Slingshots in hand, Kenyans work to replant vanishing forests

Eric Ndung’u, 11, aims at a bird with a slingshot, using a tree seed ball as ammunition, as he herds his family’s goats near Kisaju, Kenya, July 28, 2018. Thomson Reuters Foundation/Dominic Kirui Using everything from hot air balloons to herder boys, Kenyans are taking a creative approach to boosting the country’s forests By Dominic Kirui KISAJU, Kenya – Early every morning on school holidays and weekends, Eric Ndung’u heads off to herd his family’s goats in the plains of Kisaju, south of Nairobi. While herding, Ndung’u hunts birds using a slingshot. But he’s found a new use for his slingshot too: Planting trees. Before he leaves with the goats, the 11-year-old runs to Nicholas Waweru’s house to get a packet of seed balls, made of charcoal dust, cassava starch and tree seeds. The balls work as ammunition to bring down birds – and, left behind on the ground, they gradually break down, releasing tree seeds to take root. In an effort to combat deforestation and rebuild the nation’s depleted forests, Kenyans are trying some novel approaches, among them recruiting herder boys – as well as hot air balloonists and paragliders – to the cause. Waweru works with Teddy […]

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