Sacramento Zoo education specialist Chris Llewellyn joined the second national census of the endangered Grevy’s zebra and reticulated giraffe in Africa, called the Great Grevy’s Rally. The census teams are made up of citizen scientists, conservationists, national and county governments, scientists, local conservancies, and NGO’s. Chris is taking us with her on this conservation journey and will share her experiences with us along the way.
Visit the Zebra Rally webpage for all the days and more photos!
Day 8 – January 30
Chris began the day by meeting Grevy’s Zebra Scouts. Together they traveled out to the Naibelibeli plains and learned how the scouts collect data and then participated in data collection. She finally got to see some Grevy’s zebra!
In the afternoon she went to Ngutuk Ongiron where she and her group visited a manyatta (local settlement) to see how the Samburu people live, and to learn more about their culture. This was a unique opportunity where they got to ask questions and gain insight into the incredibly rich and vibrant traditions of the Samburu.
Day 9 – January 31
The focus of day nine was a visit to the Samburu National Reserve where she experienced the incredible and unique wildlife of northern Kenya.
Day 10 – February 1
On day 10 Chris met the Grass Guardians. They are a team of school-age children who are herders that champion rangeland restoration efforts in Westgate Conservancy. They showed off the tools being used to heal rangelands and how to herd livestock. The children enjoyed all the gifts brought to them by Chris and other, including some zebra swag from the Sacramento Zoo. Chris also had the eye-opening opportunity to explain to the children what a zoo is and why zoo’s, like the Sacramento Zoo, are doing so much to help Grevy’s zebra and their local communities.
Other highlights of the day included a field visit to learn about how the Grevy’s Zebra Trust is restoring native rangelands. Warriors from Westgate for the Samburu Olympics also stopped by and offered opportunities for everyone to try spear throwing, rungu (club) throwing and jumping.
Day 11 – February 2
Time to head home. Chris had an amazing experience and learned a lot but was ready to head home (where she had access to running water).
“I learned so much while in Africa and will forever be humbled by the experiences I had and people that I met during the Great Grevy’s Rally,” said Chris. “I am amazed at the ways in which the Grevy’s Zebra Trust is saving Grevy’s zebra and their habitat through partnerships with the local communities.”
As a longtime supporter of the Grevy’s Zebra Trust the Sacramento Zoo is proud of the work that they are accomplishing, and we are grateful to play a role in saving Grevy’s zebra from extinction.
Back Home – February 8
After a long journey back home Chris reflects on the rewarding experience of being part of zebra conservation in Kenya. She appreciates clean running water the most and is glad to be back with her dog and the comforts of home. If you want to get more involved, save the date for the Great Grevy’s Rally in 2020!
Thanks so much to Chris for taking us along with her and visit the Great Grevy’s Rally for the results in early summer!