We implement conservation projects for the benefit of nature and people.
Project Name: The Conservancies Rangers’ Programme
Over 65% of wildlife in Kenya occurs outside gazetted national parks, reserves and sanctuaries. The conservancy movement in Kenya, over the years, have contributed immensely in securing safe additional spaces for wildlife outside the protected areas and in providing livelihood support to the community living adjacent with wildlife.
The Conservancies Rangers’ Programme
Donors: Intrepid Foundation, Mara Conservation Fund and Greenline Foundation
Supporting Kenya’s Wildlife frontline Defenders!
Over 65% of wildlife in Kenya occurs outside gazetted national parks, reserves and sanctuaries. The conservancy movement in Kenya, over the years, have contributed immensely in securing safe additional spaces for wildlife outside the protected areas and in providing livelihood support to the community living adjacent with wildlife. Despite this, the conservancies, being privately or community-owned, do not receive direct funding support from the government to run their operations. The community rangers, who risk their lives daily in a quest to protect our wildlife and their refuge, lacks the necessary skills, live in deplorable conditions and often have inadequate equipment (transport during patrols, communication and data gathering tools) which poses a huge challenge for them to effectively deliver on their role and exposes them to several risks.
EAWLS designed a programme in 2017 to address these needs. The programme involves supporting training based on conservancies needs; provide assorted equipment for patrol and data gathering and; provide other support for better living of the scouts. So far, 3 conservancies have benefited including Enonkishu, Ol Kinyei and Mt. Suswa
- Trained 32 conservancy rangers and managers on ecological monitoring, field safety and professional ethics;
- Provided solar recharge batteries and two charge controllers to Enonkishu Conservancy;
- Provided 42 rangers with pairs security boots;
- Distributed 10 mobile tents for camping during patrols
- Two hand held radio calls (Motorola) for communication donated to Ol Kinyei Conservancy
- 42 sleeping bags donated to rangers
Project Name: Mt. Elgon Elephant Project
Unfortunately, no elephants are known to have survived permanently on the Uganda side of Mount Elgon since the 1970’s and they are at risk of extinction on the Kenya side. Only around 350 are thought to remain from a past population of several times that number.
Mt. Elgon Elephant
Unfortunately, no elephants are known to have survived permanently on the Uganda side of Mount Elgon since the 1970’s and they are at risk of extinction on the Kenya side. Only around 350 are thought to remain from a past population of several times that number. Key threats to their survival are from poaching, deforestation and human-elephant conflict. This results in the tragedy of human as well as elephant deaths.
The East African Wild Life Society – Mt Elgon Elephant Project (MEEP) was launched in May 2017 to ensure the survival of Mount Elgon’s elephants by finding ways to mitigate human-elephant conflict and, ultimately, seeking UNESCO World Heritage Site status for the whole transboundary catchment area of Mount Elgon, spanning both the Kenyan and Ugandan sides of the mountain.
The MEEP team includes eight full-time locally recruited scouts trained in modern “SMART (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool)” data collection mobile phone based technology. They are doing detailed mapping work to gather information on the caves, the routes used by the elephants, the sites of human-elephant conflict, the areas of deforestation and the local community (many of whom have lived around the elephants for generations). This will inform land-use recommendations with the aim of alleviating human-elephant conflict.
Project management and technical support are provided by a team of experienced wildlife conservation professionals.
MEEP already benefits the local community and aims to do so more in the future by seeking to preserve the environment, reduce human-elephant conflict, employ local people in an area where there are few employment opportunities and create further alternative livelihoods in an environmentally compatible way.
MEEP is a project of the East African Wild Life Society, working in collaboration with key partners on the ground – the National Museums of Kenya, Kenya Wildlife Service and Kenya Forest Service. The project’s other key partners are its funding partners, notably the Mount Elgon Foundation, the Elephant Crisis Fund and the International Conservation Fund of Canada. MEEP thanks all its partners and donors for their generous support.
Donors: USAID through Planning for Resilience in East Africa Through Policy, Adaptation, Research, and Economic Development (PREPARED) project
Promoting sustainable tourism in the Maasai Mara Ecosystem
Historically, there has been very little regulation on the numbers and locations of tourism facilities in this precious ecosystem and the number was unknown. This unregulated tourism infrastructural development has not only interfered with wildlife behaviour and movements and destructed their habitats but has also significantly lowered visitors’ experience.
In order to conserve and sustainably manage this important wildlife refuge, there was a need to determine the number of tourism facilities and their compliance with environmental laws.
In 2016, we conducted an environmental audit of the tourism facilities (camps and lodges) in the world-famous Maasai Mara National Reserve and produced an audit report and a policy brief with recommendations for the Narok County Government to implement.
From the findings and recommendations of this audit, the Governor of Narok County Government in 2017 issued a stoppage order on new tourism facilities being established in the Maasai Mara National Reserve. This work also contributed to the Management Plan for the National Reserve, which is yet to be gazetted.
Donors: Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), l’Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, the European Union, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan, and the World Bank.
Lake Ol Bolossat is the only natural lake in Central Kenya and one of the very few highland lakes in the world. It is located in in Nyandarua Count and forms part of the larger Ewaso Ngiro North Basin which straddles nine counties in Kenya and supports the livelihoods of approximately four (4) million people from upstream, middle and downstream.
Covering approximately 4303.6 ha, the lake is Kenya’s 61st Important Bird Area and is recognised as a Key Biodiversity Area by BirdLife International.
The lake is also home to around 96 species of invertebrates, 7 species of fish and six other mammalian species besides hippopotamuses. A waterfowl census in Lake Ol Bolossat conducted in January 2018 counted a total of 14, 423 individuals.
Despite the economical, social and ecological importance, the lake is in the verge of drying up threatening the local livelihood, economy and biodiversity. These was attributed to lack of legal protection, poor stakeholders’ coordination, low awareness about the lake and its importance, among others.
This project aimed at elevating the lake’s conservation status to enhance its protection; creating awareness about the importance of the lake; harnessing partnerships and synergies for better management of the lake through co-management.
- – The Lake designated as a wetland protected area by the Government of Kenya through a legal notice No. 178 of 2018.
- – Rapid Biodiversity Survey conducted and findings disseminated;
- – Brochure profiling the lake developed and publicised to raise more awareness about the lake
- – Lake Ol Bolossat Integrated Management Plan (2020 – 2030) ratified.
- – Lake Ol Bolossat Community Conservation Group (LOCCOG) formed and registered to operate in Kenya. The Group coordinates community-led conservation activities in the lake and its surrounding.
Promoting Sustainable Management of Mt. Suswa Conservancy for Community Livelihood Improvement and Security (2017 -2018)
Donors: Embassy of Finland to Kenya (Finnish Government)
Mt. Suswa Conservancy, a community owned conservancy, lies about 80 km west of Nairobi on the floor of Eastern Rift Valley and covers an area of about 8000 ha. Its summit (highest point) stands at 2,356 metres above sea level. The Conservancy has over 3,500 land owners and lies almost equally in two counties – Narok and Kajiado counties. The Maasai community are most predominant inhabitants around the Conservancy who mainly practise pastoralism. The mountain is highly revered by the Maasai Community because of its spiritual connotation thus most Maasai declaration are done here facing the mountain.
The Conservancy is unique on its own as it is the only conservancy with caves and a double caldera. It is home the African Long-tailed bats, and baboons (BBC Two – The Great Rift: Africa’s Wild Heart, Fire, Baboon parliament) among other wild animals. The Caldera hosts an undisturbed indigenous forest, locally known as the “Lost World” with some endangered species such as red cider.
The Conservancy and its resources are however under threat due to human activities such as deforestation, poaching, as well as ongoing development projects. It does not have a vibrant governance structures and qualified personnel required to implement the management plan that could cushion against these destructive activities. Its tourism potential has been under-utilized due to poor access road, inadequate information about the conservancy, poor quality products and inadequate amenities such as clean running water, communication infrastructure, lack of accommodation facilities, and many more.
This project sought to promote good governance for the Conservancy; build the capacity of community rangers through training and provision of surveillance equipment and enhance community’ participation in sustainable management and efficient utilization of natural resources through training and piloting on nature-based enterprises and energy-saving technologies.
- 30 local community members trained and supported with 30 Langstroth (modern) beehives befitting about 102 households;
- All the conservancy rangers trained and provided with tents, security boots and sleeping bags for enhanced and mobile patrols
- 55 community members, including 26 women and 29 men trained on environmental stewardship. This was further amplified through the local radio.
- 80 women trained on energy cooking technologies and over 100 households supplied with energy efficient stoves (https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2001294649/narok-residents-turn-to-alternative-methods-to-protect-wildlife)
- Conservancy board members trained on tourism development, marketing, resource mobilization, financial management, gender mainstreaming and conflict resolution mechanism and facilitated for an exchange
- visit to Naboisho Conservancy in Mara for practical learning.
- Mt. Suswa business plan developed
- 25 environmental stewards trained as resource monitors to support the conservancy rangers (5) in patrolling the conservancy.
- Five cameras, 6 tents, 3 mountain bikes for tourism, and security boots donated to the conservancy
- a) Reduced forest destruction and charcoal production within and around the conservancy
- b) Reduced poaching of wildlife within and around the Conservancy
- c) Improved community welfare socially and economically
- d) Inclusion of women and youths in the new Mt. Suswa Conservancy Board
- e) Enhanced environmental awareness among the local communities surrounding Mt. SuswaU
Donors: US Forest Service (USFS)
This project was implemented within Mt. Elgon ecosystem which straddles that international boundary between Kenya and Uganda, comprising about 60% and 40% of the Mt. Elgon landscape, respectively. The entire ecosystem covers an area of about 9,944 km2.
US Forest Service together with other partners investigated factors that limit Community Forest Association (CFA) effectiveness in sustainable forest management in 2021. The assessment recommended the formation of regional and ecosystem-based organizations that can harness resource mobilization through a multi-stakeholder approach to support the functioning of the CFA.
The aim of this project was to strengthen Community Forest Associations (CFAs) in the Mt. Elgon landscape specifically on the Kenyan side of the ecosystem to elevate their cause as agents of forest stewardship, economic development, and community-based natural resource governance through establishing an ecosystem-wide, local civil society organization.
- An ecosystem-wide CSO under the name Mt. Elgon Ecosystem Conservation Trust (MEECT) was formed;
- Interim board members for the MEECT nominated
- A Trans-Nzoia CFA Chapter which unifies all the CFAs in the county and facilitate inter-CFA engagement for the conservation and management of Trans-Nzoia was formed.
Capacity Development of Kirisia Community Forest Associations (CFAs) in Enterprise Development in Selected Value Chains and Designation of Kirisia Forest as an Important Bird Area (IBA) (2021 – 2023)
Donors: Global Environmental Facility C/o Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations in Kenya
Kirisia Forest, locally known as Leroghi Forest, is located in Samburu Country in the northern part of Kenya. It is a gazetted forest managed by the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and covers 91,452 hectares. Due to its altitudinal range, its harbours a diversity of floral and faunal species, some of which are listed as rare, threatened, or endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The forest is however under increasing pressure from human activities such as illegal logging, charcoal burning, poaching and overgrazing among other problems. The local communities who dwelt in the forest for a long time, voluntarily moved out of the forest after a series of sensitisation meeting were conducted. As a result, the local community is striving to find alternative livelihood options to alleviate pressure from the forest. Forest Conservation and Management Act, 2016 allows communities living adjacent to gazetted forests to form associations in order to collaborate with Kenya Forest Service in Sustainable management of forests in Kenya. The CFA in Kirisia is at its infancy and therefore still lack the capacity to adequately participate in forest management.
The main objective of this project is to strengthen the organisational and entrepreneurial capacities of the CFA for improve participation in the sustainable management of Kirisia forest. It also aims to provide alternative and sustainable livelihoods for the local communities for improved household income, food and nutrition security, and enhanced resilience of the pastoral communities to the ravaging impacts of climate change.
Project also aims to elevate the conservation status of Kirisia Forest through its designation as an Important Bird Area (IBA).
Anticipated project outputs include;
- Existing nature-based enterprises assessed
- Organizational capacity of CFAs strengthened
- Value chains for poultry, honey production and agroforestry developed
- Kirisia Forest recommended for designation as an IBA
Our achievements so far;
- 25 representatives of various user groups around Kirisia Forest trained on entrepreneurship
- 27 representatives of various bee keeping groups around Kirisia Forest trained on honey production value chain including apiary establishment and management, honey extraction, handling and value addition
- 27 representatives of various poultry groups around Kirisia Forest trained on poultry production and management
- 1,668 beneficiaries around Kirisia Forest trained on fruit trees and other high value fast growing agroforestry tree growing
- 1,305 beneficiaries around Kirisia Forest issued with various fruit and other high value agroforestry trees seedlings
- A dossier for designation of Kirisia Forest as an IBA prepared and submitted to the Global IBA secretariat for approval