As we approach the end of the year, our commitment to the lives of our community neighbours and the diverse wildlife that surrounds us, has only increased. We have supported an array of meaningful projects and we are grateful to our guests, who enable us to carry out such important work in each of our areas of operation.
Livestock herders training sessions and tree-planting efforts took place in the Masai Mara while educational field trips and a lake clean up were held in Naivasha. Our new camera trap has provided some interesting wildlife images in Laikipia.
We were delighted to host Roshni Peshavaria and her siblings at Governors’ Mugie and Governors’ Camp this month. Roshni was the very lucky winner of our Five-night Safari Fundraiser Raffle back in February.
Roshni and family during a game drive with Governors’ Camp – photo credit Harry Blakey
The raffle raised essential funding that was used to purchase 7,350 kilos of basic food supplies for 13 local schools in drought-stricken Laikipia. Thank you, once again, to all those who donated and helped us reach our USD 7,000 target for this worthy cause that touched the lives of countless children.
Mara Predator Conservation Programme (MPCP)
Following the recent Human-Wildlife Conflict incidents (caused by illegal incursions of herders and their cattle into the National Reserve to graze at night) that have resulted in the injury, death or disappearance of members of the Marsh and Topi prides of lions; we have been working to find an effective short-term solution to this specific conflict issue.
Over the past month, we have provided fuel to Narok County rangers to help them patrol affected areas each night. This is having a marked impact on the number of herders and their cattle entering the reserve and we are noticing an increase in lion movements between The Marsh, Bila Shaka riverbed and the East and West Musiara plains. We will continue to work with wildlife authorities in the area to implement longer-term solutions for the co-existence of people and predators.
Some members of the Marsh Pride – photo credit Harry Blakey
We also continually support the important work being carried out by our conservation partner the Mara Predator Conservation Programme. They work tirelessly on various mitigation measures that are aimed at enhancing livestock security therefore reducing the occurrence of predator-livestock conflict incidents; ultimately improving tolerance towards predators by communities in conflict hotspots.
Such measures include Livestock Herders Training Sessions; recycled plastic pole bomas; Predator Deterrent Lights and boma reinforcements. This month we provided the financial support required to run a herders training session.
During these sessions, herders are equipped with good herding practice skills and are sensitised on the laws regarding compensation and penalties found in the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act (WMCA) of 2013.
A training session for herder’s of livestock – photo credit MPCP / KWT
We understand that the HWC situation is concerning to many of you, and we wish to take the opportunity to express our own deep concern at the conflicts that we have witnessed. It is important to understand that as a tourism operator we are not mandated to provide protection to wildlife. All wildlife in Kenya falls under the care of the Kenyan Government. We are therefore working to provide support where we can and seek guidance on these issues from our conservation partners such as MPCP who are dealing with similar threats to predators across the Greater Mara Ecosystem.
Monday the 13th of November was declared a Public Holiday in Kenya in order that citizens could engage in a nation-wide tree-growing exercise. This was part of Kenya’s Landscape and Ecosystem Restoration Programme- aimed at growing fifteen billion trees by 2032.
Governors’ Camp guide Mike Mbungua gets involved in tree planting efforts around camp – photo credit Harry Blakey
Planting trees is a powerful and cheap way of taking CO2 out of the atmosphere to tackle the climate crisis. Not only do forests act as carbon sinks, but they also provide vital habitat for animals and ecological services for humans, such as purifying the air we breathe and regulating local temperatures.
Camp Manager Harrison Nampaso, staff and one of our guests – photo credit Harry Blakey
Our Masai Mara Camps and Governors’ Mugie joined this effort. In total, 130 indigenous tree saplings were planted in and around our campgrounds; these included threatened species such as East African greenheart/ Elephant pepper (Warburgia ugandensis) and wild African olive (Olea europaea ssp. cuspidata); as well as faster growing quinine (Rauvolfia caffra) and broad-leaf croton trees (Croton macrostachyus). Our workshop team have extended our tree nursery at Governors’ Camp, and we are excited to ramp up the planting efforts even more in the upcoming months!
Mara Raptor Project
The Mara Raptor Project works hard to monitor and protect the various species of birds of prey that live in the Greater Mara Ecosystem. Many raptor populations are in decline yet there is still so much we don’t know about their ecology and the full scope of the role that they play within an ecosystem.
A Critically Endangered African white-back vulture displaying it’s GPS ‘backpack’ – photo credit Fernando Faciole
Scientific data is essential for informing policy makers who have the power to conserve our wildlife. This is why it is so important that their field team, can continue collecting valuable data across the landscape; including regularly monitoring almost 500 nests that are scattered across half of the Greater Mara. Project Manager, Lemein par is available (when booked in advance) to give fascinating presentations to our guests in the Mara camps.
He can also accompany guests on raptor-focused game drives. Donations are required and more information can be found on our website. This month we assisted with a contribution towards the smooth running of their nest monitoring program.
Lemein Par collecting nest monitoring data – photo credit Fernando Faciole
THE GREAT RIFT VALLEY
TAFA Community Center
We recently sponsored another field trip for forty young TAFA Community members to two important centres of conservation in Naivasha; Elsamere and The Kenya Bird of Prey Trust. During the visit to the Naivasha Raptor Center they learnt of the need to protect and restore bird of prey populations in Kenya and were able to get up close and personal to Phil, a rescued Verreaux’s eagle-owl.
TAFA kids with Phil, a rescued Verreaux’s eagle-owl at the Naivasha Raptor Center
At Elsamere they participated in conservation lessons, learnt about the ecology of Lake Naivasha, went out on the freshwater lake, visited the Joy and George Adamson Museum and enjoyed a nature walk.
Many of these children come from disadvantaged backgrounds and have never had the privilege of experiencing the wonders of the natural world that surrounds them in the Great Rift Valley. We hope that memories of the day will stay with them for many years to come and plant a seed in their young minds to aspire to become custodians of their land and wildlife.
TAFA kids enjoy a morning out on Lake Naivasha
For the past fourteen months we have continuously covered the full costs of providing a cup of finger millet porridge to all the 150-220 TAFA members each day. Because so many of the children come from low-income families they sadly do not have access to enough food each day.
Photo credit Nick Penny
“I wanted to take a moment to express our deepest gratitude for your unwavering support and generosity towards our organization. Your consistent contributions have played a pivotal role in assisting our organization in achieving its mission and making a positive impact on the lives of those we serve. We are truly grateful for your continued partnership”. – Sammy, TAFA Founder and Sports Programme Director
Lake clean-up efforts
As part of an effort led by the Sub- County fisheries office our team at Loldia House took part in a clean-up of Lake Naivasha. This important freshwater lake is home to an array of aquatic life; from cormorants to kingfishers; barbel to bass; pythons to otters and plenty in between. It also provides a livelihood to thousands of fishermen who seek to earn a living from the many fish species that inhabit its waters.
Unfortunately, an issue that is universal to all water bodies has faced the lake in recent years; “Ghost Nets”. These are discarded fishing nets that continue to kill wildlife and fish for many years following their abandonment.
Lake Naivasha clean up effort – photo credit Alisa Karstad
Our team were able to remove a huge amount of the nets and we are so grateful for their assistance in this effort.
The Kenya Bird of Prey Trust
Each month we provide the financial assistance needed to purchase high-quality food for the rescued birds of prey living in the care of KBoPT; by doing so we are actively helping to save some of Kenya’s most threatened species. As always, we encourage you to plan a visit to the Naivasha Raptor Center to learn more about their work and how you can help to get involved in the conservation of raptors not only in Kenya, but in your own home countries.
A pair of spotted eagle-owls at the Naivasha Raptor Center – photo credit Alisa Karstad
Camera traps play a key role in monitoring wildlife movements across corridors and within protected areas. We are pleased to report that our data-enabled camera trap actively collects wildlife images in real time near to Governors’ Mugie. Other data enabled cameras have been placed across Mugie conservancy – they are all sharing images with the Conservation and Security Teams to improve response speed to any incident and document the various species that live on and pass through the conservancy.
Camera trap images courtesy of Governors’ Mugie
All the images collected are then sorted with the support of Trap Tagger and uploaded into different wild books to identify individual animals. The identification of individual animals allows the Conservation Team to better understand the spatial ecology and interactions of the wildlife living within and moving through the area.
By Alisa Karstad, Impact Manager for Governors’ Camp Collection. If you would like to learn more about any of our Community and Conservation efforts you can reach out to us via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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