Mini Bag in tan, in support of the Elephant Crisis Fund (ECF)—a joint initiative between Save The Elephants (STE) and WCN, in partnership with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.

Knot On My Planet is closely associated with supermodel Doutzen Kroes, who hasbecome one of the loudest voices in elephant conservation, whose mission is to put an end to the ivory crisis and elephant extinction. When Kroes first visited Samburu, Kenya, and interacted with the elephant population there, she said she knew she needed to take action in the form of a long-term commitment to protecting severely-threatened elephants in Africa.  

Luxury Safari Glamping In Kenya's Olare Mara Kempinski Masai Mara Resort

Image: Olare Mara Kempinski Masai Mara in Kenya

Image: Olare Mara Kempinski Masai Mara in Kenya

The South China Morning Post drops down in East Africa Sunday, making stops to update readers about the plight of big game animals generally and elephants in particular. We'll chart their stops this week and not in order.

Chris Dwyer takes us six hours west of Nairobi by car to a landmark project within the Maasai eco-sstem, crossing Kenya's southern border with Tanzania. For several years conservationists have worked with local communities to limit cattle grazing on grasslands owned by the private 35,000-acre Olare Motorogi Conservancy, run in partnership with the Maasai people. Today the land hosts several exclusive camps including one owned by Sir Richard Branson, and less expensive lodging as well. The collaboration operating in the conservancy protects many of the world's most extraordinary animals and offers a consistent income and livelihoods for the Maasai landowners. 

Kenya has been ambitious in promoting the positive economic benefits to developing tourism and saving some of the most precious animals to walk the earth, as an alternative to working as scouts or even killers of these animals for money. Not only does the Maasai community prosper, but the animals keep the tourism developing into the future. This project has one of the highest lion densities in Africa. 

Image: Olare Mara Kempinski Masai Mara in Kenya

Image: Olare Mara Kempinski Masai Mara in Kenya

Dwyer writes: "The latest aerial census by the Kenya Wildlife Service suggests Kenya’s elephant population has increased recently, thanks in part to stringent anti-poaching measures. But when taken in the context of the overall population decline, from an estimated 167,000 animals in 1979 to 38,000 last year, the figures remain sobering."

Our writer then checks into the Olare Mara Kempinski Masai Mara resort, a camp of 12 luxury tents, swimming pool and lounge bar. I've picked some images from the resort's website, one's that remind me of the inspiration behind our GlamTribal collection and my own strong physical and unconscious connection to East Africa. 

Image: Olare Mara Kempinski Masai Mara in Kenya

Image: Olare Mara Kempinski Masai Mara in Kenya

GlamTribal is also committed to elephant conservation and The Kibera School for Girls (see website) in Nairobi, donating 10% of our sales to these two complimentary endeavors.  Considering that elephants are a matriarchal social organization and educating girls is one of the most important efforts to support peace and stable political institutions -- as well as sound economic development on the planet --  reaching adventurers who support these goals is key to our GlamTribal strategy. 

Image: Olare Mara Kempinski Masai Mara in Kenya

Image: Olare Mara Kempinski Masai Mara in Kenya

For the vast majority of us who cannot afford such a splendid experience of staying at Olare Mara Kempinski Masai Mara, we can always dream a bit through the GlamTribal experience.  To inspire your night visions, I share three pendant necklaces using our GlamTribal studio-made, featherweight beads of elephants, giraffes and our very special map of East Africa bead.  Enjoy the read and the wearing! ~ Anne