Happy New Year!!!
We are looking forward to a new year, and hope you are as well! We just wanted to let our supporters know what 2017 brought and our plans for 2018!
In 2017 we had a very promising first year! We got our 501(c)3 status (this means donations to us or through us are tax deductible). We started our support of the Olderkesi Conservancy in Kenya by supplying a drone for anti-poaching and illegal grazing surveillance, a night vision camera, and a unimog vehicle to Cottar's Wildlife Conservation Trust for use by the Olderkesi Conservancy. This unimog needs a little TLC which we'll address later!
Additionally, we sponsored a female Maasai wildlife guide named Nabiki "Lucy" Takona. We met Lucy in February of 2017 and were impressed by her savvy, charm, and skills. We offered to sponsor her pay for a year if the prestigious Cottar's 1920's Camp would take her on as a guide while she completed additional training. They agreed and Lucy has been winning hearts and minds with guests of the camp and building up her knowledge base. She is about to embark on a new training program in order to be ready to complete a more ambitious level of guide certification, the Silver Level, which will help stand her in good stead the rest of her career. She was also profiled on the NPR website just a few months ago!
Creatura also branched out into offering safaris and we took our first group early in the year. We went to three different camps in Kenya and had an incredible experience. We even saw the EXTREMELY rare pangolin on our travels! We also took a private client on our first foray into the Congo, where we offered a deluxe helicopter safari around Virunga and got a chance to see both Highland and Lowland Gorillas! (You can find out more about our safari opportunities here or just drop me a note- I'd love to talk to you about it!) We are now part of the Long Run organization which is a group of travel operators, camps, and lodges that adhere to a strict standard in eco-sustainable practices as well as supporting local communities.
Rounding out the year we donated some money to a new project, Hoja Nueva, located in the Amazon jungle Peru. Hoja Nueva is a new project run by some very drive, super intelligent folk who are not only help create a low to nonimpact sustainable agriculture business for the locals (shade grown cacao crops) but are long term leasing land buffers to protect forests and the inhabitants within. Our donation was earmarked towards land acquisition.
Lastly, I opened Creatura House, a for profit art gallery/home decor boutique at the end of December. This business if to create a way for me to make an income as I don't take any money from Creatura Wildlife Projects, and also a way to steer some profit from Creatura House into Creatura Wildlife Projects. Although synergistic, these are two separate entries. Money allocated for Creatura Wildlife Projects can not be used for Creatura House, although Creatura House will donate a portion of profit to Creatura Wildlife Projects. If you are in Seattle definitely look us up!
For the NEW YEAR- we are about to embark on a fundraiser for our unimog. Lovingly dubbed "Kiboko"- Swahili for "Hippo", this massive transport vehicle is just the thing needed in far flung places such as the wild country of Kenya as it can transverse any terrain. The unimog will be used as a mobile ranger station to assist Olderkesi wildlife rangers monitor illegal poaching actives, as well as a community ambulance (there are none now!) and an injured wildlife transport! However- we need a little help getting Kiboko cleaned up and kitted out. We'll be starting a fundraising program within a month so keep your eyes peeled- the great news is that we have a matching donor, so your donation will go twice as far should you choose to be part of the project!
Again, a MASSIVE thank you to everyone who supported Creatura Wildlife Projects this year and here's to many more years of saving us some planet!
~ Kirsten Anderson