THE STORY SO FAR
I'm raising £4,000 to complete the journey I started in March - to Help Daniel Fly.
As some of you will know, this is my second round of crowd-funding for this amazing cause. I'm so grateful to the 64 people who have already donated generously and helped us raise £4,200. We're halfway there! But to arrive at the final goal, to HELP DANIEL FLY, we need to re-ignite the effort.
I’m delighted to report that after a lengthy visa application process, Daniel landed in Birmingham Airport on Saturday 12th August and the dream is coming true!
I met Daniel 13 years ago when he was just a boy. His father had been killed by a buffalo in a community where human and wildlife conflict is commonplace. Despite this, Daniel made the amazing decision to grow up protecting wild animals instead of killing them.
Now, at 26, he wants to encourage people from his community to do the same. Daniel also wants to become the first bush pilot from his community to fly solo over Tsavo protecting wild animals.
In April, I went to Kenya to film Daniel's journey so far from "poacher's son to conservationist". I learned that without his mentor, Rob, his journey might have been a very different one.
Rob Dodson was Daniel's colleague and friend, helping him fulfil his flying dream. But Rob tragically passed away in March 2017, so the plans to send Daniel for flight training in South Africa were put on hold and we came up with a fresh plan - to train him in the UK.
Rob believed in investing in the community for the future of wildlife. He also believed in gyrocopters as 'the eyes in the sky' that help rangers work more efficiently and safely. And that is why he invested so much in Daniel.
The gyrocopter is an new tool in the frontline of conservation, combing speed and efficiency with short take-off and landing on rough strips, excellent all-round visibility and the ability to come to a virtual hover, helping spotters cover huge amounts of territory and directing ground crews in 4WD vehicles.
Daniel is currently working as a co-pilot at the Rukinga Wildlife Sanctuary in Tsavo. With your help, we can help fulfil Daniel's dream to train as a gyrocopter pilot and allow Rob's legacy at Rukinga to live on.
The shortfall of £4,000 is what Daniel needs for his pilot's training here in the UK with The Gyrocopter Experience in York. The Gyrocopter Experience have given amazing support already (including 10 hours' free training) so this is a real team effort.
Daniel has already attended Eldoret Aviation Training Institute and studied Aeronautical Engineering for three years. During his holidays and breaks, he returned home and assisted at the Wildlife Works hangar, servicing and repairing the anti-poaching gyros. When time allowed, he would build his co-pilot hours. He also attended a Rotax Line Maintenance Training Course in 2014. What he needs now is 40 hours of pilot training and he'll have made the amazing transition from personal wildlife tragedy to conservation ambassador.
For an African boy from the dusty plains of Tsavo, I think this is an inspiring story. Here's your chance to help him on the final leg of this incredible journey. You can help direct how the story ends. Please donate and Help Daniel Fly.
Where will the money go?
All the money raised is going towards getting Daniel his gyrocopter pilot's licence:
- Deposit for gyrocopter course 250
- UK visa 200
- Flight Kenya-UK rtn. 875
- Flight training (min.) 4,735
- Extra flying hrs (20%) 894
- York accommodation 750
- Food & drink 360
- UK transport 200
- Clothing, headset, books, etc 200
- Sub-total 8,464
- Raised so far (4,500)
- Balance needed 3,964
I have some rewards to thank everyone who donates, whatever the amount you might give. Check them out.HELP US SUCCEED!
You can share Daniel's video from this link http://bit.ly/2vaDDfz
You don't only need to give money to help Daniel succeed! Please share this project with anyone you think will support him via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, email, telephone, in a chat over the fence or on your blog. In fact, share it with everyone you know as we think this is a great opportunity, and the more people who know about it, the more likely we are to make this work out brilliantly.
A bit about me
I'm an environmentalist. Not in the sense that I'm an academic expert, but in that I'm concerned about our planet and especially the future of wildlife and the habitats that support them. I'm completing a Masters in Wildlife Film-Making at UWE in Bristol. I live in Somerset and have volunteered for the Somerset Wildlife Trust on butterfly surveys and mammal migration corridors in the Mendip Hills, and previously worked at the Soil Association in organic food certification.
Originally from Kenya, I moved to the UK in 2010 after a 12 year career in wildlife conservation. Working for Wildlife Works and the Born Free Foundation, I came to see the importance not only of focussing on the species for their own sake, but also on conserving the habitats necessary for their survival. This led me to the overlooked area of human-wildlife conflict and the stories of the people who live with wildlife every day and must become the conservationists of the future.
I've worked with communities involved in poaching, charcoal-burning and the bushmeat trade to find ways to engage them in conservation, which is a challenging issue considering the high levels of poverty and reliance on consumptive utilisation as a source of food and income.
The course at UWE has helped me capture the essence of storytelling. I'm learning how big issues such as human-willdlife conflict can be communicated to the general public through personal narratives such as Daniel's.
In my upcoming film, I document Daniel's determined journey through poverty and tragedy - as well as luck.