Westonbirt pupils learn about endangered wildlife from the team at Ol Pejeta Conservancy
On Monday, Westonbirt School were pleased to invite the team from Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Domenica Dryer, Fundraising Manager, and Eva Kimani, Project Development Liaison, to Westonbirt for the first time. They inspired pupils with their work in Kenya and plans are currently being developed to invite pupils to visit the conservancy in the next few years.
Ol Pejeta is the largest black rhino sanctuary in East and Central Africa and is home to the world’s two last remaining northern white rhinos – who live under 24-hour surveillance. Ol Pejeta protects other wildlife populations in the reservation including the ‘Big Five’; elephants, lions, leopards, buffalos, and rhinos; as well as smaller endangered species like the African wild dogs, cheetahs and oryx, Grevy’s zebras, beisa oryx, and Jackson’s hartebeests. The conservancy is also home to orphaned and abused chimpanzees who take refuge in their 300-acre chimpanzee sanctuary.
One of the purposes of this trip was to introduce the Year 10 and 11 students to the work of Ol Pejeta and to build on the partnership between the conservancy and Westonbirt School; with service trips currently being planned for the year 2025. Domenica and Eva presented to the students and discussed the difficulties and challenges they face day-to-day out in the field, how the charity integrates with the local community and builds community resilience, and the importance of wildlife conservation for our planet. For the students, it was an eye-opening experience with the exciting possibility of seeing the conservancy in ‘real life’.
Future service trips to Ol Pejeta will allow the students a behind-the-scenes experience with rhinos and other wildlife, a chance to work with the anti-poaching squad and meet their trained working dogs, among other once in a lifetime experiences. The trip will be in line with their studies and classroom topics, but with the added opportunity for the students to experience, hands-on, wildlife conservation, understand different cultures and gain a wide host of skills and knowledge about the world around them as they progress into their future careers.