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Big Life Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

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

Mission: Our Mission: On the ground in East Africa, partnering with communities for the benefit of all. Big Life uses 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 with 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 the Amboseli-Tsavo-Kilimanjaro ecosystem that can be replicated across the African continent.

Results: Approximately 350 field staff, including 250 trained rangers, are spread across more than 40 permanent outposts, mobile units (including a Rapid Deployment Unit) and observation posts covering roughly 2M acres of wilderness. Big Life also employs aerial surveillance and uses tracker dogs to patrol within our area of operation. Since 2011, Big Life rangers have patrolled nearly 2M km of wilderness, making over 2,400 arrests and confiscating over 3,500 poaching tools. In 2016, Big Life rangers patrolled over 232,000 km by vehicle and nearly 79,000 km on foot. As a result, they dealt with a number of crimes ranging from poaching to habitat destruction to community crimes. In total, there were 243 people arrested for 119 incidents. Nearly 500 poaching or habitat destruction tools were impounded, including 113 snares, 58 arrows, 50 machetes, etc. In addition to the tools, 410 kg of ivory, 8 animals skins, and 5 kg of marijuana were also confiscated. MAASAI OLYMPICS The third biennial Maasai Olympics was held in December 2016, in which local Maasai athletes compete for medals, not lions. Maasai tribes historically identify leaders and demonstrate bravery through lion hunts, but there are simply not enough lions left for the tradition to continue. This competition promotes conservation education and provides a viable cultural alternative to lion hunting.

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: East Africa (Kenya & Tanzania)

Programs: Anti-Poaching Rangers, Human-Wildlife Conflict Mitigation, Rhino Project, Predator Compensation Fund, Tracker Dogs, Community Employment, Education and Scholarships, Conservation Through Sports (Maasai Olympics)

Community Stories

42 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

My wife and I just returned from safari in Kenya/Tanzania, and we heard a lot about how the poaching situation is getting better. Early on, Big Life was mentioned and we told our safari guide that we knew all about Big Life and had been sending contributions for several years now. It was so gratifying to be in the parks and hear about all the good that’s happening.As part of our tour, we had the pleasure of visiting the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and meeting one of the little elephant orphans we’ve been sponsoring. Again, Big Life was talked about as a lifesaver for so many of the little elephants living there.Toward the end of our journey we had the wonderful George Kamonde as our safari director. George, also, talked to us about the hazards the animals face and mentioned Big Life as one of the great organizations that was saving animals and combating poaching. When we told him we knew all about Big Life, he was thrilled and told us that he had been one of the guys to take Nick Brandt out on safari. He also told us we needed to visit the Big Life office and tour the area. Next time – it’s on our list!We all make contributions to needs/projects that are near and dear to our hearts; but often you never get to really see the difference your money makes. It was immensely satisfying to see some of the areas where Big Life is working, see some of the animals Big Life has saved, and hear from the people on the ground about the progress that’s being made.We wish BLF all the best and are so pleased to be a small part of their work.

Donor

Rating: 5

Big Life Foundation has granted me the opportunity to help protect amazing animals such as the African Elephant from poaching through donations. I wish I had the opportunity to be onsite to provide assistance with park protection, park ecological remediation and any other tasks that need to be done to provide protection and conservation to the elephant population. I believe Big Life Foundation is working very hard to save and protect rare and priceless animals. Moreover, I believe very strongly in the work Big Life foundation is conducting and I will continue to provide donations to aid their efforts.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love Big Life! They do such great work to help wildlife and local communities in East Africa.

Donor

Rating: 5

I support Big Life because of their tangible, on-the-ground programs in East Africa. Big Life is the model for protecting Africa’s incredible wildlife through the engagement of local communities. They undertake a long-term, multilayered approach to conservation, which makes them a joy to donate to. Keep up the good work!

- George Hatcher

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The work Big Life does is critical and will decide if our kids and grandkids have the great fortune to live in a world with wild elephants, big cats, rhinos and other iconic African wildlife. We're all connected and what happens in Africa will write our story across the planet.

Donor

Rating: 5

96 elephants a day across Africa are killed for their ivory. At that rate, we have maybe 12 or so years left of wild elephants in Africa. Last year, Big Life only lost one elephant to poachers in their area of operation. That's an incredible success rate! And only the tip of the iceberg of their programs protecting lions, rhino and other critical wildlife, all done in collaboration with the local community. Cannot recommend Big Life enough.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

While every NGO prides itself on laudable goals, too few can pride distinguish themselves by their means in the way Big Life can.

By empowering local communities to find self-interest in conservation, Big Life succeeds in building the real local support that best preserves a lasting legacy.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Passion for conservation, innovative practices, educating the local people and public. bolstering the communities in which they work. Those are the characteristics that attracted me to Big Life and I am never disappointed. Thank you Big Life, the difference you make, makes all the difference in the world!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I admire the hard and efficient work Big Life is doing. Keep it up.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Meaningful and innovative work being done locally and internationally to protect the large animals of Africa. Big Life works diligently to seek solutions to conflicts presented by an expanding modernity and the needs of the natural world.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

What an amazing foundation. Not only to they save and conserve wild animals but they boost the local communities at the same time!

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.