Kakamega Rainforest in Western Kenya is home of almost 400 species of endemic birds like the Great Blue Turaco (pic enclosed) and the little Blueheaded Bee Eater, rare animals, trees and plants. The rainforest is much endangered by a rapidly growing rural population picking firewood and medical plants and also logging hard wood.
This rainforest has been very popular by birders and eco-tourists from all over the world, because with the help from KEEP jungle guides it has been easy to watch also the very rare birds.
Last winter there were severe election violence in Western Kenya. But all that time the rainforest area was totaly calm with no incidents at all. Instead people came there to find peace, and the jungle guides arranged safehouses for foreigners. Now peace has returned to Western Kenya. But international media has ”forgotten” to tell that Kakamega Rainforest is calm and safe for tourists, and has allways been.
So today the birders and eco-tourists are afraid going there. The local conservation organisation KEEP have financed much of its work with fees from visitors. No money means that the population around begins picking firewood and medical plants in the forest again. And with no guides and tourist groups out in the forest the illegal loggers could start their stealing of valuable hardwood again.
During the years the habitats of many endemic birds in Kakamega Rainforest has shrunk to a critical level. If the habitats get still smaller many species could not survive.
-The only way to save the birds is to get the tourists back, says KEEP chairman Benjamin Okalo. Then KEEP can afford to start the conservation work again.
You could learn more about Kakamega Rainforest from documentary films on www.youtube.com/euromessage
More information about the situation today could be obtained from Benjamin Okalo, jungle guide and chairman of KEEP, Kakamega Environmental Educational Program, mobile 0735610095 or email email@example.com