The Somali Ecological Society (SES) was founded in 1983, and the Society is non-political and non-profit making. Prior to the outbreak of the civil war in Somalia , the organisation employed Reserve Guards, and Reserve Wardens, especially in Balcad Nature Reserve. In its early years conservation efforts focussed upon identifying and preserving remnant vegetation and wildlife habitats, which represent natural ecotypes indigenous to Somalia and Somaliland .
The Society also sought to achieve a greater awareness of environmental problems and to bring these to the attention of decision-makers, for appropriate actions.
SES Achievements prior to 1991
• Establishment of Balcad Nature Reserve
Balcad Nature Reserve was the first site that Somali Ecological Society has supported to achieve Reserve Status (form August 1987). Establishment of the Reserve has been carried out with the considerable assistance of the National Range Agency (Under the Ministry of Livestock, Forestry and Range.) The Objectives of the Balcad Nature Reserve were:
• Protection of the remaining forests
• Encouragement of the recovery of the ecosystem
• Establishment of facilities for the study of wildlife and forest ecology
• Provision of education and training opportunities.
• The riverine forest was fenced to protect against further damage by grazing and woodcutting.
• Guards were employed to protect the Reserve.
• Guard's huts were built.
• A nature trial was constructed through the forest, and a descriptive guide written.
- A campsite has been designed, and fire-pit built for cooking and cleared ground where meeting can be held.
- Researchers have compiled a list of animals found at the Reserve.
- An illustrated guide of the birds of Balcad Reserve was in preparation.
- Hundreds of people have visited the Reserve for educational tours, bird watching, picnics, boat trips along the rivers, and camping trips.
Other SES Achievements prior to 1991
- Aid given to the Somali Research Project ( University of London ) for their study and presentation on the remaining riverine forests Jubba Valley .
- Assisted with a survey of four potential wildlife Reserves near Mogadishu , within 60 Kilometres.
- Provision of a forum for a Scientist to present and discuss their findings by holding-meetings, open to the public once a month.
- Regular publication of newsletter with information on - conservation problems and Somali ecological society activities
The outbreak of the civil war in Somalia and collapse of the former Government meant that all activities of the Society ceased, and many members fled the Country. However, members of the Somali Ecological Society, living in the UK, met several times from 1991-1995 to discuss and explore ways of re-vitalising, and re-launching the work of the organisation so as to resume its vital work in Somalia and Somaliland.
- The first Annual General Meeting of the Society was held in January 1997, and over 60 people attended. As a result of that meeting the organisation now has a new constitution and a new management committee.
- The new Management Committee put together a work programme including the possibility of sending two fact-finding missions to Somalia and Somaliland, respectively.
- With the small grants from the Cuthbert Horn Trust, the Somali Ecological Society sent two fact-finding missions to Somaliland in August 1998 plus Somalia, including Puntland in December 1998. Both fact-finding missions were successful and revealed a great deal about the environmental problems facing the Somali people. Also, with the help of the small grant, a small office base was established in London with both Fax and telephone facility.
- Since 2000, the SES established links with the former SES members in Somalia and Somaliland as well as outside the country. Further fact-finding missions saw SES members going into various regions and parts of Somalia and Somaliland .
- Publication and distribution of the Somali Ecological Society newsletter
- The Society's, first major conference was held in October 1999 and over 40 people attended, including representatives from the international Aid agencies currently working in Somalia and Somaliland . The fact-finding reports were presented and information exchanged among individuals currently involved in the environmental and environmental related projects.
- The Society has provided small financial assistance to SES members in Somalia and Somaliland to support their individual efforts in carrying out conservation activities.
- The Society has been working with other SES members to prepare environmental conservation projects which is now possible under the current political situation in Somalia and Somaliland .
Mohamoud Omer Sh. Ibrahim