We have recently updated and expanded our Community and Conservation section of our website. If you are interested in any of the important work that we are involved in, please do take a look.
There have been exciting plans announced recently in Rwanda! For the second time in three years, the Volcanoes National Park has an expansion plan in place to accommodate its growing mountain gorilla population. The amount of land covered by the national park is set to increase by approximately 23%. Since much of the historic population decline of mountain gorillas was due to habitat loss and degradation, this news gives us further renewed hope for their continued steady population growth. The increased land cover will create a buffer zone between park wildlife and surrounding communities, whilst also increasing suitable habitat and thus the carrying capacity of the land, which will relieve tensions and decrease the number of territorial disputes between neighbouring gorilla families.
Mountain gorilla mother and baby – photo credit Natasha Montrose
Our manager at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Natasha Montrose, recently went gorilla trekking and managed to capture this special moment of gorilla baby ‘Mugwire’ suckling from his mother’s breast – which seems like an appropriate image to share as Breast Cancer Awareness month comes to an end.
‘Mugwire’ suckles his mother – photo credit Natasha Montrose
Loldia House delivers good news all round
An alarming amount of ghost nets were pulled out from Lake Naivasha by the Loldia House team, during a morning boat ride recently. It is sad that these nets are left abandoned in the lake, in the same way nets are discarded in the oceans; they cause countless unnecessary deaths of wildlife. Animals such as cormorants, pelicans, fish eagles and plenty of fish become entangled and drown in the nets. We would like to continue with this initiative when we have quiet periods at Loldia, so that our resources can be used in the most effective way possible.
Clearing ghost nets from Lake Naivasha – photo credit Alisa Karstad
We have managed to put most of the owl boxes up in the trees surrounding the house. It was not an easy feat by any means – getting the eagle owl boxes up into the tallest trees – many of which were enormous yellow-barked acacias that are covered in huge thorns! It seems that the owls have appreciated the efforts taken though, as some news just in from Loldia, is that an eagle owl has moved into one of the boxes in one of the big fig trees!
Getting the owl boxes into tall trees was not an easy task!
A spotted eagle owl box in one of Loldia’s acacia trees
A barn owl box is erected on the side of a wall.
More good news came from the Kenya Bird of Prey Trust in October; their captive pair of spotted eagle owls seem to be incubating a new clutch of eggs. The parents have been at the center for over 15 years as they cannot be released back into the wild, but they are very successful at raising between five and six chicks each year. All of their chicks are released back into the local Naivasha area to help boost owl numbers. Hopefully some of these birds will find a home in our owl boxes!
Spotted eagle owl pair – photo credit Alisa Karstad
The first African Fish Eagle counts at Lake Naivasha for 2021 were completed in September and 331 birds were counted. This number is a record high since population recording began in the early 1950s. What wonderful news for this important iconic raptor!
African fish eagle on Lake Naivasha
Two of our newest guides enjoyed exploring two of our nearby national parks. The Aberdares N.P is famous for its Afromontane vegetation, moorlands, waterfalls and species such as giant forest hogs. Mount Longonot N.P is home to the dormant volcano from which the park takes its name; a hike up to the rim of the volcano takes between 45 minutes to two hours depending on hiker’s fitness levels, but the views looking out across the Rift Valley and Lake Naivasha are definitely worth the work!
Forty-eight smiling faces welcomed us to one of our newest community support projects; The TAFA Soccer Academy on a recent visit from Loldia House. This is a very special little community initiative, run by four kind-hearted teachers, which aims to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds pave the way towards a brighter future using football as a means to bring them together.
TAFA Soccer Academy’s life coaches stand behind the donations.
By using the last of the funds kindly donated by The Chairman’s Foundation via the Wilderness Trust, we were able to purchase food supplies for these students. The kids were so happy to receive their rations which were composed of maize flour, sugar, rice, oil and tea leaves. The total cost per child for just over 11 kilos worth of food was just USD 10.
It was touching to hear back from Sammy, one of the teachers, on what a difference these donations made in terms of the kid’s improved concentration during their lessons at school, their energy levels on the field and their general happiness and wellbeing in the days following the donation event.
Letters of hope written by the students.
We also printed out some photos that our in-house photographer, Felix Rome, had captured a couple of months ago and gave these to the respective children. A printed photograph is a treasured possession in many parts of rural Africa. Another great hit was the football which will be put to great use by many of their teams.
One of the school girls is delighted with the printed photos.
We also paid a visit to the Loldia Primary School in order to donate some stationery supplies. Many of these children come from families who cannot afford to buy these most basic of school supplies and therefore a gift such as this goes a very long way in helping them to keep up with their school work. A USD 3 allows us to give a child a pen, pencil, sharpener, math book, writing book, compass set, eraser and ruler. You can also refer to the packing for a difference section of our website for more ideas of items that can make a big difference in the lives of these children.
Basic school supplies create a room full of smiles.
October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We were pleased to be able to provide logistical assistance to the Mugie Conservancy and Moyo Foundation team as part of their campaign to raise awareness about breast and cervical cancer to rural women in Laikipia. They were able to conduct clinical breast examinations and cervical cancer screening and press on the importance of the HPV vaccination for the young girls and touch on family planning education.
Our team also facilitated the last of the food drive support to remote schools on the western boundary of Mugie ranch on the 19th of October.
If you feel in any way moved by any of these initiatives and you would like to support us, you can make a donation of any kind through the Governors’ Camp Collection Community and Conservation Trust’s secure online payment portal. We will ensure that any funds you send are used to directly improve the lives and well being of our community neighbours and wildlife. Thank you!
By Alisa Karstad, Community and Conservation Manager for Governors’ Camp Collection.