CONSERVANCIES


In Kenya, 70% of our wildlife occurs outside national parks and thus community lands hold the future of Kenya’s treasured species such as elephant, lion, rhino and migratory herd mammals combined with iconic landscapes, water bodies and cultures. Kenya’s future prosperity hinges on a healthy wildlife population and a growing tourism industry, yet these communal lands are under pressure from construction of infrastructure, human population, changing landuse leading to fragmentation. The establishment of community conservancies – community owned parks – is on only hope for the future of this heritage.

The African Conservation Centre has been working with local pastoral communities in Shompole, Olkiramatian, Mara, Laikipia and Amboseli to support the development and management of community conservancies. The conservancies have not only been a success story of increasing wildlife numbers, they have also provided diversified income opportunities through the tourism products associated with them. ACC has conducted participatory processes to develop plans for the management of the these conservancies and the governance institutions to do so. The benefits accruing from conservancies include employment of local communities in tourist lodges or as game scouts, education bursaries for pastoral children, among others.



The Shompole group ranch was registered in 1979 under the land representative act and is owned by the Loodokilani Maasai of the Magadi division of Kajiado district. The ranch covers 62,700 hectares with over 2000 registered members. It’s located in south eastern Kenya on the Tanzania border near Lake Natron, just right on the edge of Nguruman escarpment overlooking the Great Rift Valley.

The ungulate species in the area are elephants, wildbeast, the cape buffalo, zebra, maasai giraffe, eland, grant’s gazelle, impala, jackson hartebeast, gerenuk, oryx, waterbuck, and lesser kudu. Primates include both vervet and black and white colobus monkeys, and olive baboons. The areas carnivores include leopards, cheetahs, lions, spotted hyenas, stripped hyenas, bat eared fox, wild dogs, black back jackals, golden jackals, civets, genets, wildcats, and the white tailed, egyptian, and banded mongoose. There is also a high diversity of birdlife and reptiles like the monitor lizard.

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The Olkiramatian group ranch covers an area of 21,612 hectares and is located on the North West part of the Magadi division of Kajiado district. It borders Oldonyio Nyokie group ranch to the north and Magadi soda company concession area. To the south Olkiramatian is bordered by the Shompole group ranch and to the west by the Nguruman escarpment. The Ewaso ngiro forms an important source of water for both livestock and wildlife especially in the dry season.

The ungulate species in the area are elephants, wildebeest, the Cape buffalo, zebra, maasai giraffe, eland, grant’s gazelle, impala, jackson hartebeest, gerenuk, waterbuck, and lesser kudu. Primates include vervet and black and white colobus monkeys, olive baboons, and bush babies. The areas carnivores include leopards, cheetahs, lions, spotted hyenas, stripped hyenas, bat eared fox, black back jackals, civets, genets, wildcats, and the white tailed, Egyptian, and banded mongoose. There is also a high diversity of birdlife and reptiles like the monitor lizard. This area is manned by 8 scouts whose major challenge is human-wildlife conflicts with the presence of farms in the area.

Olkiramatian conservancy is well advanced because the scouts here are equipped with radio communication and 1 land cruiser for patrols. There are 2 tourist facilities, Sampu camp and the Resource Centre so the scouts interact with tourists and researchers.

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The Mailwa group ranch is to the south east of the south rift and Amboseli national park. It’s approximately 930km and the conservancy area is 228km about 60% of the Amboseli

national park. The group ranch has a membership of 1027 individuals. Mailwa is in the Namanga and Mashuru division of the Kajiado district and the conservancy falls within the Eluanata sub-location. Mailwa is easily accessible through an international road that connects Arusha, Namanga and Nairobi. The conservation area is owned and used communally during the dry season for grazing.

Much of Mailwa is arid and semi-arid, but it has several seasonal rivers which originate from Namanga and the Meto hills which come together and form the Namanga River that flows into Lake Amboseli. The dominant ungulate species in the area are elephants, zebra, wildebeests, grants gazelles, lesser kudu, Maasai giraffe, and eland. Primates include vervet monkeys, olive baboons, and bush babies. The area’s carnivores include cheetahs, leopards, hyenas, wild dogs, lions, silver back jackals, bat eared fox and mongoose species. There is also a high diversity of birdlife and reptiles like the monitor lizard and the red headed agama.

4 scouts are based at the operating base and their major challenges here include:

· Environmental destruction through charcoal burning

· Bush meat through poaching

· Human wildlife conflicts

Other conservancies include the Siana and Enokishu (Mara Circuit), Rombo Conservancy and Amboseli Group Ranch Association (Amboseli Circuit), and lpolei Munishoi (Laikipia Circuit).

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