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Stakeholders Meeting on Opuntia stricta Management at Twala Cultural Manyatta, Ilpolei

Opuntia Stricta – prickly pear – remains an invasive species threat in Laikipia. Laikipia County Government has been in the forefront of discussions on how to address this invasive species. On February 22, 2019, the County Department of Water, Environment and Natural Resources, led the third follow-up stakeholder workshop to agree a way forward on the harmonization of the efforts different stakeholders are making towards management of Opuntia stricta.

The meeting was attended by different Laikipia and national stakeholders including community members from the group ranches most severely impacted by the plant, the Laikipia Wildlife Forum, ICRAF, Mpala Research Centre, World Vision, Laikipia Perma-Culture Center, Laikipia County Government, the Northern Rangelands Trust, Naibunga Conservancy, ILMAMUSI CFA, and GSD Innovation. Also in attendance at the meeting was the MCA for Mukogodo East Ward, Hon. Daniel Nyausi, who is also the Deputy Speaker of the County Assembly of Laikipia. He assured full County support to the invasive species management efforts. He also requested for a briefing paper to be presented to the County Assembly for lobbying of a County Policy on invasive species, and for the allocation of more budget for interventions in the 2019/2020 financial year.

Opuntia LWF

Meeting proceedings at Twala Cultural Manyatta

The major resolutions of the meeting included the combination of mechanical control, biological control, enterprise and policy formulation in the management of the invasive species. Laikipia County Government will continue to coordinate all the activities from the different stakeholders in the management of the invasive species. Stakeholders pledged to maintain frequent engagements and coordination in the management of the invasive species.

 

UPDATE!!

LWF is the recipient of a new grant through USAID and the Regional Center for Mapping Resources for Development (RCMRD). The grant will be administered by LWF and support the County’s efforts to monitor the Opuntia eradication efforts with the engagement of citizen science. The grant will commence in April 2019. Stand by for regular updates!

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Electric Fence Brings Hope To Health Centre In Arjiju, Mukogodo Forest

Mr Stephen Njoroge is the Health Officer in charge of Arjiju Health Center in Mukogodo, that has been fenced as part of Disney Project in Mukogodo Landscape.

My name is Stephen Njoroge, I am the doctor in charge of the Arjiju Community Health Centre. I came to Makurian Group Ranch, about five years ago.

When I first got here, this facility was experiencing a lot of challenges. Insecurity, human-wildlife conflict, lack of a maternity ward and there was an acute lack of water in the hospital.

There was a great challenge of insecurity because of free-roaming wild animals and especially the elephants. In fact, community members could not visit the health centre at night for fear of attack by wild animals.

Water was also an issue, a big one! This health centre was a hotspot because it had water tanks and made it a prime spot for the conflicts.

Despite the fact that we had a seasonal water pan in the community and a water storage unit in the hospital, elephants would come and drink the water. Herds trooped about the health centre at night and drank all the water from our tanks.  We would end up without any water to use in the hospital. Imagine a maternity ward without water!

About two years ago, the committee at Arjiju met to discuss how we were going to curb this challenge.  It was decided that we would put up a barbed-wire fence around the dispensary. This was done. But after a couple of weeks, the elephants came back and destroyed the fence and as usual went for the water tanks.

We had to find a solution, and I am glad that the committee was determined and ready to find solutions to this. When the chairman of Makurian Group Ranch mentioned that Disney Project would bring a new electric fence that would include the health centre, I was excited.

These past few months, seeing the poles up and finally, the electric wires being installed ,has our community very excited. That committee made a good call to include this health centre in the boundaries of the fence project.

With the electric fences now erected around the dispensary, we plan to pull down the old barbed-wired fences.

This year our water tanks will be full! I won’t have to worry about water when I get an emergency at the maternity ward at night.”

#Ends

The newly constructed solar-powered fence in Arjiju Village covers 45 hectares and is part of the Disney Conservation Fund implemented through The Laikipia Wildlife Forum at the larger Mukogodo landscape.

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Big step in Wildlife Monitoring for IlMAMUSI Rangers

ILMAMUSI CFA

Disney Project: The 12 rangers represent the four group ranches around Mukogodo Forest-Ilngwesi, Makurian, Mukogodo and Sieku

Twelve ILMAMUSI Community Forest Association (CFA) rangers underwent a 3-day training on the use of Geographical Positioning System (GPS) for wildlife monitoring, data collection, and reporting.

The training was held at the CFA headquarters – Loragai office in Laikipia North Sub County, was organized by LWF and assisted by the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT). The rangers were trained on the use of Wildlife-Conservancy Management Monitoring System (Wildlife-CoMMS) – a ranger-based monitoring tool for wildlife and illegal activities.

The 12 rangers represent the four group ranches around Mukogodo Forest (Ilngwesi, Makurian, Mukogodo and Sieku). They are divided into four patrol groups based on their area of scouting:

  • Ilngwesi block- with 4 Locations- Lokusero A/B, Upper Sanga, Nadungoro, Olmaroroi
  • Makurian block – with 3 Locations – Arjijo, Sepeyo, Lariakorok
  • Mukogodo block- with 6 Locations – Seek, Bokish, Toirai, Sior, Olorepirepi, Kuri-kuri.
  • Sieku/Lekurruki block- with 3 Locations – Ildorot, Naimarlal, Nadungoro.

The scouts will monitor and report on wildlife observations, wildlife carcasses, human-wildlife conflict cases, and illegal activities within the Mukogodo landscape.

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ILMAMUSI Chairman presents GPS gadgets to the Rangers after the training

“The introduction of GPS and monitoring system (Wildlife-CoMMS) is a big step in efforts to conserve the Mukogodo forest,” says ILMAMUSI CFA Coordinator, Samali Letai. He adds that these tools contribute to better understanding of wildlife movements, and can help to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts, as we will be able to report more accurately.”

The training exercise is part of the Disney Conservation Fund project activities funded through the Wildlife Conservation Society, through the Laikipia Wildlife Forum to mitigate Human-Elephant Conflicts with the support of  the ILMAMUSI CFA.

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Solar-Powered Fence Takes Shape in Arjiju Village

Disney Project

Margarate Wambua LWF Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, Wilfred Mejooli, Makuarian Rangelands Coordinator and Senteu Ole Kimiri ILMAMUSI CFA Manager take a walk along the pole line erected around the settlement area in Arjiju Village.

Community members residing in Arjiju Village, Mukogodo, have lived in harmony with elephants for decades. But changes in land use over the years, food security and population growth, Maasai communities have started practising small-scale agriculture.

Yet, Arjiju Village has not enjoyed a full maize crop because of elephants raids on their farms. With the village located at the periphery of Mukogodo forest, humans, livestock and wildlife share common resources such as water and pasture. Owing to competition for these resources, persistent Human-Elephant Conflicts (HEC) have been witnessed

A solar-powered fence on the Mukogodo landscape seeks to reduce the occurrence and frequency of Human-Elephant Conflict.

Construction of the fence is part of Disney Conservation Project is part of activities recommended by ILMAMUSI Community Forest Association during the initial consultative meetings.

ILMAMUSI

The community in Mukogodo previously used a barbed-wired fence to protect their crops

This fence is a trial effort and replaces a barbed-wire fence in an effort to protect farms produce and support livelihoods.

The poles are up and the electric wires will be installed in the next few weeks, as the project makes progress in Mukogodo. Almost 45 acres and the Village dispensary are enclosed by the Fence.

Community members in Arjiju met Laikipia County Governor, Mr. Ndiritu Murithi, where they held discussions on Human Wildlife Conflicts and how the solar-powered fencing can be used to benefit the community.

To learn more about the Arjiju Solar Fence or to learn more about the Disney supported Mukogodo Project, please contact:

Margaret Wambua

margaret.wambua@laikipia.org

+254 726 500 260

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Conservation Progress in Mukogodo Forest

Disney ProjectThomas Sakui Lekurruki Rangeland Coordinator presents wet season grazing plan for Lekkuruki Conservancy to the workshop attendants from Makurian, Il Ngwesi and Lekurruki.

Conservation and the protection of life and livelihoods took steps forward over the last month.

A workshop at Loragai Community Forest Association (CFA) Offices in the beginning of May discussed the progress on the Disney funded activities.

The meeting brought together the area chief, grazing committees, group ranch representatives, and the rangeland coordinators of 3 group ranches (Makurian, Lekurruki and IL Ngwesi) All are are beneficiaries of the first phase of the Disney funded project.  The workshop showed progress in the implementation of Disney Project -and illustrates a growing capacity of Il Mamusi CFA and participating conservancies to reduce Human-Elephant Conflict and Human-Wildlife Conflict in and around Mukogodo forest

Also present were representatives from Borana Conservancy, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) and Laikipia Wildlife Forum (LWF).

Rangeland coordinators have spent the month organizing meetings with community members in their group ranches on grazing plans and raising awareness on Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC). As a result of the meetings, grazing committees have been revived in these three group ranches as part of grazing land management and restoration.

The rangeland coordinators gave an update on the progress of individual group ranches:

Makurian Group Ranch

Community members in Makurian Group ranch have selected farms that will be fenced using a solar-powered electric fence to enable them to practice subsistence agriculture during the rainy season. The fence is designed to protect agriculture and people from elephants in particular.

The tendering process to procure a qualified fencing company was also completed, and Wisdom Agritechnic was awarded the tender based on criteria developed by members of the Disney Grant project steering committee.

The fencing work on the ground is expected to start in June and will take a period of 1 month. Labour will be provided by community members and an elected fencing committee will manage and monitor fence installation and management.

Lekurruki

In a meeting held in March, Lekurruki proposed to develop and protect Lontana spring to ensure that it continues to provide clean water to the community, livestock and wildlife.  In preparation, a spring protection survey was undertaken with support from Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP) and Geodev Solutions. They carried out a feasibility study to develop the engineering designs, and bill of quantity for the proposed works.

Water samples were collected during field survey to determine the water quality and to advise on measures to improve it for better health.

The spring is an important water resource for communities living in Anandunguru plains, Mukogodo Forest, as it supplies domestic and livestock water.

The survey report is expected in early June 2018 and will serve to launch the set of construction activities in the Forest.

Il Ngwesi

Several community awareness meetings have been held in Il Ngwesi since February 2018. The meetings have led to successful revival of grazing committees and grazing plans during dry and rainy season.

The group ranches have pledged their full support to the Disney Funded project activities to ensure the success of the project.

In the next few weeks, IL MAMUSI CFA rangers will undergo wildlife monitoring training facilitated by LWF and NRT. The training will help them to collect elephant monitoring data to determine the results of these activities on human-elephant movements and conflict.

The Disney Conservation Project is administered by LWF and delivered by IL MAMUSI with the support of the Wildlife Conservation Society in Kenya.

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Demarcation for the Solar-powered Fence in Mukogodo – a Step Closer to Mitigation of Human-Elephant Conflict

Disney Project Demarcation

Community members demarcating solar-powered fence in Arjiju village in an effort to mitigate Human-Elephant Conflicts.

Community members in Arjiju Village, in Mukogodo forest, met to discuss the fencing of a 2.75 Km2 area. They were joined by Laikipia Wildlife (LWF), Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and Borana Conservancy who are partners in the implementation of the ILMAMUSI Disney Conservation funded project.

The ILMAMUSI Disney Conservation Fund Project, implemented through Laikipia Wildlife Forum, seeks to reduce the occurrence of Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC) in the Mukogodo landscape.

During the meeting, KWS Officer however acknowledged cooperation from the Mukogodo community citing peaceful co-existence with wildlife despite challenges as result of competition for scarce resources.

Once the fence is up, the community will be able to farm and harvest their crops as the solar powered fence will deter the elephants from entering their crops.

The Arjiju community pledged their commitment to the completion and maintenance of the solar-powered fence and elected a 7 member fence committee which will oversee the implementation of the fence project led by a Fence Committee Chairman Mr.Nicholas Ole Kodei. Fence designs are aided by the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.

Strengthening the grazing committees in Il Ngwesi, Lekurruki and Makurian group ranches

In April, Several community meetings were also held in Il Ngwesi and Makurian group ranches with grazing committee elections conducted at Il Ngwesi group ranch as part of the implementation of Disney Conservation Fund Project.

The grazing committees oversee the implementation of grazing plans within the group ranches to prevent overgrazing and conflicts over grazing areas.

Implementation of these targeted project activities is ongoing in the group ranches with the community members and leaders working actively with ILMAMUSI Community Forest Association (CFA) to ensure the success of the grazing plans. Grazing land management and restoration are seen as key to a healthy landscape. Healthy landscapes support better wildlife management, and can reduce the amount of conflict between people, livestock and wildlife over resources.

Northern Rangers Trust (NRT) rangeland coordinator has also been working closely with the ILMAMUSI CFA project manager to create awareness on the mitigation of Human-Elephant Conflicts and grazing land management.

All aspects of this Project are dependent on the future security of the area. Recent insecurity, cattle thefts, and intimidation continue to plague the area, making it challenging to secure livelihoods and the Mukogodo Water Tower.

The Disney Conservation Project is delivered to LWF and Il Mamusi through the Wildlife Conservation Society in Kenya.