We are only halfway through 2020, but already it is a year that has defied all expectations. Kenya has been fortunate thus far, with a relatively low number of Covid-19 infections and fatalities. The government took a very proactive approach to containing the outbreak, halting international air travel into the country back in March. However, Kenya relies heavily on international tourism to support its conservation efforts, provide jobs, and bolster businesses. As this income stream has all but disappeared, many people across the country are struggling to make ends meet.
Despite the very real challenges presented by the pandemic, our work here in Kenya continues unabated. We are proud to say that we have retained all our staff — from elephant keepers to anti-poaching rangers, mechanics to Eco Lodge staff — and we are all navigating these difficult times together. We remain unfalteringly committed to our team, the people who work so hard towards our shared goal of protecting Kenya's wildlife and wild spaces. They are certainly needed now more than ever. When mankind struggles, the natural world becomes caught in the crosshairs. We expect that bushmeat poaching, ivory and rhino horn poaching, charcoal burning, livestock incursions, and other illegal activities will rise significantly over the coming months. Never has our presence in the field, working in tandem with the KWS and our other conservation partners, been more crucial.
The welfare of our neighbouring communities is equally important. Many are struggling immensely, as Kenyans grapple with unemployment and other economic effects of the pandemic. With this in mind, we have bolstered our community support efforts and are providing regular food donations to communities living on the boundaries of Tsavo. We're working closely with the county government and local chiefs, who help manage the donations to ensure they are fairly distributed and that all health and security protocols are followed. This healthy, hearty sustenance is a lifeline for local families as they navigate this challenging period. Tsavo also benefits; when our communities are healthy, illegal activity declines.
These are anything but normal times. However, while the world is on pause, know that our work continues full steam ahead. We are proud to be in a position to support our employees, our communities, Kenya's wild spaces, and the orphans who rely on us — and it is with deep gratitude that we thank you for making that vital support possible.