Category Archives: Volunteering

Pilot Coral Restoration takes off

Tiwi River, South Coast, Kenya

Hello, my name is Nadia and I am volunteering with the EAWST. Every day for the past two weeks the EAWST, Camp Kenya and The Leap gap year volunteers have collaborated to help rescue a dying coral reef off the coast of Diani Beach.  Depending on when the tides were low, we would set out to sea anytime from 6am to noon to the same site each day to combat the overgrowth of seaweed and urchins, which have been spreading like wildfire. El Nino, a climate pattern that happens around every five years bringing warmer waters, has had detrimental effects on the reef causing the seaweed to grow in abundance smothering the reef and preventing exposure to sunlight which is essential for it to live and thrive.

The volunteers and I spent a few hours a day in the warm, turquoise waters working to clean the coral reef, pulling out the seaweed and killing urchins, which have infested the site since they feed on seaweed, in hopes to promote growth of the reef which would, in turn, brings back sea life that had flourished here before El Nino. The first few days out there the only sign of life we noticed was the sea weed solely. Even the urchins weren’t visible, although we soon found them nestled between the seaweed and deeply embedded within the crevices of the coral.We put together a short underwater video which you can watch below:

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/DHDkiRcxEwI" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

All it took was a few days of hard work, albeit in the relentless sun, to witness an abundance of sea life beginning to show itself! From the third day onward we noted so many species of colorful fish, snake eels, starfish, octopuses and we were even lucky to see a pod of 20 or so bottlenose dolphins (who make their way inside the reef on uncommon occasions). We couldn’t believe we were in the same place! The reef has proved to be so resilient, and it was truly amazing to see an almost immediate improvement made by our own hands.

South Coast Diani, Kenya

Papa Pata Pata!

My name is Dipesh Pabari and its great to be able to have the opportunity to be blogging on the WildlifeDirect platform having worked in the Nairobi office for several months. Over the last few months, my wife, Elodie and I have been assisting a little bit at the Colobus Trust  so being the blogaholic I am, I have been in full blog mode down the road from the East Africa Whale Shark Trust as well as at Camps International where I am now working on lots of different exciting projects.

Can’t tell you how happy my family and I are to be back on the Coast especially Diani. For small town people like us it’s perfect and finally I have learned where north and south are (only because Diani is a one street town going north or south! :)). More importantly, I am finally doing exactly what I have always wanted to be doing – working within a responsible business framework that cares for the people, the environment and the wildlife that it depends upon…

Enough of me…

Aside from all the other exciting projects that Camp Kenya is involved with this summer, one of the most exciting funky little projects we have initiated is building a life size whale shark out of recycled flipflops picked off the beaches here! Yup!

And here’s the proof…

First we had to do a lot of wiring to make the frame which an amazing local artist called Benson literally got his hands tied up all in for three days!

Once it was done we had not quite figured out how we were going to get it to our beach camp. Alas, the old landcruiser had to prove herself!

Alas, he arrived well and unharmed to his new mother, Fadhili who is an old friend and accomplice in creating funky marine art from recycled beach debris…

Fadhili and I met a few years ago when we did the first ever life size minke whale from recycled flipflops. It was quite ambitious but we had a lot of support from the World Society for the Protection of Animals, Camp Kenya, Global Vision International, Watamu Turtle Watch, UniquEco and hundreds of local school children across the Kenyan coast who helped pick over 15,000 flipflops and countless bags of rubbish in less than two months.  BBC and a number of other media houses loved the story. You can watch the first BBC feature by clicking HERE

Mfalme (above) was built as our contribution to a global campaign against whaling but stood for so much and really put us on the map as having people who genuinely care for our environment. We hope that Papa Pata Pata will make people from all over the world realize how precious and misunderstood whale sharks are…

Dipesh Pabari
Camps International