On a dry, sunny day in 2016, Patrick Kilonzo Mwalua from Kenya was visiting Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary. Kenya at that time was extremely dry, with hardly any rainfall throughout the year. Sometimes it rained in patches, but much more was needed. Patrick, while wandering around, came across a buffalo sniffing an empty hole trying to find water. But there was none. The look in the animal’s eyes was etched upon Patrick’s heart forever.
Talking to the warden of Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, Patrick learnt that drought has had such a devastating effect on the forest that its animals often have to survive for days without water.
Talking to The Logical Indian, Patrick said, “This particular sight affected me so much that the same day, I went back to where I lived, hired a truck with my own money and carried a good amount of water to the sanctuary. I had to travel about 70 km to reach the forest.”
From that day onwards, Patrick from Taita County has not stopped. Every day, he travels 70 km to Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, Tsavo West National Park and LUMO Community Wildlife Sanctuary, quenching the thirst of scores of animals.
Patrick’s love for wildlife
“Around five people help me in my work. Sometimes there are other volunteers as well, and the forest rangers often accompany us. Before I began this work, I have worked for the welfare of animals for 16 years. I and few others would patrol around Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, removing snares put up by poachers. Poaching was another problem in those days, but now it has significantly reduced. Drought is the animals’ worst enemy now,” said 46-year-old Patrick.
Patrick loves wildlife. He loves spending time in the woods, and sightings of animals brighten up his eyes. Immense satisfaction overwhelms him every time he sees buffaloes, antelopes or elephants drinking the water he so affectionately provides them with.
“I was born in a rural area of Kenya, and I have grown up with lots of animals around me. I would go to graze my father’s cattle in the woods and come across various animals. As I grew up, I could see the number of these animals reduce every day. The woods are not the same anymore now. This created a strong desire in me to grow up and do something to conserve the creatures who have as much right to share the earth’s resources as we have. I never considered them any different from us humans. In fact, they are much more innocent and better at heart than all of us,” Patrick said.
Patrick has founded an organization called Mwalua Wildlife Trust which aims at working towards sustainable water solutions for human and wildlife communities in the Tsavo ecosystem, Kenya. The three-member team is striving to promote human-wildlife coexistence, and creating strategies for water management to supply water to wildlife in their habitats.
Raising awareness about conservation by working together with various communities, they promote ecological restoration and increase ethical economic opportunities with the intention to protect Kenya’s nature and biodiversity.
“Nature occupies a huge space in my heart. The work I do gives me a feeling which money cannot buy. I want nothing more than to see the future generations embrace wildlife, love animals and protect nature. I always imagine what I would go through if I do not get water to drink for even half a day, and I develop a greater passion to help the animals. We must do our bit to conserve these beautiful creatures for the next generations to see them and feel their presence. Let us all be responsible, and restore and replenish nature, and nature will be there for us in return. The earth needs us,” Patrick said.
Indeed, the world is a beautiful place and everyone needs to do their bit to protect it. The Logical Indian appreciates Patrick Kilonzo Mwalua for his selfless service to nature.