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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

54 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Jane Michaelides-Smith

Donor

Rating: 5

I’ve been a supporter of Big Life for almost five years now & will continue as a lifelong supporter. They have proven to be successful in all aspects of true conservation. I consider Big Life to be a model to all involved in the interest of helping protect all wildlife, habitats, as well as educate and support surrounding communities.

Barbara M.

Donor

Rating: 5

We've supported Big Life Foundation for many years--they are simply one of the best organizations working to protect African wildlife.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a Big Life donor for several years, and I’m continually impressed by the breadth of work they do. Big Life has done an incredible job of raising awareness about the fate of elephants and the illicit trading of ivory. Not only does Big Life combat poaching of elephants by putting “boots on the ground”, but they also work with community members to comprehend the economic value of these fragile creatures. I respect Big Life’s collaborative approach, which helps the communities understand the “big picture” of why it’s important to sustain their environment, in order to sustain themselves. Additionally, Big Life provides hundreds of jobs, and enables children to have access to education through scholarships and partnerships with schools. I’m confident my donations are making a difference. We can’t let the elephant suffer the same fate as the rhino!

Alana G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My family has been a big supporter of Big Life for a few years now and will continue to donate!

Big Life is doing an incredible job at not only protecting the African wildlife but also educating people on the effects of poaching.


Tricia30

Donor

Rating: 5

The Big Life Foundation's successful "feet-on-the-ground" work cannot be replaced. They do great work protecting vulnerable wildlife. Their rangers do work that few people are willing to do. Big Life's mission to find win/win solutions for the communities are one of the elements I value most. They are a phenomenal nonprofit !

Donor

Rating: 5

.... Our planet needs conservationists and healers who hold for a brighter future. Our role as ELEPHANT advocates is to bring the great guardians to centerstage, to engage and fight for this amazing species. Our responsibility is vast yet the reward is everlasting❤️

Margaret89

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a monthly donor to Big Life Foundation for several years. They stepped up when the African elephant poaching was out of control and established teams to patrol in the Kenya Amboseli region and also in Tanzania. They have never faltered in doing all they can to keep elephants safe. They continue to expand their role in helping other animals and also helping the humans who live in the same areas with these animals, plus going after poachers to bring them to justice. I don't want to think about what could have happened to the wildlife if Big Life Foundation hadn't been formed.

1 Barry T.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Big Life's vision is based on an elegantly simple circlular concept. By supporting the local Maasai communities with jobs that support Big Life's conservation effort, providing educational scholarships for the Massai children and offering health care services to the Maasai communities, the communities in turn will support conservation. As a result of Big Life's work the Maasai people they realize that if the poaching and killing of wildlife continues they will be the ones to suffer; their jobs and all of the services that Big Life provides as will all of the tourist who visit this vast Amboseli Kilimanjaro ecosystem will completely disappear. This model deserves to be replicated throughout Africa. It has been extremely successful - it works. And that's why my wife and I support Big Life in a big way.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I was on a mission to find the most effective model in conservation to ensure that my financial and volunteer contributions got the most mileage possible.... after passing on many, I found Big Life. I visited opperations during my diligence and was convinced. In the following years, they have continued to navigate the incredible challanges of conservation with class and efficiency. The world need Big Life.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Amazing nonprofit. Huge impact. My #1 place to donate and support!

Donor

Rating: 5

We have been to east Africa twice so far with plans to continue to visit this wonderful and vast area which holds such spectacular wildlife. In our two previous visits to Africa, it was obvious that the awe-inspiring work that Big Life does on a continuing basis to protect elephants and other wildlife and their habitat while taking measures to minimize human-wildlife conflict is without precedent!

The Big Life Foundation is absolutely critical to the well-being of African elephants and other wildlife. Without their intervention and vigilance to stop poaching and maintain habitat, I am convinced that we would soon see the complete collapse of the elephant population.

My wife and I continue to provide funding to the Big Life Foundation so their dedicated personnel on the ground in Africa can continue to do the hard, but necessary work to preserve these special animals.

Previous Stories

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

I have been donating and loving BIG LIFE for years. They are the only agency that truly tries to get the poachers, have dedicated rangers and training programs, as well as committed interaction with the communities. Almost all (if not all) the donations go directly to the program. Both Nick Brandt and Richard Bonham have been protecting these wonderful elephants for many years and in many ways. Having had first hand experience working with elephants in South Africa, I cannot emphasize enough how necessary and wonderful the work that they are doing for all of us. Five stars are not enough for their fabulous dedication and hard work

PaulPatricia

Donor

Rating: 5

Big Life foundation protects the endangered species in East Africa. The poaching has decreased with their program on the involvement of local communities and paroling the Kenya-Tanzania borders. They are a model for their multi layer approach to protect conservation. They are to be commended for the work they do. Our wild life is precious. The community involvement gives the people pride in their land and animals.

Previous Stories

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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

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!