In August we continued our support of our Community and Conservation Partners. This included sponsoring a new lion collar in the Masai Mara and supporting an important initiative towards ending the practice of Female Genital Mutilation of young girls in the Mara.
We were over the moon to add yet another property to our list of Gold EcoRated establishments and provided the funds required for the TAFA Community Center and the Kenya Bird of Prey Trust to supply food to children and birds of prey respectively.
The Masai Mara has Kenya’s most closely monitored lion population, in terms of robust and consistent density estimates. An estimated 459 lions (over one year old) live in the Masai Mara’s protected areas making this one of the best places in the world to spend time with these top predators.
Photo credit Kenya Wildlife Trust / Mara Predator Conservation Programme
However, the Mara like many other parts of Africa faces its share of challenges when it comes to protecting lions. Increasing incidents of Human-Wildlife Conflict are being reported across the region, leading to the introduction of various mitigation measures that are primarily aimed at enhancing livestock security and therefore improving tolerance towards predators by communities that live close to conservation areas.
Lion collars are one such mitigation tool that can be used to gain valuable insights into the spatial ecology of this species (particularly their movements across and onto unprotected land) and to document any potential conflicts with local communities.
We are proud to support the MPCP in numerous ways and have most recently made a USD 5,000 (KES 700,000) donation to purchase one lion collar that will be used to aid in monitoring conflict lions. Tracking wildlife with satellite GPS collars is the most robust and reliable tool we have at our disposal for spatiotemporal monitoring.
Female Genital Mutilation is still a common practice within some communities in Kenya. At present, 78% of 9-14-year-old Maasai girls are still undergoing FGM and in some villages, this exceeds 90% of girls. FGM inevitably leads to child marriage and child pregnancy.
The Community Led Alternative Rite of Passage ceremony – photo credit Frankie Adamson
Narok County is ranked the highest in Kenya for child marriage and child pregnancy, with 41% of girls having their first child before the age of 19, while some are as young as 11-12 years old. FGM is now illegal in Kenya, but this has resulted in girls being cut at a younger age so as to avoid suspicion from authorities.
In the Masai Mara, girls as young as nine years are undergoing FGM which then makes them eligible for marriage. These three issues: FGM, child marriage and child pregnancy are the leading causes of girls dropping out of school in the Maasai Mara.
Community Led Alternative Rite of Passage (CLARP) is an approach being used to end FGM that employs a symbolic process as a passage from childhood to womanhood while eliminating the harmful genital cutting.
The process begins with six months of community engagement targeting a wide range of stakeholders including community leaders, religious leaders, elders, grandmothers, parents, youth and children themselves. The culmination of this community mobilisation is a residential mentorship camp for 140 girls followed by a large community blessing and celebration.
The objective of this programme is to prevent FGM, child marriage and child pregnancy from occurring so that girls are able to stay in school and continue their education. Governors’ is proud to have supported this initiative by providing a financial contribution towards the transport for other women and girls to attend the celebration event as well as helping with photography of the event.
There is still limited knowledge about the raptor populations in the Masai Mara, though it is widely accepted that they are in serious decline nationally from threats such as poisoning, electrocution, collisions with infrastructure, drownings and loss of habitat and prey species.
A critically endangered white-backed vulture – photo credit Felix Rome
In an attempt to increase the data being collected on raptors in the area, we provide support towards the general running costs of MRP, specially to allow project coordinators to continue to monitor raptor nests and build the Nest Monitoring Database.
Monitoring nests is the best way to build accurate population databases of raptors and monitor their success/decline. Our total donations towards the project have amounted to KES280,000 since May 2022.
Monitoring raptor nests in the Masai Mara – photo credit Felix Rome
The team at Mugie Conservancy were excited to report a record of a male Lesser kudu near the border with Loisaba Conservancy where a wildlife corridor is open. This demonstrates the importance of landscape connectivity.
In July, collared lioness Sarabi gave birth. This was possible to notice thanks to the movements registered by her GPS collar. From the map below, it is possible to note that the lioness kept moving back to the same location. A team of rangers was sent to the location and found three new cubs for the conservancy.
Lion movements across Mugie Conservancy – credit Mugie Conservancy
It gives us great pleasure to announce yet another Gold EcoRating for one of our wonderful properties; this time for Loldia House, which is idyllically located on the peaceful north-western shores of Lake Naivasha in The Great Rift Valley.
This is the first time the property has been audited by Eco Tourism Kenya and it is a great testament to the hard work our team have put in over the many years of operation, to ensure that Loldia protects this important ecosystem that it is part of.
TAFA is a community-based organization in Kasarani Village (not far from Loldia House), with an objective of engaging the children and the youth in the area in healthy social activities, thus keeping them away from bad influences such as drug and alcohol abuse. It uses a mutual love of football and its community centre as a platform to do this.
August marked the eleventh consecutive month whereby we have provided funding to supply a cup of porridge to between 150-220 children each day at the Center. Most of these children come from very low-income families where they do not have access to sufficient food each day.
The TAFA feeding program – photo credit Nick Penny
This supplementary food support helps to ensure that as many children as possible are able to meet basic nutritional needs and have the energy required for their school work and extracurricular activities.
The Center was struggling to find the funding required to purchase a new set of football uniforms for 38 kids. We were happy to be able to assist in purchasing these and wish the teams the best of luck in all of their matches.
New branded uniforms with the Governors’ logo – photo credit TAFA
“It was another beautiful day and time at TAFA as we launched new U15s and U17s jerseys for girls and boys respectively, courtesy Governors’ Camp Collection. It was, and it will forever, remain in the hearts of the TAFA fraternity and the community at large to thank and remember you for all the kindness and support towards the TAFA family” ~ Coach Sammy, Founder of TAFA.
Unboxing all the new uniforms – photo credit TAFA
This project is dedicated to understanding, protecting and restoring bird of prey populations in Kenya. We are pleased to have once again covered in full, the costs of purchasing enough high-quality meat to feed the rescued birds of prey living between the two raptor centres. Please do visit the center if you are staying with us at Loldia House.
The Naivasha Raptor Center – photo credit Alisa Karstad
By Alisa Karstad, Community and Conservation Manager for Governors’ Camp Collection. If you would like to learn more about any of our Community & Conservation efforts you can reach out to us via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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