The first safari company to realise the crucial role it could play in conservation, Ker & Downey has been at the forefront of scientific research and wilderness preservation in East Africa since the 1940s. We have outfitted safaris for some of the world’s leading conservation organisations, including the Smithsonian and the American Museum of Natural History, and a percentage of our profits goes towards conservation and social development projects supported by our guides.
Kora Research Project: In the 1980s, we set up the Kora Research Project in memory of Syd Downey and Donald Ker. Carried out in cooperation with the Royal Geographical Society, the African Wildlife Foundation of America and the National Museums of Kenya, the project helped 40 scientists gather detailed botanical, geological, ornithological and herpetological data relating to the remote Kenyan reserve of Kora.
Rhino protection: We began our support of rhino rescue projects with the donation, in 1986, of a vehicle and conservation equipment. Since then we have been instrumental in supporting a wide range of programs to protect endangered black rhino populations in Kenya and Tanzania.
The East African Wild Life Society (EAWLS): In 1961 Donald Ker and Syd Downey were part of a pioneering group that started the Kenya Wildlife Society (now EAWLS) to promote research, advocacy and community education on the protection of wildlife and vulnerable ecosystems across the region.
The Kenya Professional Safari Guides Association (KPSGA): In 1996 Ker & Downey helped to set up the KPSGA to provide a streamlined series of standards by which tour operators and their guides could be measured. This acclaimed body provides a series of voluntary exams for rating professional guides and lodge naturalists, which has become a template for guide accreditation across Africa.
New conservation areas: Over the past 20 years, Ker & Downey has been instrumental in the creation of a number of community-run conservancies in critical wildlife dispersal areas, including the Mara Conservancy, the Kitirua Conservancy near Amboseli National Park, and the Ishaq Bin Conservancy and the Meibae Conservancy in northern Kenya.
The Kenya Wildlife Trust (KWT): In 2007 Ker & Downey’s guides helped to establish KWT to raise funds for projects that promote big cat conservation, wildlife scholarships, and other conservation education in critical wilderness areas of Amboseli, Samburu and the Maasai Mara. The company also supports a number of projects to protect endangered species in northern Kenya, and assists in the formulation of conservation management plans with the Kenya Wildlife Service.