Operation Ocelot goes on tour! Get involved to help save Kenya’s Dakatcha Woodland SEARCH NEWS

This summer, Operation Ocelot is going on tour! Mission Three is leaving South America far behind and heading east to the extraordinary Dakatcha Woodland in Kenya. Among the last 10% of East Africa’s coastal forests, the Dakatcha Woodland is rich in fascinating and highly threatened wildlife that needs your help now.

Now we know what you might be thinking. Ocelots. Okay. Kenya. Hmmmm. Since when did Ocelots (which by the way go by the Latin name Leopardus pardalis) live in Kenya?

Well, the answer – we can assure you we are rather aware of – is that they do not and indeed never have lived in Kenya. However, following the huge success of Operation Ocelot’s Mission One and Mission Two – together helping save the extraordinary Laguna Grande rainforest in Carribean Guatemala and Brazil’s Atlantic Rainforest – Operation Ocelot has now been called upon to save threatened species elsewhere! That is why Mission Three – spearheaded by WLT Patron and fearless presenter Steve Backshall – is now heading to the coastal forests of east Africa to save the precious wildlife of Kenya’s Dakatcha Woodland. This amazing forest is home to many unusual and highly threatened species, such as the Endangered Sokoke Scops Owl (Otus ireneae) and the unusual Golden-rumped Elephant Shrew (Rhynchocyon chrysopygus).

Two Sokoke Scops Owls on a branch, one rufous coloured and one grey to show the colour morphism.

The Sokoke Scops Owl, one of the smallest species of owl in Africa. You may be forgiven for thinking that these are a male and female. Instead, Sokoke Scops Owls come in two different colours. It’s believed that this colour variation may be for camouflage. Credit: Per Holmen

But to save the Dakatcha Woodland, Steve Backshall needs your support! Read on to learn how you can help.

How do I get involved with my young ones?

Operation Ocelot works through a four-step process:

  1. Measure your area
  2. Calculate your fundraising target
  3. Raise money as a team to save the same area of threatened land in a biodiversity hotspot
  4. Donate

What can I measure?

This project is for everyone and the land you can measure is completely up to you. It could be your school, playground, clubhouse, sports ground, local park, garden or any other site you’re connected with – we accept any land of any size.

How do I calculate my fundraising target?

To work out your target, WLT needs to know the width and length (in metres) – or the total square metre size – of the area you are measuring. This is a great opportunity to get everyone together, measuring tape in hand, and to really see the size of habitat that you’ll be protecting. Once you have the size figures, follow this link to share them with us through our Operation Ocelot calculator – it will then give you a target for the funds you need to raise for the saving of this area.

What landscape will I be helping to save?

The Dakatcha Woodland in Kenya is among the last 10% of East Africa’s coastal forests. Falling within a global biodiversity hotspot, it is one of the last homes on Earth for precious and threatened species like one of Africa’s smallest owls, the Sokoke Scops Owl, and a bird that nests nowhere else on Earth: the Endangered Clarke’s Weaver (Ploceus golandi). Despite its global importance, the Dakatcha Woodland is not formally protected and is threatened by deforestation to create pineapple farms and make charcoal.

That is why Mission 3 has left South America to save this precious forest that urgently needs your help. By raising funds for the Dakatcha Woodland, you will also expand the home of 136 butterfly species and 229 tree species.

A photo of a Golden-rumped Elephant Shrew walking through leaf litter

The Golden-rumped Elephant Shrew. Fascinatingly, the golden rump helps them to not get eaten because the gold draws the eyes of the predators away from the more vulnerable head end and towards the fleeing bum, which has thicker skin and is a less crucial place to take a hit. For more about this amazing species, read this article. Credit: Marius Dobilas/Shutterstock.

I now have a fundraising target. What can I do to raise the funds?

The possibilities are endless and there is something to suit everybody. For examples of some fantastic WLT fundraisers, see here, here, and here. We have also come up with a few suggestions:

  • Have a sponsored sleepover or camp-out at your school, club, or in your garden
  • Host a nature-themed quiz night
  • Organise a nature-themed raffle and give away prizes like seed packets, plush animals, or vouchers for zoos/museums
  • Organise a sponsored night hike
  • Do sponsored swimming lengths
  • Organise a sponsored clean-up for a beach, local area, or park
  • Work out the area you are fundraising for and walk, run, or bike the area
  • Mark out the area you are fundraising for on a playground or field and run sponsored relay races around it
  • Get sponsored to give up something you love for a day, week or even a month!
  • Host a bake sale
  • Have a non-uniform day or dress up as your favourite animal day
  • Organise a talent show or throw a school/club party!

What is the best way to promote our fundraiser?

Spread the word! Whether you make your own posters, use our fundraising materials, host a theatre show or tag your friends on social media – getting as many people involved as possible is the best way to maximise donations. Don’t forget to tag us on social media @worldlandtrust and use the hashtag #OperationOcelot so we can reshare your posts.

I’m a teacher. Can I include this in my lesson planning/curriculum?

Absolutely! We would be delighted for you to share this with the young people you work with. We have educational resources available here to be used either in school or at home.

What will I get for my fundraiser?

Once you have signed up for Operation Ocelot, we will equip you with a fundraising welcome pack to get started. To thank you for your dedication, you will also receive a personalised certificate signed by Steve Backshall as a celebration of the major impact you will be making as an Operation Ocelot participant on the highly threatened wildlife of the Dakatcha Woodland.

Have further questions? Just pop us an email at [email protected] and we’ll be happy to help.

This year with Steve Backshall alongside us, we can save the home of the Sokoke Scops Owl and hundreds of other species for generations to come. Thank you for your support.

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