For years, the Mpala Research Centre (MRC) and LWF have worked together on conservation and rangeland issues in Laikipia. But over time, the connection between the two organisations has become weakened as the relationship became less defined.
That’s now changing. Through each organisation’s new directors, the future looks better for applied research, citizen science and public information about research projects important to Laikipia.
Director of the MRC, Dr. Dino Martins, and Peter Hetz, LWF Executive Director, recently met to discuss how to strengthen their collaboration. MRC hosts a number of recent and long-term research projects that are not well known to LWF membership. Yet the results of some of the research work can help management decision-making in Laikipia.
Recent cooperation has focused on “TICK” Day – the presentation to farmers and communities of the results of tick research being done in Laikipia. The costs related to tick control and tick diseases have a big impact on the people of Laikipia.
There will be more accessible information on the results of the tick study as results emerge.
More recently, the collaboration extended to the Great Grevy’s Rally, where scientists at MRC made cameras and software available to help with the great rally to identify and count the endangered Grevy’s Zebras in Kenya. MRC and LWF were partners on this big event.
LWF and MRC will soon jointly sponsor an aerial sample survey of wildlife, livestock, land types and settlements in Laikipia, Lerogi, and Lewa. Working with NRT, we will extend the survey work into NRT conservancies in Isiolo, Marsabit and Samburu Counties. The aerial count will be conducted with the GOK, and takes place in early April 2016. The results of the survey will be shared with the public in efforts to help with wildlife conservation, and livestock/rangelands management. The last survey was conducted in 2012.
“I see the future of Mpala Research Centre to be the focus of all types of research that are needed in Laikipia,” says Dr. Martins. “We take this role very seriously, as it’s called for in the Kenya Constitution. We are an important source of information for the public and the County. We must support all forms of information that contribute to improvements in our social, economic, and natural systems. We see the role of LWF in helping us to identify these research topics, and to help in popularising the progress of these projects and their results.”
“As we move forward, watch for more collaboration between us on social, economic and ecological research that affects our members in Laikipia!” says, Peter Hetz. LWF and MRC will soon host a series of meetings to discuss these research priorities – with ranches in March, with community groups in April, and with Government authorities in May. Stay tuned for more information on locations and dates.