Kate Hepplewhite and Catherine Linch from Pinstone had the experience of a lifetime when they went to the South Rift Valley in Kenya as part of a conservation trip that aligned with one aspect of Pinstone’s B Corp goals to give back to people and planet.
When strung on a line, these beehives will form a two kilometre fence to protect local farmers’ crops from being trampled and eaten by elephants. When the fence is disturbed, the bees swarm and the elephants, who instinctively dislike bees, will run away.
Catherine Linch, Pinstone founder and managing director explains why it was an important trip for Pinstone to make: “Preventing human-wildlife conflict is key to these farming communities living side-by-side with some of the globe’s most precious species and we’re proud to help by gifting a nature-friendly solution.”
Kate, part of Pinstone’s consultancy team, explained how local farmers want to both protect their livelihoods whilst respecting the region’s wildlife.
“During our visit, Patrick from SORALO explained that elephants aren’t the only troublesome species for the farming communities.
“He showed us where the lions and other predators like hyenas and leopards, retreat into the dense thickets and pointed out that it’s also where – at the end of a long drought – valuable cattle can stray to find grass.
“So you can see how local herders and wildlife could come into conflict.
“It was really interesting to hear directly from the people who have suffered due to the devastation of crops caused by elephants, or because of the loss of their animals due to other predators.
“It’s easy to see how they could overlook the benefits these beasts bring to the region’s economy because the crops and livestock really are a community lifeline.
“So it’s credit to the work of SORALO that the community engagement project has worked.
“As well as employing teams of rangers, SORALO has recruited local cattle herders to track predators daily so farmers know their whereabouts and they also retrieve lost cattle. When the drought is bad they can pick-up over 2,000 livestock in a single month. Preventing conflict is key to living side by side.”
Supporting women in conservation
“In traditional African Maasai communities, it is uncommon for women to pursue careers in conservation, so it was incredible to meet these women rangers who are pioneers in breaking barriers and promoting gender equity within their roles.
“Meeting them and hearing their stories was a privilege. They demonstrated exceptional dedication and capabilities in patrolling the vast South Rift Valley region.
“This group of women serve as role models for aspiring female rangers, and we hope to have made a positive impression that will encourage them to pursue their life and career goals.”
The journey undertaken by Kate Hepplewhite and Catherine Linch reflects Pinstone’s commitment to environmental stewardship and supporting communities in need.
Learn why Pinstone became B Corp certified in our blog:
Why choose B Corp status for your business – Pinstone.