Zoo Chat

Beautiful Beads: Kenyan wildlife have suffered significant declines due to habitat loss, poaching, human-wildlife conflict and competition with livestock.

Beautiful Beads: Kenyan wildlife have suffered significant declines due to habitat loss, poaching, human-wildlife conflict and competition with livestock.

Beads for Wildlife is a project that supports the people in northern Kenya living side-by-side with wildlife. Since 2012, Taronga Western Plains Zoo has been involved in the Beads for Wildlife project, which aims to provide an alternate income to livestock reducing the pressure on natural resources such as food and water for wildlife.

Kenyan wildlife have suffered significant declines due to habitat loss, poaching, human-wildlife conflict and competition with livestock. In fact, wildlife populations across Kenya’s rangelands have declined by an average of 68 per cent in the past 40 years.

In this same time, livestock has increased by an average of 76 per cent and now has a biomass eight times greater than native wildlife.

The benefits of the Beads for Wildlife program are threefold having cultural, financial and environmental benefits.

There is now 1352 women in 135 self-governed women’s groups across nine of the Northern Rangelands Trust conservancies that participate in the program.

All the revenue generated by the beads products goes as direct income to the beaders themselves.

The Beads for Wildlife program diversifies income in rural areas, income that would otherwise be generated from environmentally unsustainable means such as charcoal burning, cattle herding and hunting.

Many of the beaders are former charcoal sellers – an industry that is devastating the last remaining forested areas of northern Kenya.

Over the past year Taronga Western Plains Zoo and Taronga Zoo have sold almost 13,000 Beads for Wildlife products. All profits of this campaign go to the beaders themselves.

By supporting this income stream, we can empower women as earners and help to relieve human-induced pressures on Kenya's wildlife such as poaching and charcoal burning. 

Visit www.zooshop.taronga.org.au/product/beads-wildlife-bracelet. Help make a difference and improve the lives of Kenya's people and wildlife by purchasing these hand crafted multi colour beaded bracelets.