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For the Future

Bridging the gap between communities and wildlife, the Big Life Foundation is the ideal partner for the newly opened Angama Amboseli
Above: Big Life rangers monitor an elephant in Amboseli

I am often asked what Angama does to conserve the wild spaces that we are so lucky to operate in. My first response is always that we are not a conservation company, but rather a company that supports conservation. While there are many ways in which we play our part, we feel the best way we can contribute is by supporting organisations whose primary focus and expertise is conservation.

Just as we have the Mara Conservancy to guide us in the Mara ecosystem, we now have the Big Life Foundation in Amboseli, where we are set to open our new lodge in November 2023. Big Life protects over 1.6 million acres of wilderness in the Amboseli-Tsavo-Kilimanjaro ecosystem and is a beacon of hope in what was once a dire situation. Rampant ivory poaching in 2008–2013 coupled with intense human-wildlife conflict meant that the sustainability and diversity of the entire ecosystem was in critical danger not so long ago.

Conservation starts with strong community relationships
Rangers undergo intense physical training to be prepared for anything

Since its inception in 2010, Big Life has worked tirelessly in partnership with local communities to protect and conserve nature for the benefit of all. As Craig Millar, COO of Big Life puts it, they are trying to imagine 'a world where conservation supports the people and people support conservation'. Big Life manages the beautiful but also critically important oasis that is Kimana Sanctuary (the home of Angama Amboseli), on behalf of the 844 Maasai family members who have owned the land through generations.

Mount Kilimanjaro keeping watch over Kimana Sanctuary
A few of Kimana's many delightful inhabitants
And some of its most notable

Lease fees paid by Angama flow to these families via Big Life, ensuring that a centuries-old migratory path used by the region’s famous elephants and other wildlife will continue to be protected as a wildlife sanctuary, rather than being turned into farmland or used for other income-generating means that are not conducive to wildlife. By providing the much-needed additional funding, Angama aims to bolster Big Life’s efforts in making the Amboseli ecosystem work for all the stakeholders — from the giant elephants to the small school-going children and everybody and everything in between.

‘Kimana Sanctuary is that rare and special place, a wild space that can stand up to the economics driving habitat loss across Africa — and thrive. This partnership with Angama delivers a long-term sustainable use-case that can and will protect this critically important wildlife habitat,’ said Richard Bonham, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Big Life. ‘This is also a clear example for conservationists and philanthropists worldwide that where wildlife thrives, tourism will follow and we are equally excited for what this means for the landowners and their families’.

Big Life rangers cover a huge amount of ground each day
Anti-poaching canine units are most active in high-risk areas
Big Life are also able to provide aerial support when needed

Big Life is the first organisation in East Africa with coordinated anti-poaching teams operating on both sides of the Kenya-Tanzania border. Safeguarding such a vast area requires immense dedication and manpower. Over the years, Big Life has trained over 340 rangers — some of whom have won awards. These rangers work around the clock to protect some of the world’s most iconic species and their habitats and we are exceptionally proud to be able to support them in their work.

So, when people ask what Angama does to conserve the wild spaces we are so fortunate to call home, I tell them that we delight and spoil our guests. It is only by doing so that we are able to support incredible organisations like the Mara Conservancy and the Big Life Foundation, whose sole purpose is to ensure the safety and preservation of the land, animals and people that we all love.

Notes from the Editor:

Special thanks to the Big Life Foundation and every individual involved in their tireless efforts toward conservation and keeping this beautiful part of Kenya safe for all. We thank them for the beautiful photographs and for allowing us to share their story as we enter this new chapter together.

Filed under: Stories from Amboseli

Tagged with:

Amboseli , Angama Foundation , Conservation , Wildlife Protection

About: Charlotte Ross Stewart

Charlotte may be the youngest member of the team, but she is a storyteller wise beyond her years. Tasked with sharing the stories that flow out of Angama on social media, blogs and beyond, her love of people, literature and nature make this the perfect role for her.

Browse all articles by Charlotte Ross Stewart Meet the angama team

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