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The East African Wildlife Society : Conservation is our concern
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The East African Wild Life Society (EAWLS) is a not-for-profit NGO and membership society, committed to conservation and the wise use of nature. Established in 1961, EAWLS incorporates members of the wildlife societies of Kenya and Tanzania, along with Ugandan conservation enthusiasts. Together members from the three countries decry the extinction of both wildlife species and their habitats.

The East African region is fraught with numerous environmental problems such as deforestation, loss of biodiversity and habitat, pollution, invasive species, expansion of mono cultural crops, high population growth, and poverty. Inappropriate land use policies and over exploitation of resources have caused severe environmental degradation. In seeking solutions to the problems facing the region, it is important to address the underlying causes and not just their symptoms. This is the background against which the EAWLS was formed.

The mission of EAWLS is "to promote conservation and the wise use of the environment in East Africa." In order to realise this mission, the EAWLS works in close collaboration with like-minded Non-Governmental Organizations and local communities, institutions within government and intergovernmental agencies in programmes such as Endangered Species Conservation, Forests and Water Catchments Conservation, Wetlands Conservation, Marine and Coastal Resources Conservation, Community Wildlife Conservation, Conservation Education and Advocacy, Natural Resource Policy Review, Grassroots Institutional Capacity Enhancement, and Forums: including Kenya Marine Forum, Taita Taveta Wildlife Forum, Kenya Wetlands Forum etc and also Field Project Support.

The objectives of the EAWLS are to:

• Influence policy and legislative reviews and reforms through advocacy and lobbying.

• Facilitate popular stakeholder support through research, education and awareness creation, networking and communicating.

• Promote and facilitate community conservation initiatives at different biomes that enhance ecological and livelihood systems.

The EAWLS History

Through out the 1980s, the EAWLS used advocacy and publicity effectively as weapons to fight against the rampant poaching affecting the region. The society played a major role in initiatives undertaken for the conservation of elephants, and the establishment of rhino sanctuaries in Kenya. Donations helped fund rhino sanctuaries in the Aberdares, Lake Nakuru and Ngulia in Tsavo West. These sanctuaries have helped build rhino numbers in Kenya, now estimated at 500.

The EAWLS also campaigned strongly for an international ban on ivory trading. After the ban was enforced in 1989, ivory prices dropped dramatically and ivory poaching throughout Africa declined. The EAWLS will continue to support the ban until such time we are sure that a continued ivory trade will not cause a resumption of massive poaching as previously witnessed.

During this time, the EAWLS was also instrumental in advocating for the establishment of a quasi government institution to run national parks and reserves in Kenya. This effort resulted into the establishment of the Kenya Wildlife Service.


Through the years, the EAWLS has been the recipient of a range of awards in conservation. These include:

• Environmental Leadership Award 2005, presented to Mr. Hadley Becha (Deputy Director; Head of Programmes) by the East African Environment Network in recognition and appreciation of his outstanding contribution to environmental conservation in Eastern Africa.

• 1st Prize Peter Jenkins Award for conservation writing, presented to Dr. Imre Loefler, Chairman EAWLS, March 2005 for his written contributions in support of conservation.

• Buffet Award for Leadership in African Conservation, December 2004, presented to Mr. Ali Kaka (Executive Director) by the National Geographic Society of Kenya.

• Silver Award Winner 2004, presented to the Kenya Forest Working Group (an EAWLS Sub-Committee) by the Total Eco Challenge, in recognition of information dissemination with regard to trees and forests.

Currently, the EAWLS is seen as a leader in building the capacities of Community Based Organizations in conservation. The main aim is to enable these organizations to mobilize funds and resources, and have the necessary technical skills and organizational capacity to effectively manage natural resources in their respective areas. The Society provides a forum for the regional community to understand how to achieve sustainable environmental management and community benefits from wildlife and the environment.


The most important component of the organisation, membership to the EAWLS is open to all persons who support its objectives. Members include individuals and organizations that are proud to give something back to the environment. Membership is valid for one year. Over the past forty years, EAWLS members have invested more than 2 million dollars in over 1000 conservation projects through out East Africa.

Some of the benefits of joining the EAWLS include: Certificates of recognition for our corporate members, Free entry to the EAWLS monthly talks, free access to the library, 10% discount on all the unique items offered at the EAWLS gift shop, free updates on conservation issues through our informative monthly e-newsletter, up to 4 copies of our world renowned conservation magazine, Swara, and an opportunity to partner and participate with us in fulfilling our vision which is "working towards an East Africa where all people can enjoy the full diversity, beauty and richness of nature".

Membership boosts the EAWLS status as a respected conservation body representing a wide spectrum of conservation stakeholders, many of who have initiated conservation programmes. The EAWLS capacity to embark on campaigns to halt forest excisions and unsustainable development projects in wetlands in Kenya is strengthened by increased membership.

Information Exchange Platform

The EAWLS holds talks on the second Thursday of each month. These talks are a mixture of discussions and film shows presented by versed speakers from different fields. Conservation issues are discussed and members/participants have a chance to question and debate them. These forums are very popular and are open to all. The talks are not restricted to conservationists and all stakeholders whose activities have a direct or indirect impact on the environment are welcome to participate. Technocrats such as agronomists, industrialists, economists and socialists also participate in the talks and try to strike a balance between conservation and development.

Projects and Sub Committees

The EAWLS started running hands-on projects in the early 1990s. The conservation projects are implemented within East Africa with special emphasis on Kenya. The EAWLS has also established sub-committees for undertaking special tasks.

Some of the projects are long term (two to four years) while others are one-off activities and may be as short as one-day workshops. Different donors fund some projects in phases whereas others are collaborative, involving the EAWLS and other organizations. Some projects have run their term while others are still in the development stage. These projects have made major contributions to the conservation of nature in the region. For more information on past and present projects, please visit

Gift Shop

The EAWLS runs a gift shop that offers unique merchandise such as baskets, jewellery, sculptures, carvings, paintings, cards and clothes from different communities involved in our conservation programmes. Also available, are emblazoned articles such as glasses, T-shirts and badges; all proceeds from here are channelled towards various conservation projects. This a great avenue through which the EAWLS promotes conservation by selling products made from recycled materials and raw materials such as hyacinth and elephant dung, thus reducing over reliance on forest products. Members of the EAWLS get a 10% discount on all goods purchased.


The EAWLS library is stocked with a wide collection of both written and audio-visual materials. It offers an expansive variety of books and reports on wildlife, our environment, nature magazines, and research theses, reports on on-going projects as well as wildlife videotapes and films. Also in stock, are videos by world-renowned wildlife film producers on topical issues of interest to conservators and members of the public. The library offers free research access and subsidised rental services to members.


The EAWLS boasts three highly rated regular publications. These are:

Swara Magazine: This quarterly wildlife and conservation magazine enjoys global readership, and is recognized as among the best wildlife magazines in the world, and certainly the best in the region.

African Journal of Ecology: Another quarterly publication that compiles results of scientific research papers and comprehensive reviews, which make a significant contribution to the ecology of the African flora and fauna. Published for EAWLS by Blackwell Publications, AJE is recognized worldwide as an authoritative research journal. A monthly e-newsletter that informs members on Society activities, especially the on-going projects and provides a forum to express their views and opinions on topical issues in the region.

The EAWLS also participates in addressing emerging issues concerning the environment.

The East African Wildlife Society has been at the forefront of conservation of wildlife species and their habitats, fighting the forces that threaten to bring imbalances to our ecosystems. By becoming a member of this auspicious organization, one is able to participate in the battle to safeguard our environment and its resources for our benefit, and the benefit of future generations.


If you would like to join the EAWLS and help support conservation in East Africa, log onto and fill out the membership form on the secure EAWLS website'