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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animals, Environment, Natural Resources Conservation & Protection, Protection of Endangered Species, Wildlife Preservation & Protection

Mission: Using innovative conservation strategies and collaborating closely with local communities, partner NGOs, national parks and government agencies, Big Life Foundation seeks to protect and sustain East Africa’s wild lands and wildlife, including one of the greatest populations of elephants left in East Africa. The first organization in East Africa that has coordinated anti-poaching teams operating on both sides of the Kenya-Tanzania border, Big Life recognizes that sustainable conservation can only be achieved through a community-based collaborative approach, which is at the heart of Big Life’s philosophy : Conservation supports the people and people support conservation. Big Life’s vision is to establish a successful holistic conservation model in Amboseli-Tsavo that can be replicated across the African continent.

Results: KENYA * In Kenya, approximately 220 rangers are spread across 22 permanent outposts, four mobile units, one Rapid Response Unit (RRU) and two permanent observation posts covering roughly 1,678,000 acres (425,000 hectares). In 2014, Big Life rangers patrolled just over 100,000 kms by vehicle and 93,722 kms on foot. As a result, they dealt a number of crimes ranging from poaching to habitat destruction to community crimes. In total, there were 539 people arrested for 185 incidents. 804 poaching or habitat destruction tools were impounded: 166 snares, 18 poisoned arrows, 98 bullets and two guns. In addition to the tools, one rhino horn, five pieces of ivory, more than 550 woodcarving pieces, and 92 kgs of bhang (marijuana) were also confiscated. TANZANIA * Big Life Tanzania, operating through its partner Honeyguide Foundation, works across critical ecosystems of northern Tanzania, focusing on five community conservation areas or Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs): Enduimet, Lake Natron, Manyara Ranch, Randilen, and Burunge. Across the WMAs, Big Life, Honeyguide and partners employ and/or manage 139 local community rangers to monitor and protect wildlife. These rangers operate out of nine outposts and mobile units, covering more than 5,000 square kilometers. Community rangers, in 2014, arrested 100 people for poaching (trophy and bush-meat), habitat destruction, and community crimes resulting in the confiscation of 80 poaching related items. Of the 45 bush-meat arrests, ostrich eggs and zebra meat were the most common, with 16 and 13 incidents respectively. Other primary targets include gazelle, giraffe, bushbuck, eland, and wildebeest. MAASAI OLYMPICS * The second Maasai Olympics was held in 2014 thanks to a number of supporting organizations. Maasai Olympics athletes compete for medals, not lions, and received huge international attention. It is Big Life’s hope to harness this success and build an interim program that will help promote conservation education and provide an alternative to lion hunting. Maasai tribes historically identify leaders and demonstrate bravery through lion hunts, but there are simply not enough lions left for the tradition to continue. PREDATOR COMPENSATION FUND * In 2003, in response to an imminent – and virtually certain – threat of local lion extinction, Maasailand Preservation Trust (MPT), in close collaboration with the local community, conceived a first-of-its-kind predator compensation programme. The intention was to better balance the costs and benefits of living with wildlife and thereby replace conflict and retaliation with tolerance and cohabitation. This novel conservation strategy remains one of the most far-reaching and effective projects yet conceived by MPT, the first project of its kind implemented in Maasailand. Predator compensation, due to its unmatched success, now operates on two neighbouring group ranches.

Target demographics: To protect and sustain East Africa’s wild lands and wildlife, including one of the greatest populations of elephants left in the region.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Endangered East African wildlife including elephants and rhinos. Local East African indigenous communities.

Geographic areas served: Africa (Kenya & Tanzania)

Programs: Anti-Poaching Rangers, Rhino Project, Predator Compensation, Dogs Save Elephants, Community Employment, Education, Conservation Through Sports

Community Stories

31 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I have followed the progress of this organization for a few years now. Rarely have I seen a group of people so committed or so effective. Big Life has cut through all the usual conservation rhetoric and developed ingenious and creative ways of taking action. The area they manage is now a secure haven for wildlife as well as a place where the local community benefits. The people are empowered and are now willing custodians of the natural treasures around them. I have been fortunate enough to visit the Big Life HQ and hear from the people on the ground. They are a truly inspiring, courageous and determined group of individuals.

CindyPeach

Donor

Rating: 5

For 6 years did my husband and I patiently wait to attend a photo exhibition of Nick Brandt, co-founder of Big Life Foundation. First, to see Brandt's trilogy "ON THIS EARTH, A SHADOW FALLS ACROSS THE RAVAGED LAND" in Ulm, Germany then to Paris for his latest collection "INHERIT THE DUST", we are fully charged with anticipation!
Not only is Nick Brandt my artist of choice, director of the Michael Jackson "Earth Song" video and does he personally answer E-mails...he's a God-send whose life-changing work shatters one's ignorance...particularly, this latest collection in which he photographs his life-size images of African wildlife in their former natural settings now transformed beyond their habitation.
Together with Big Life co-founder Richard Bonham and their team of Rangers, they are the first organization in East Africa of coordinated anti-poaching teams operating on both sides of the Kenya-Tanzania border.
Peace,
Cindy Barg
Artist

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have followed the success 0f BIG LIFE on line seeing their outstanding work and success stories in reducing the poaching nightmare within their area of operations. I was fortunate on two visits to meet the staff as well as several game scouts/rangers on the job as well as witness the coordinated efforts to treat wounded animals. The warrior class now competes with each other athletically in the Maasai Olympics rather than spearing lions to prove their prowess and bravery. I know of no other NGO as effective in dealing with poaching and human wildlife conflict.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Huge Kudos to BLF - this last year you have once again led the battle against poaching from the front..... Its a war that will still take time to win - sustained interaction with communities and vigilant protection will get us there.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Big Life are showing the way forward to conservation in Africa - I greatly admire their tireless dedication, enthusiasm and passion. keep up the amazing work.

Donor

Rating: 5

I visited the headquarters of Big Life twice in 2013, and heard from their conservation staff about their programs to protect lions and elephants by passing tourist revenue on to the community, through employment, education, and incentives for co-existing peacefully with animals. I was very impressed by their work, and have supported them in developing a partnership with Oakland Zoo.

They are my heroes in conservation work!

Board Member

Rating: 5

Big Life generates the largest impact, dollar for dollar, out of any Africa wildlife based non profit. i found this to be true for two main reasons: 1) the passion and quality of their management and staff 2) the impact of their innovative programs like Predator Compensation Fund and Maasai Olympics.
The platform they have created works and now needs to spread to cover more territory in more countries.

Donor

Rating: 5

This organization is not only doing great work, but very important work. I encourage everyone I know to contribute and support Big Life.

Kristin70

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I hold this organization close to my heart as it continues to exceed my expectations with the work it does for something I feel so passionately about.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a regular donor and fundraiser for Big Life's programs since 2010. On several occasions, I have been pleased to learn my contributions were put to work in the field within days of receipt and helped provide supplies that allowed the rangers to catch bad guys. I have never worked with an organization that put my money to work so quickly. I also love reading the Bush and Big Life News on their website to learn more about their challenges and success stories.

Donor

Rating: 5

Such an important NGO, doing vital work on the front line in Africa.
I support their work because they do what they say and they get results.