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Tegan – Wildlife Hero

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Recently we received an email from Tegan’s mum letting us know nine year old Tegan wished to raise funds for Chengeta using JustGiving, a website which allows individuals to create a fundraising campaign for their chosen charity. We registered Chengeta on JustGiving and Tegan set to work.

She created her campaign page on JustGiving and notified her family and friends she wished for donations to help wildlife instead of gifts for Christmas and her birthday on December 26th. Her goal was £500. Tegan donated her own savings and inspired 32 donations worth £645.46 or USD $762.13!

Thank you Tegan! Your selfless work will save lots of wildlife. You are a hero and we hope you had a wonderful Christmas and birthday!

View Tegan’s fundraiser or start your own on


LisaTegan – Wildlife Hero
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An Amazing Gift

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In January, 2016 I was alerted to the below question on My answer follows.

Screenshot (336)

Answer by Lisa Groeneweg

*Edit Nov. 2016. – Everyone at Chengeta Wildlife thanks Brent Noorda for the donation of $100,000! We will use it well. Thanks to Leonid S. Knyshov for the A2A and thanks to everyone who voted for Chengeta. Brent went strictly by the upvotes so you made this happen for Chengeta! Go team!

Our nonprofit is a perfect example of democratic philanthropy! It was created and is run by scrappy volunteers from all over the world who saw a problem, created a solution and put it into action.

In November 2013, I read a Quora answer that ripped at my heart. It was Rory Young’s answer about elephant graveyards and poachers poisoning a watering hole and killing hundreds of elephants and many other species of wildlife. After learning more about the explosion of wildlife poaching across Africa, I sent Rory a message asking what I could do to help his efforts against this slaughter.

We discussed what was needed and many Quora friends and fans of Rory joined our cause immediately. Volunteers created our logo and other graphics, drafted by-laws, built a website, designed infographics, donated artwork, created fundraising videos, installed a board of directors, held bake sales and so much more. You can read about our efforts on our first blog, Quorans For A Cause. We quickly began to raise funds to get the necessary anti-poaching training to Park Rangers who protect wildlife – Rory’s specialty. In our short history we have raised over $132k together! At the start some doubters thought raising $5k would be a stretch – hah! :)

On February 25th, 2014, Rory and I officially co-founded Chengeta Wildlife, a non-profit based in my home state of Iowa. In the Shona language Chengeta means “to look after or take care of.”

The problem.

  1. Two rangers are killed each week in the line of duty. These men and women are usually extremely knowledgeable about the flora and fauna of the parks, but now as the last line of defense between their ecological heritage and heavily armed poachers, they also need the skills and knowledge necessary to safely arrest heavily armed criminals.
  2. Armed militias and international crime syndicates have become heavily involved in trafficking wildlife products, attracted by the relatively easy money to be made. Rhino horn has a higher street value than gold or cocaine.
  3. Currently an elephant is killed every 15 minutes and a rhino every 8 hours. Experts caution that these keystone species will become extinct in the wild within 10 years if the killing continues at the current rate!
  4. Stripping the land of critical wildlife is devastating to the environment.

A light at the end of the tunnel?

  1. The world is becoming aware of the poaching catastrophe.
  2. The main markets for poached ivory and rhino horn are becoming educated about the blood price that is paid for their ivory trinkets. Billions of dollars have been spent on advertising this information in China. Demand has reportedly fallen a bit.
  3. We must protect the remaining wildlife (and rangers) until this madness is controlled.

We have a scalable solution.

  1. Our proven successful anti-poaching ranger training program is in high demand because it works!
  2. During live operations in Nkhotakota, a protected area in Malawi, our trained rangers under Rory’s guidance, arrested 81 poachers in just 12 days!
  3. The arrests continue after our trainers leave because the rangers have learned everything needed to continue planning and executing successful operations.
  4. The rangers don’t require drones or other expensive equipment to be successful. We give them all they need to achieve success using their most powerful weapon; their brain!
  5. We select the best and brightest rangers to receive additional education so they become the next anti-poaching trainers for their department making our program self sustaining. We create no dependence upon our organization.

Our training has been implemented in four countries so far with many more asking for our help. We have trained United Nations rangers in Guinea. A portion of that training was underwritten by the European Union. In fact, as I write this, Rory is training another group of UN rangers in Guinea.

Chengeta Wildlife is staffed by volunteers. So far all overhead expenses have been covered by board members so 100% of public donations go directly to the ranger training program! Our work has been supported by donations made by individuals from over 26 countries! We are extremely frugal with our limited funds. We wring every last bit of good from each penny donated.

Your support would mean everything to many passionate people who are giving this fight their all, especially Rory and the other brave rangers who are risking their very lives.

LisaAn Amazing Gift
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Chengeta Gets Drafted

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Joe Chernov and Drafted, a Boston startup, tipped us well over Ellen Vrana’s $10,000 matching funds offer with a $4k donation!

Joe Chernov

Joe Chernov, Chengeta Wildlife’s Beautifully Bearded Board Member

Joe recommended a friend for a job using the Drafted app, the friend was hired, Joe turned his Drafted reward over to Chengeta and we use it to save endangered elephants. How sweet is that?!Drafted

Learn more about Drafted in this Boston Globe article: Drafted app dangles big money for persuading your friends to switch jobs

Chengeta supporters passionate about our fight against wildlife poaching find many ways to contribute – cupcake sales, artwork donations, job referral rewards, $10k matching funds offers and the list goes on, Chengeta supporters are THE BEST!

Donations of all sizes welcomed here: You don’t have to wear a cape to be a hero.

LisaChengeta Gets Drafted
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July Updates

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Check out that lovely progress bar. Chengeta supporters are the best!

Just $1,975 more in donations until our matching funds are fully utilized. That will bring our total to $38,467! Our best campaign to date: You don’t have to wear a cape to be a hero

Rory Young has completed our second training session in Mali.

RORY: “I wouldn’t be achieving anything without all the sacrifice and support of the Chengeta team and supporters. These are “our” achievements, not “my” achievements!”

Unfortunately Rory became very ill with gastroenteritis and malaria the day before he was to fly home to his family. After IV meds and fluids he was able to leave a couple of days later than scheduled, but it will take some time for him to fully recover. The sacrifices made by Rory and his family are many.

Of course he makes light of it:

RORY: “Unfortunately, the recent BBC report on the earth-shattering finding (in my world) from Ethiopia to the effect that the smell of live chickens deters mosquitoes arrived too late for me.

I managed to go down with a bout of Malaria, nicely followed up by the dreaded lurgy (sometimes known as gastroenteritis). Other members of the noble poultry family, the quacks, have advised me that there is still more evil lurking within and have advised further blood sucking in order to identify this last member of this fowl trinity.

Whilst dwelling on my misery (and making the most whilst it last of every drop of sympathy I can winge out of my beloved) I am seriously considering entering future anti poaching missions with a chicken on my shoulder and a cork in my pocket…”

This was the first time we worked with Matt Croucher in the field. We are excited to continue partnering with him and his non-profit, Action Against Poaching. Can you imagine the logistics necessary to get his dummy/training mines and IED’s onto flights to Mali?

FROM RORY:In ops C-IED and Anti-Mine Training in Mali with Matt Croucher GC.

Rangers in Mali need to know how to spot and deal with mines and IED’s to keep themselves, the community and the Elephants alive.

WILD Foundation are partnered with Chengeta Wildlife and Action Against Poaching providing in-ops training to the Malian Anti Poaching Brigade in intelligent and responsible methods.

This is possibly the most dangerous anti-poaching mission in the world. Rangers not only have to deal with attacks by poachers but also by terrorists and bandits, using IED’s, landmines, heavy machine guns, rocket propelled grenades. Last month one ranger was burned alive and his colleague shot outside their home whilst on down time.

Despite all if this, the answer still comes down to community. The reasonable man. So far the Elephants have survived thanks to WILD Foundation’s intelligent work with the communities. The rangers and other armed forces provide the necessary support to deal with the criminal and terrorist elements threatening both the communities and the Elephants they are striving to protect.

A model for all of Africa. Intelligent Anti-poaching.”

The photos in this post are courtesy of Angie Ra, (pictured above) a filmmaker documenting our Mali work and the work of rangers protecting wildlife across Africa. Angie’s Facebook page: “Boots on The Ground”

LisaJuly Updates
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Why I’m Choosing Chengeta Wildlife

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In an age of many endangered and declining species, all rightly deserving of our concern and protection, it’s difficult to know where my contribution will have the greatest impact.

LisaWhy I’m Choosing Chengeta Wildlife
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E is for Elephant – Eeeeeee! is for Ellen

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Yippee! Ellen Vrana has pledged to match the next $10,000 donations to Chengeta Wildlife! An anonymous donor will also match the next $10k and William Mccleary will match the next $2,000!

If you donate $100, Ellen + $100, Anon + $100 and William + $100 = $400

Ben Fraser has donated the first $100 eligible for the matching funds offer, taking us from $5,581 to $5,981. Thanks Ben.

I’ll calculate the matching funds each evening and update the progress bar. I can’t wait to see the results!

EDIT: Vishwanath Ram and Melissa Stroud just donated $50! Woot woot!

This is what it is all about.facebook cover8

And this…Eles-in-Matusadona

LisaE is for Elephant – Eeeeeee! is for Ellen
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Military Hero Matthew Croucher to Save Wildlife

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What does Britain’s most highly decorated living Royal Marine do with the education and skills gained during his exemplary years in the military?

Matthew Croucher GC protects endangered African wildlife. He recently co-founded, Action Against Poaching (AAP), a non profit organisation offering direct and proactive support to Anti-Poaching initiatives in Africa.

Matt has asked to join Chengeta Wildlife anti-poaching specialist, Rory Young, for an upcoming ranger training session,

“It will give me the opportunity to see what Chengeta is achieving first hand and where we could potentially assist.”

Collaboration with AAP could be a game changer for Chengeta. Other ex-military specialists Matt plans to bring into AAP could facilitate getting Chengeta’s proven anti-poaching training to more wildlife rangers who are facing armed poachers without the proper skills.

From Rory Young, “I am honoured to be able to work with such a man and excited to have him contribute to our training.”

More about Matthew Croucher from Wikipedia:

Lance Corporal Matthew Croucher GC, VR  (born in 1983) is a member of the Royal Marines Reserve and a recipient of the George Cross, the highest British and Commonwealth medal for gallantry not in the face of the enemy, for his extreme valour in risking his life to safeguard the lives of his comrades.

Croucher was recommended for the award for throwing himself  on a Taliban tripwire grenade to save his comrades. He was part of a reconnaissance mission near Sangin in Helmand Province in Afghanistan.

On 9 February 2008 whilst moving through a compound at night he felt a trip-wire against his leg and saw that he had activated a grenade. He threw himself to the ground and used his rucksack to pin the grenade to the floor and tucked his legs up to his body. He was thrown some distance by the explosion, but due to the protection offered by his rucksack and body-armour, suffered only a nose-bleed, perforated ear drums and some disorientation. The pack was ripped from his back by the explosion, and his body armour and helmet were pitted by grenade fragments. Of the other three members of his patrol, the rear man managed to take cover by retreating round the corner of a building; the patrol commander threw himself to ground, and received a superficial face wound from a grenade fragment; and the final team member did not have time to react, and remained on his feet, and would have been within the lethal range of the grenade but for Croucher’s action. The explosion breached a large lithium battery which was in Croucher’s pack to power the patrol’s electronic countermeasures equipment, causing it to burst into flames. A medic recommended that he be evacuated, but he insisted on continuing as the members of the patrol realised Taliban fighters would probably come to investigate the explosion, and this would give the marines the opportunity to ambush them.

Croucher was presented with the GC by Queen Elizabeth II at a ceremony in Buckingham Palace on 30 October 2008. Croucher is one of only 22 living recipients of the medal of which only 406 have been awarded.

Matt is standing directly behind HRH Queen Elizabeth II

LisaMilitary Hero Matthew Croucher to Save Wildlife
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Bryan Cockel explains how elephants use infrasound

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“Infra” or low frequency sound are frequencies below 20 Hz, the threshold of average human hearing. Many animals – mostly large ones – use infrasound to communicate over long distances because it travels further than higher frequencies. For example, blue whales – the largest animal – communicate over hundreds of miles and are the “loudest” animal in the world (“loud” being amplitude or the strength of the signal) – but they do so in the 10-30 Hz range similar to elephants, so we can’t hear them “yelling”.

In regards to localizing (higher frequency) sound, elephants most likely use the same system all animals use, which is that there is a very small time delay between the arrival of the sound to each ear because they are different distances from the source. Some animals like barn owls also have their left/right ear openings offset so that they can triangulate (three dimensions) a sound source, typically a rodent, with near perfect accuracy in total darkness.

But….elephants also use another aspect of low frequency sound to “hear”, which has to do with the tendency of low frequency sound to vibrate solids and liquids (simply look at a large speaker diaphragm or a glass of water when bass notes are played and you’ll see them vibrate). Careful observation by field scientists combined with GPS tracking and directional technology sensitive to low frequency sound indicate elephants can “hear” through their feet, that is, sense low frequency ground vibrations of the “elephant frequency” – elephants do not have hard hooves like horses or buffalo, but large, skin covered pads on the bottom of their feet. It has also been observed that elephants tend to orient their bodies in the direction of their “foot hearing”, which may mean they are using the distance separating their front/back/left right feet like they, and other animals, use their left/right ears to discriminate the directional source of the sound.

I have seen what I believe to have been elephants “listening” to low frequency sounds more than once in Africa: the herd suddenly stopping what they are doing as a group, exactly as if they were listening to something (which I could not hear), but not lifting their trunks or looking in the same direction, or flaring their ears, which would suggest a smell/sight/higher frequency stimulus.

Below, anatomy of an elephant’s foot. Unlike horses or buffalo, elephants have a skin covered pad on the bottom of their foot, under which is a pad of fat and connective tissue that may help to amplify low frequency sound “heard” through their feet.elephantfoot

chengetawildlife@gmail.comBryan Cockel explains how elephants use infrasound
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Celebrating Two Years of Non-stop Action!

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boston3 (2)Rory Young, exactly two years ago I first messaged you asking if I could help your efforts to fight the explosion of poaching that was wiping out wildlife in Africa. You accepted my offer immediately and just three months later we co-founded Chengeta Wildlife.

Thank you for opening my eyes to the horror you were facing and giving those of us far away from the front lines a way to take action.

Your intelligence, integrity, fortitude and overall badassery never cease to amaze. It’s been an honor to work with you.

We’ve been building an incredible team and I can’t wait to see what all of us accomplish over the next two years and beyond.

I raise my glass to you Colonel Young, and to the Chengeta team of supporters worldwide who make this work possible. SALUTE!

LisaCelebrating Two Years of Non-stop Action!
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