This month Governors Conservation Offier Denis went to visit Eburu Forest which borders Loldia Ranch to learn more about the forest, the important conservation iniatives taking place there and how Governors can get involved and support these.
Photo courtesy of Chris Roche
The Eburu Forest comprises 8,715.3 hectares of prime indigenous forest area contained within the steep hills, deep valleys and rolling foothills of Mount Eburu. Overlooking Lake Naivasha to the south east, Lake Elementaita to the North and Lake Nakuru to the North West, the Mau Eburu forest is nestled within the folds of a geologically active volcanic mountain, whose highest peak, Ol Doinyo Eburu, stands 2,820 metres above sea level. The forest is fully demarcated with formal title held by the Kenya Forest Service. It is one of the 22 gazetted forest blocks that comprise the Mau Forests Complex water tower. A precious mountain forest ecosystem the natural features of Eburu forest, including its diverse forest types, steep valleys, springs and waterfalls make it a precious ecosystem, rich in biodiversity. The forest features a broad variety of indigenous tree species, such as Prunus africana (African cherry) and Juniperus procera (African pencil cedar), among others. The forest is recognized as a hotspot for birdlife within the greater Mau Forests Complex. It is home to over 40 species of mammals, including the critically endangered mountain bongo antelope, of which about 12 animals, representing 10% of its population known to exist in the wild, are thought to survive in this forest. The Bongo is a large antelope weighing up to 700 pounds – its habits are retiring and its perfectly camouflaged with a red coat – in the case of females and dark red to almost black in the case of Bulls . They have normally between ten to thirteen white vertical stripes that helps them blend into their bamboo habitat . They are browsers and feed on leaves and other forest foliage.
Photo courtesy of Dominic Grammaticas
The forestry services have opened up a wildlife corridor between Loldia Ranch and the Eburu Forest, Loldia has also put a water trough in the forest where hyena, waterbuck, Serval Cats, porcupine and buffalo all go to drink. The conservation attention given to Eburu forest is as a result of the continued degradation of the land. As a result, close to the wildlife corridor, Eburu Rafiki together with other conservationists have set a 5acre re-afforestation program. The total number of trees planted in the area is currently 2100.
The Eburu community is mostly farmers. They obtain resources from the forest through an organized process. They are also concerned with the conservation of the forest environment. As compensation and community involvement initiative, Eburu has developed sustainable strategies to ensure that the community has not been deprived of their resources. The local community obtains several benefits from the forest. They are allowed to carry out some income generating activities such as beekeeping and sustainable medicine harvesting. The forest management also taps and distributes water to the local community as well as offerring conservation awareness initiatives.
Different stakeholders have been involved in the conservation projects, from Rhino Ark who carried out the major fencing off of the forest, and the Bongo Conservation Project to Kenya Forestry Service and Eburu Rafiki. In the wildlife corridor area closer to Loldia the first conservation initiatives carried out are tree planting and creation of awareness within the community. As part of the contribution to the conservation, initiative Governors intends to assist in the infrastructure development, playing a role in the tree planting and awareness creation programs.
Denis Tobiko, Governors Camp Conservation Officer.