Funds will go to…

It is important to know that unlike many foundations, the administration of the Great Plains Foundation is taken up by our commercial arm as a donation to the effort, so 100% of any raised money goes straight through to the field and to projects on the ground.


Wildlife in Africa is under siege and without rock solid protection it will disappear. We are presently forming a The Tusk Force, a US Navy SEAL trained team of a hand picked group of men from the Botswana Defence Force and Wildlife Department to be anti-poaching specialists. The initial budget is $5M. Why Botswana? We want to invest in success. Botswana has some of the lowest poaching rates in Africa. However, we also have 1/3 of all the elephants on the continent and with our efforts, we want to grow the rhino population. To do that we need the best anti-poaching forces on the continent or we will become a honeypot for poachers.

We need:
• drones, surveilance light aircraft
• funds for a region wide anti poaching information network, sanctioned by our Department of Wildlife and we are trying to raise funds for that initiative. (Poachers often strike in one country and operate with immunity in the next. This SADAC region effort has to be a private/government partnership,
• equipment (binoculars, uniforms, radios)

Species Introductions

Rhinos are being poached at such an alarming rate in South Africa that we have been offered rhinos by private land owners for free, provided we can collect, transport and protect them. We can. We’ve got ideal habitat in our protected areas in Botswana, and we’ve got the present-day Botswana Defence Force and the future Tusk Force at our disposal.

Our goal is to move 100 rhinos in the next 24 months and use Botswana’s large reserves as the continent’s Noah’s Ark for rhinos. Our mission is to protect this seed population well, demonstrate an effective anti-poaching strategy and return offspring to South Africa and surrounding countries should anti-poaching strategies be effectively employed continent-wide. The budget for this project is $4M and it includes tranquilizer drugs, veterinary services, transport and appropriate translocation processes.

Community Education

Conservation in Africa cannot function without community involvement and uptake. As a result, an anticipated 20% of our funding will go to education, community capacity-building, conservation lectures and film screenings in communities, and conservation camps. In Botswana, we have a great team of people working with the villages that border the conservation areas of the Okavango Delta. In Kenya, we work closely with the Endinyo Erinka School and community to increase access to education and empower women.

Land for Lions

Hunting has been banned in Botswana, at last. The weakness of the effort may be that the future land use, (eco tourism) in marginal areas now shot out, may take a long time to establish. If we do not acquire the leases on this land, hunters will lobby to reopen hunting. We have offered support to government to convert this land, and the staff that were once employed there from hunting to non-hunting, to protect the land against poaching and occupation by livestock herders.

Lions need land. They need hidden places not always prime savannahs to breed, to roam as nomads and as a reservoir for their now dwindling numbers.

Great Plains Foundation is reaching out to supporters to help fund the leases, and rehabilitation of land and wildlife on these parcels of ex hunting land.

A lease costs us roughly $250,000 to service for a year. We can acquire leases for 15 years, enough time to rehabilitate and grow wildlife numbers. We believe that within 3 years new styled eco tourism will take over the income and sustainability of the land.

There is around 44 million acres of land in Africa on which lions roam that is unprotected or under hunting management. 60% of the remaining 20-30,000 lions live under no protection at all on this land. Land for Lions is the first step in securing this position.

The Rotlhe Trust

Land for Lions acquired land will be placed in a Trust, owned and run by the community and entirely by citizens of Botswana. It will receive land under lease, and convert hunting camps and ex hunting staff to photographic eco tourism. Staff will be trained and integrated into the existing eco tourism job market – one which is always looking for trained capable staff. Camps from existing companies that need refurbishing will be donated to the Trust, for initial operation in the lower end market for training and exposure. Occupation of the land will aid anti poaching and protection. Any sales and revenues go to the Trust and recycled into new land. Great Plains Conservation will lend marketing, and administrative facilities to the Trust until it is of a size that it can self sustain.

We are seeking seed funding of $1M and Great Plains Conservation will be allocating 4% of its profits to this efforts from any new properties it acquires as a part of its on-going budget and conservation effort, to get it going. Great Plains Foundation is appealing to other Botswana companies to similarly support with annuity (percentage of profits) funding, and donation of older assets.

Big Cats Caring for Communities Project

How do we get communities that live closest to wildlife to actually care enough not to kill it? Well this project is one way. We show people that wildlife cares for them. Conservationists are often accused of caring more about animals than people, and there is a great divide coming between indigenous people and those who want to save wild animals. Big Cats Caring for Communities Project, reaches out to communities living closest and does a number of things:

• It says, healthy people are better conservationists, so we educate on HIV/Aids and how to increase health,
• Runs a conservation camp, for kids, chosen from the lowest income lowest education families, (those most likely to be from poacher parents) and take thme to Great Plains Camps each year to teach conservation, caring and about our natural world.
• Lectures at schools, reaching out to over 4,000 kids in the disctrict. • Developing sister school programs between kids at low achieving schools in the villages of Botswana and some interested schools in the USA (Gudikwe school is matched with a school in Manhatten.)
• Reducing the dependancy on poaching, but introducing skills and crafts that also send a signal that we, as conservationists care about our communities: the future castodians of the wild.

This project costs $45,000 a year and we would like to expand that to our sister projects in Kenya.

Predator work in Kenya

Maasai warriors are very proud of their cattle, and should a lion attack any of the herd, then the only reasonable solution in their estimation is a retaliatory spearing of lions in the region. The country has lost the vast majority of its lions in this manner, and while considered cultural, it is simply not an aspect of Maasai culture that can continue unabated. Various methods have been put into action to try to ameliorate these predator/livestock conflicts, but only some are effective. Through our Big Cats Initiative with National Geographic, we’ve funded the building of stronger fences, community education and anti-poaching strategies whereby 250 game scouts patrol 2,000,000 acres of land. However, one method has been particularly effective – compensation payments. Maasai, who lose their cattle to wildlife, then receive a compensation payment for the loss. Thorough investigations are made following a stock loss, and payment is made at market rates. It is well-proven method also recently adopted by the Botswana Government. Since compensation was adopted seven years ago in Kenya, the average annual loss of lions has dropped from approximately 40 to under five. The budget for compensation is presently $25,000 a month, without which the inevitable killing will start up again.

Maasai Olympics

Young warriors in the Amboseli-Tsavo area are becoming committed to lion conservation but they have an innate desire to compete. Traditionally, that was by hunting a lion. We are attempting to redirect that into formal organised field and track sports and last year (2012) we ran the first Maasai Olympics. It was a huge success. Maasai groups instead competed against each other to high-jump, Maasai-style on the spot; throw spears (javelins); run 5000m; throw their traditional rungu at targets; and sprint 200m.

The rewards for the Maasai, other than finding potential mates, include sponsorship to train in Kenya's high-altitude training camp of Eldoret and then compete in the New York Marathon, win educational scholarships, a stud bull, and to meet their heroes and fellow Maasai David Rudisha, Billy Konchellah and Ruth Waithera Nganga. Instead of hunting for lions these Maasai are competing for trophies of a very different sort, bringing respect, pride and esteem. This event is the culmination of an entire year’s worth of activities and intense education, conducted in partnership with The Big Life Foundation, to alter the ethos of an entire culture. The annual budget for this series of events and education is $100,000.

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