Community & Conservation Laikipia Loldia House Masai Mara

Reforestation efforts and the Mugie Five

With the return of students back into schools this month we re-committed our support towards kids Wildlife Clubs, tree-planting efforts and food programs and also began sponsoring our first bursary students. Governors’ Mugie received a Silver EcoRating from EcoTourism Kenya and the team took part in important data collection counts of both Grevy’s zebras and reticulated giraffes. In Naivasha, we covered the costs of another full month of food for rescued birds of prey.

Masai Mara

Wildlife Clubs of Kenya

We are very pleased to be sponsoring another year of Wildlife Club membership for thirty new Mara Rianda Primary School students in the Masai Mara. This is run in collaboration with our conservation partner the Mara Predator Conservation Program under the overall directive of The Wildlife Clubs of Kenya. The mission is to expose children to wildlife and environmental conservation in an engaging and compelling way to create positive long-term perceptions towards wildlife and wild spaces.  

Activities through the year include wildlife club meetings, clean-up events, conservation talks, debates, game drives, exposure visits to the Mara Discovery Centre as well as screenings and discussions of wildlife films and documentaries. 

Mara Rianda Primary School Wildlife Club students enjoying a game drive in the National Reserve – photo credit Felix Rome

These clubs help to increase wildlife and environmental conservation knowledge amongst the youth living in the villages surrounding protected areas and therefore create a sense of Earth stewardship and hopefully foster long-term positive changes towards the protection of wildlife.  

Tree planting 

As part of our long-term commitment to being an environmentally aware company, we are always keen to increase our tree planting efforts.  

Many of the mature trees growing in and around our camps have been lost over the last few decades due to a combination of factors including tree rot and erosion of their unique riverine habitat.  

Our passionate gardener Fred collects the seeds and young saplings of various indigenous tree species within our campgrounds and transfers them into upcycled milk cartons. They are placed in our tree nursery where he carefully nurtures them until they are ready to be planted back out in the wild.  

Photo credit Alisa Karstad

Here they continue to require protection, or else they will certainly be enjoyed by a host of herbivores. We use metal tree protectors that afford the seedlings more time to grow without the constant threat of herbivory. 

We are now offering our special occasion guests (and any other interested guests) the chance to plant a tree during their stay with us. This is a wonderful way to mark an anniversary or birthday or any other important milestone in life!  

Mr. and Mrs. Pierpoint marking their forty-five-year wedding anniversary by planting a tree during their recent stay at Governors’ Camp – photo credit Harrison Nampaso

One of our sponsored college students, David Pesi helped to arrange the planting of 70 seedlings at Mara Rianda Primary School and around his local area. He also helped to remove around 5km of the invasive weed Datura stramonium from roadsides around the Musiara Park headquarters. Thanks to David for his continued commitment to conservation in his community! 

Mara Rianda students with Sponsored student David Pesi ready to plant trees donated from our camp nursery

 

Great Rift Valley

Eburru Rafiki 

Kenya’s major water catchment areas continue to be degraded at an alarming rate through a combination of deforestation and other destructive human activities. This has escalated the impacts of climate change and loss of biodiversity. We actively engage in tree-planting initiatives in the  Eburru Forest through our conservation partnership with Eburru Rafiki. We provide the financial support required for them to purchase, plant and nurture indigenous seedlings. To date our donations have amounted to the equivalent to 1798 saplings. 

Chege, an Eburru Forest guide planting a tree in the forest – photo credit Harry Blakey

The Kenya Bird of Prey Trust 

“We now have fourteen vultures in our permanent care, which require many hundreds of kilos of good quality meat every year, and keeping our sparrowhawks, crowned eagles etc. healthy, let alone breeding, requires specialized food too. Your donations have made it possible to keep our 65 birds going, and happy and healthy.” – Shiv Kapila, Director KBoPT 

KBoPT Director Shiv Kapila checks on the health of one of the rescued Rüppell’s vultures at the Naivasha Raptor Center – photo credit Alisa Karstad

We are proud to support the work of The Kenya Bird of Prey Trust each month by providing the funds required to purchase enough quality food for the rescued birds in their care. The birds include some of Kenya’s most threatened species, each of which requires a helping hand in today’s rapidly changing world. 

Mwanzia, a long-time employee of the KBoPT spends time with the rescued birds at the Naivasha Raptor Center – photo credit Alisa Karstad

TAFA Community Centre 

We are always keen to support the work of our community partner TAFA, who are working hard to uplift the lives of the youth in Kasarani village close to Loldia House. Many of the kids that practice football at the centre come from very low-income families where regular daily meals are not always available. For the past sixteen months we have supported a meal scheme whereby each child is able to receive a cup of wimbi uji (finger millet porridge). This meal means that each of the 150-220 kids have enough energy for their extracurricular activities at the centre and can return home with full bellies.  

Uji time at TAFA – photo credit Harry Blakey

Many of the students graduating from primary school in Kenya are unable to go on and attend secondary school, because their families cannot afford to pay the school fees that are required (only primary education is free in Kenya). Sadly, this means that countless students miss out on the opportunity of receiving a secondary education and all the future opportunities that education presents.  

We have begun to address this issue by providing a couple of bursaries for some of the most academically gifted students from particularly disadvantaged backgrounds in Kasarani. Their family situations were vetted by the team at TAFA using specific criteria and many students were deemed needy of support.  

We have committed to paying the secondary fees for one such student, Patrick, at Koelel Forces Academy in Gilgil. We also provided fees assistance for another student Elizabeth whose outstanding school fees at St Andrews Tarabete Secondary School were preventing her from returning to school.  

If you would like to help support a child through secondary school, we would be most grateful and can help to facilitate the process. It costs around USD 300 to cover the tuition/boarding costs of a Form One student for one academic year. Uniforms, books, pocket money and a travel allowance are extra. Donations can be made through our secure online payment platform– please reference “school fees”. 

Laikipia

EcoTourism Kenya 

We are delighted to announce that Governors’ Mugie has been awarded a Silver EcoRating by EcoTourism Kenya. Silver level is awarded to facilities that demonstrate a move towards achieving excellence in environmental conservation, responsible resource use and socio-economic investment.  

Governors’ Mugie has been awarded a Siver EcoRating by EcoTourism Kenya

The Mugie Five 

We were very excited to capture our first image of a striped hyena down at the water hole in front of Governors’ Mugie during the middle of the month. This species is listed a “Near Threatened” by the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species.  

A Stiped Hyena caught passing by the Governors’ Mugie camera trap on the 15th January 2024

It is an animal that is adapted to the more arid environments of North Africa, with a range reaching as far south as Tanzania.  Chosen as one of our Mugie Five”, a sighting of one of these elusive, nocturnal animals must be treasured and is certainly always high on the bucket list for our guests at Mugie. 

A “Near Threatened” striped hyena seen on Mugie Conservancy – photo credit Nick Penny

Another of our Mugie Five is the “Endangered” Grevy’s Zebra. This is the largest of the three zebra species in Africa and is a species that has undergone one of the most substantial reductions in range of any African mammal; now solely confined to Southern Ethiopia and Northern Kenya.  

Governors’ Mugie guide John Lomelo assists during the recent Grevy’z zebra count

Since the last Grevy’s Zebra census was conducted in 2020, Northern Kenya has experienced two and a half years of drought. Continued proper informed management of the Grevy’s zebra populations in Kenya requires a continued understanding of their spatial distribution after the drought as well as how the population composition may have shifted.  

Capturing photos of Grevy’s zebra on Mugie Conservancy – photo credit Felix Rome

In partnership with The Grevy’s Zebra Trust, a fourth national census of Grevy’s zebra took place on the 27th & 28th January 2024. Called “The Great Grevy’s Rally”, this is a citizen science, photographic census. Governors’ Mugie was pleased to support the initiative through the provision of two vehicles and guides to assist with data collection in and around Mugie.  

A third member of the Mugie Five; the reticulated giraffe also received significant attention this month. Giraffe populations are in trouble- they have already gone extinct in 7 African countries and overall, their population has declined by approximately 40% in just a few decades. Reticulated giraffe are the species found on Mugie Conservancy, and their species is listed as “Endangered” by the IUCN Red List. In just the last three decades alone, their populations have declined by approximately 56%. Their decline is attributed to habitat loss; habitat and land degradation; and illegal poaching. 

An “Endangered” reticulated giraffe on Mugie Conservancy – photo credit Alisa Karstad

In a collaboration between the Twiga Walinzi (Giraffe Conservation Foundation) and Mugie Conservancy, a third assessment of reticulated giraffes was carried out at the conservancy on the 30th and 31st. The assessment will help in understanding the population dynamics of the giraffes on Mugie, which in turn will aid in making informed decisions within the jurisdiction and Laikipia landscapes at large specifically for this species. 

Capturing images of reticulated giraffes – photo credit Felix Rome

Governors’ Mugie was pleased to be included in this effort and was able to provide two vehicles and two guides to assist in the Rapid Assessment. We look forward to sharing the results of both the zebra and giraffe research in due course.  

The Moyo Foundation 

The Moyo Foundation is a grassroots organization based on Mugie Conservancy. They specialize in delivering healthcare and education support where it is most needed while integrating environmental conservation efforts every step of the way. We are proud to support their work by sponsoring medical outreach clinics every second month. These mobile clinics play a pivotal role in improving nutrition and overall health in the rural communities living in the areas surrounding Mugie. We have now sponsored a tenth clinic and you can find out more about their work on our website. 

A mobile medical outreach clinic conducted by the Moyo Foundation – photo credit Nick Penny

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 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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