Community & Conservation Laikipia

Conservation, coexistence and mitigating conflict.

As Kenya faces its sixth failed rainy season and enters its third year of drought, our effort to provide meals to children attending eleven drought-stricken schools could not be more critical. We were touched by the level of support that we received from people all over the world who together helped us raise our targeted USD7000.

With the logistical support of our partners on Mugie Conservancy, we will be distributing food supplies to the schools surrounding Mugie on the 10th and 11th of March. This will be a huge team effort and we are grateful for all their help.

Congratulations to the winner of the five-night Kenya Safari with Governors’, Roshni Peshavaria, who will be enjoying this incredible prize in May with her sister.

It is our hope to raise further funds for next term, so please keep an eye on our social media pages if you would like to donate and be in with a chance to win a safari of a lifetime!

​​The 2nd of February marked World Wetlands Day. Wetlands are critical to human and planet life. Deltas, estuaries, mangroves and mudflats, swamps, marshes, flood plains, shallow lakes, rivers and the edges of deep lakes and rivers are all wetland areas.

Lake Elementeita is an important wetland area in Kenya – photo credit Felix Rome

These areas serve a wide variety of ecosystem functions and are known as the “kidneys of the landscape”, filtering water that passes through them. They also help to mitigate climate change, reduce the impact of floods, stabilise shorelines and sequester carbon dioxide. They provide suitable habitat for an array of biodiversity and are areas of great scenic beauty, yet many have already been lost or are severely threatened or degraded. Kenya has seen a 48% loss in wetland cover in recent years.

Wetlands occur along the shores of Lake Naivasha in the Great Rift Valley – photo credit Felix Rome

Threats include water drainage, pollution, unsustainable use, invasive species, disrupted flows from dams and sediment dumping from deforestation and soil erosion upstream.  Urgent action is needed to ensure the protection of the wetlands that remain and to help restore those that have been degraded.

The famous Musiara Marsh is home to swampland species as well as other iconic birds and animals – photo credit Felix Rome

The East African Wildlife Society is the voice of conservation in East Africa who work hard to protect such areas. We are proud to be Gold Members of this organisation and are looking forward to working closely with them on a project to protect and restore the Enaipuipui Swamp which is located within the Mau Forest Complex and is considered to be the headwaters of the Mara River.

Laikipia

Vulture-safe feeding area

A vulture-safe feeding area is now under construction on Mugie Conservancy. This is very exciting news for communities, guests and the vultures themselves, each of whom is set to benefit. Communities will be able to sell their low-value livestock and retain the hides for artisanal leather-work businesses; guests will have the opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with some of Africa’s most endangered bird species with incredible photographic opportunities; whilst the vultures and other scavenging birds will be able to feed from safe, poison-free meat.

Poison is the number one killer of scavenging birds in Kenya, so any efforts to mitigate this threat and boost bird of prey numbers that are in severe decline, are important and need to be encouraged across the country.

Great Rift Valley

The Kenya Bird of Prey Trust

A constant issue that the Kenya Bird of Prey Trust faces is the sheer cost of providing quality food in the quantity required to keep all of the rescued birds healthy. It costs KES 100,000 (approximately USD $780) each month to feed all of the birds – this includes beef for the vultures, day old chicks and ducks for the smaller raptors, fish for the fish eagles and rabbits for the crowned eagles.

Feeding time at the Naivasha Raptor Center – photo credit Alisa Karstad

Currently, the greatest food cost is provision of high quality meat (sheep, goat and beef) for the large vultures. Vultures cannot thrive on day-old chicks or other small carcasses. They require large quantities of meat from large mammals. The vultures are permanent residents and potential captive breeders and it is anticipated that the captive vulture population will grow as poisoning events, electrocutions, collisions and persecution continue.

Please visit the raptors while staying at Loldia House – photo credit Alisa Karstad

Thankfully we were able to send KES 100,000 to cover all of the food costs for the month of February. We also sent a KES 20,000 towards the running of the Mara Raptor Project who are the first responders to any injuries/poisoning of raptors in the Masai Mara.

Loldia Primary School

Following a generous donation from one of our guests, we were able to distribute KES 277,000 worth of donations to Loldia Primary School. Stationery supplies including 1020 of each of the following items; ruled books, maths books, rulers, erasers, sharpeners, pencils and pens. Four new dining hall desks, plus two footballs, two netballs, two volley balls and two shot-puts were also donated.

The stationary supplies were gratefully received by Loldia Primary School – photo credit Nick Penny

TAFA Community Center

Using the same donation, we have also been able to commit three months’ worth of support towards the monthly feeding programme of all 261 children at the TAFA Community Center.

Kids at TAFA Community Center – photo credit Nick Penny

Such efforts go a long way in helping the kids get the nourishment that they need to concentrate in class and have enough energy on the field during their football practice.

Outside the centre, a line forms for a cup of hot porridge – photo credit Nick Penny

Masai Mara

Mara Rianda Clinic

The Mara Rianda Clinic provides quality healthcare to thousands of patients living in a rural part of Kenya each year. Regular treatment is provided to people living with HIV and those recovering from other illnesses such as Tuberculosis.

Medicines are available, diagnostic equipment is on hand and trained, competent medical professionals are ready to treat patients. The clinic has been built in various stages with generous funding from both the Mara Rianda Charitable Trust and The P.D Foundation, with our on-ground logistical support.

Recent significant improvements have included an electric fence around the compound and a fully-functioning solar energy system which is able to provide constant, stable power to the whole facility.

The Mara Rianda medical clinic – photo credit Alisa Karstad

We visited  the clinic to see the progress of the new laboratory which is soon to be completed and also donated hundreds of reading glasses including 30 pairs donated by A&K guests, 128 pairs donated by Mark Northhott and Alison Bailey and plenty more donated by recent guests of one of our loyal tour agents – Clive Thomas.

Hundreds of pairs of reading glasses were donated to the clinic – photo credit Alisa Karstad

A newly constructed building provides accommodation to visiting doctors, nurses and other types of volunteers. This offers a wonderful opportunity for skills to be shared and we encourage anyone with relevant experience and qualifications to consider volunteering their time at the clinic.

Accommodation is provided to any medical volunteers who can offer some of their time – photo credit Alisa Karstad

Mara Rianda School

Whilst we were in the area, we also paid a visit to one of the local primary schools that we support; The Mara Rianda Primary School. Here we met some of the students and heard how the new wildlife club is going. The whole compound was recently fenced with an electric fence and the results of this are very apparent with long grasses and young trees finally being able to grow without the past grazing pressure from wildlife and domestic animals.

Seedlings stand a better chance inside the fenced school area – photo credit Mara Predator Conservation Program

The wildlife club members were recently provided with seedlings and seedballs of indigenous tree species to help re-green degraded areas both at home and within the school grounds. The seedballs were donated by Seedballs Kenya in collaboration with Bolt.

Photo credit Mara Predator Conservation Program

We distributed hundreds of writing books to the students as well as reading books for the school library which had been kindly donated by the Mara Rianda Charitable Trust.

Photo credit Alisa Karstad

The children are always grateful for any basic supplies such as reading materials and stationery items. If you would like to know more about how you can support these efforts please contact us.

Photo credit Alisa Karstad

Mara Predator Conservation Programme

Following two very concerning Human-Wildlife Conflict incidents of Marsh Pride lionesses, Lola and Kito in the Musiara area of the Mara Reserve, we arranged for Kasaine Sankan, the Senior Programme Researcher from The Mara Predator Conservation Programme to visit us at Governors’ Camp and give a presentation to our entire guiding team on the challenges predators are facing in the Mara and the work that is being done to mitigate these threats.

Mara Predator Conservation Program gives a presentation at Governors’ Camp – photo credit Felix Rome

The two-hour long presentation was full of interesting information and our team was actively engaged in the talk, asking plenty of questions and sharing their own experiences and ideas.

Guides from each of our Mara camps throughly enjoyed the visit – photo credit Felix Rome

In the Masai Mara dispersing sub-adult male lions are repeatedly shown to cause the most conflict with humans. When they leave their pride, they are frequently nomadic for numerous years, wandering over vast distances and inevitably leaving protected areas and coming into contact with humans and their livestock.

Such areas often represent adult-free zones where they are safe from territorial lions and presented with easy prey in the form of livestock. They are often subject to retaliatory killings following their attacks on livestock – sadly if this issue is not urgently addressed, such killings are expected to increase as human populations grow and space available for lions diminishes.

Marsh Pride of lions masai mara kenya

Two of the three sub-adult males of the Marsh Pride – photo credit Felix Rome

To minimise the decline of important predator populations such as lions, it is crucial to determine the underlying factors causing livestock depredation and other conflict types from both predator and human perspectives. It is essential to understand the capacity of such predators to adapt to major changes in their habitats, including habitat fragmentation and demonstrate the effects of human activity on predator space-use and behaviour. This information is necessary for the effective management and conservation of large predators.

MPCP is set to expand its collaring program to include a real-time conservation aspect while continuing to gather more data and information on these predators. By documenting the movements of prides outside the Reserve and the conservancies, they are able to demonstrate to conservancy management, Narok County Government, tourism partners, Kenya Wildlife Service and the local communities, the important pride refuge areas.  We are grateful for the partnership that we have with MPCP and we are always keen to support their work. So we are pleased to confirm that we will be sponsoring one of the lion collars that is due to be deployed this year.

Each month we offer complimentary seats on Governors’ Aviation for their staff travelling to and from the Masai Mara and this month we provided 12 seats, representing a saving of around USD $1800 for their organisation.

Michael Kaelo, Programme Manager MPCP boards a Governors’ Aviation flight.

“The flights that Governors’ Camp supports KWT staff with, go a long way in cutting travel time and expenses which enables us to be efficient in utilising donor funds to targeted expenses aimed at achieving our overall objectives of safeguarding predators and supporting communities to achieve coexistence” ~ Michael Kaelo, Programme Manager for MPCP

By Alisa Karstad 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 info@governorscamp.com.

If you would like to support our work you can do so via our secure online payment platform link below

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