Help us protect African forests the size of Wales
“An area the size of Wales…” – it’s often used to describe how quickly forests are being destroyed. The ‘Size of Wales’ project turns that on its head by helping to protect an area of forest in Africa and South America the size of Wales!
Elias Kimaru works for WWF in the Kwale county of Kenya. His work is supported through the Size of Wales initiative, which is helping to protect tropical forests the size of a small country. Find out the latest from the field in Elias' blog, or read on for details of the project...
Beautiful, precious and under threat
With its elephants, monkeys and antelopes, the forests of coastal East Africa couldn’t be more different to the sheep-grazed hills of Wales. Yet their future could rest on the generosity of the Welsh public.
The WWF project under the “Size of Wales” focuses on highly threatened coastal forests in Kenya. As well as the forests themselves the area of focus includes a mix of savannah, grassland and wetlands, with many animals and plants found nowhere else in the world.
Coastal forests in East Africa are home to precious wildlife such as the bushbaby, sunbird and plants like the African violet. Photos from automatic ‘camera traps’ in one of the forest areas – Boni-Dodori in northern Kenya – revealed baboons, leopards and lions, as well what is now thought to be the world's largest known population of Aders' duiker, a very rare small forest antelope. Conservationists have also discovered a potentially new species of giant sengi, otherwise known as an elephant-shrew, in the same area.
For local people the coastal forests are hugely important as a sustainable source of fuel, food, building materials and medicine. Some forests, known as Kayas, are regarded and legally recognised as being sacred.
Yet these areas are under serious threat. Many coastal forests across the region have already been destroyed and in Kenya only small fragments of these habitats remain.
Why the forests need Welsh support
Your donation will enable WWF to help protect these threatened forests, defending their wildlife and offering the people who depend on them a brighter future.
We’re working to protect Kenyan coastal forests from illegal logging, planting tens of thousands of tree seedlings, lobbying for land ownership rights for local people and supporting sustainable livelihoods.
The WWF Kwale Landscape project in Kenya has resulted in the planting of over 400,000 tree seedlings and established sustainable projects to help local families earn an extra income, including through ecotourism, tree nurseries, microfinance initiatives and sale of honey and herbal products .
For this work to continue we’re heavily dependent on the money raised through WWF’s partnership with Size of Wales – that means the people and wildlife of the coastal forests of East Africa really need the Welsh people to support them in the years ahead.