Mending fences

Wondering what the County is up to in its obligation to help build fences that protect wildlife, people, and property? Here’s a quick update of the status of the two major fence construction projects supported by Laikipia County Government, Space for Giants, ranchers, communities, BATUK, and the Laikipia Wildlife Forum.

Rumuruti Forest Fence – The Rumuruti forest covers an area of 6,500 hectares. It is managed by the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) in conjunction with the Rumuruti Community Forest Association (CFA). Most of the local communities living adjacent to the forest rely on it for their daily needs. There are more than 67 km of fence surrounding this forest, and the fence is divided into sections. These sections have different lengths and face different challenges, making the maintenance of the entire fence a particularly complicated issue.

The sections of the fence include seven community sections – Melwa, Lorien, Salama, Mahianyu, Rwathia, Siron and Bondeni. About 2 thousand households are impacted by this fence. Because of the various wildlife and access challenges facing each section and its corresponding community, the County Government of Laikipia has decided to assist. They have put aside 97 million towards upgrading the fence. To date, only two new sections have been installed but are not complete. Some of these new sections have had more success than others. The Mahianyu section has only experienced one breakage since the new fence was installed. The Melwa section has suffered many challenges due to lack of community engagement and ownership, conflicts with grazers, poor solar power supply and political interference.

LWF has had a hand in mitigating some of the problems facing community members living by the fence. We have given out fence maintenance materials to the fence committees of Siron, Bondeni, Matigari, Lorian, Mahianyu and Salama. They have all worked very hard to maintain their fences but still face many challenges in mending them.

In a February meeting held by LWF for the Rumuruti Fence stakeholders, community members were able to voice their concerns about the various challenges affecting their fence sections. We worked with these stakeholders to identify problems associated with their fence sections and to come up with solutions. The issues raised by those at the meeting were many.

  • Fence ownership.
  • Community participation.
  • Repairs and maintenance.
  • Vandalism by herders.
  • Lack of resources for fence committees.
  • Reluctance by Rumuruti communities to support forest conservation, anti-poaching and sustainable use of forest resources.
  • Lack of clear ownership of the forest and the fences which causes confusion about who is responsible for maintenance.

Constructing wildlife fences and keeping them maintained is a real cost to any community. That is why the planning that goes into such wildlife fences must carefully address both wildlife and community needs. Some of the resolutions reached during the Rumuruti community meetings included assigning roles and responsibilities to different stakeholders for the construction and maintenance of these fences. A decision was made to identify all the challenges, and work towards finding solutions. The area chiefs together with KFS, KWS and LWF will hold community barazas in all the seven sections of the fence to create awareness about the Rumuruti Fence Project going forward. This team will encourage the community fence committees to take charge of the fence and to understand the costs, the organization, and the roles and responsibilities of each partner in the success of a wildlife fence project.

West Laikipia Fence

The West Laikipia Fence was originally constructed by LWF in collaboration with KWS and surrounding landowners, through funding from the Kenyan Government and the Royal Netherlands Embassy, in 2007. Currently, over 70% of the sections of this fence are performing poorly, or absent completely.

Last year (2015), with the assistance of Space for Giants, the Laikipia County Government formed a Human-Elephant Conflict/West Laikipia Fence Task Force to address the problems with the West Laikipia Fence. The Task Force includes private land users, KWS, LWF, BATUK, Space for Giants, and County Government. Three sections of the West Laikipia Fence are targeted for repair/reconstruction: ADC, Ngorare, and Laikipia Nature Conservancy. After two years, these new fence sections will be privately owned and maintained in partnership with communities outside the fence sections. 43 Million Kenya Shillings from County Government have been committed to this fencing project. The balance of the 90+ million KSH project is coming from Task Force partners.

As of the beginning of March 2016, a consulting firm contracted to complete the Environmental Impact Assessment completed its report. The EIA was submitted to the National Environmental Management Authority for approval.

During the first three months of 2016, the County Government awarded a contract for the supply of fencing materials. The new fence construction will start at the Laikipia Nature Conservancy. The Task Force received the first delivery of fencing poles procured by the County Government at the District Officer’s compound at Kinamba.

The Task Force is using five tools to ensure the success of the West Laikipia Fence; (1) fence construction agreements with ranches; (2) fence maintenance contracts with ranches; (3) community engagement protocols; (4) fence vandalism protocols that are enforced under the law will be developed with county law enforcement officials; and (5) public information and awareness efforts.

Stay tuned for more Mending Fences update in future editions and on our website at www.laikipia.org.

Mending fences

Building Climate-Smart Schools in Laikipia Eligah Mutanda, Zeitz Foundation

More than 320 students and teachers from Ereri Primary School in Segera will soon benefit from a newly constructed rain water harvesting building. It has been constructed by the Zeitz Foundation will be opened on the 14th of April this year in a ceremony attended by local and national leaders as well as hundreds of community members and school parents.

Ereri School is the sixth such building created by the Segera-based foundation. The building sits on top of a 100,000 litre reservoir and has five classrooms, two teacher offices and a courtyard that is easily transformed into a theatre/performance space.

The first water-bank school was built and opened in 2012 at Uaso Nyiro Primary School by the Zeitz Foundation with additional funding from Guernsey Overseas Aid Commission. The concept was to create a unique, low-cost rain-harvesting building known as a ‘water bank’. The name comes from the building’s capacity to harvest and store high volumes of water for long periods of time. This particular water bank can harvest up to 360,000 litres in a year. In 2013 it won the US Green Building Council’s “Greenest School on Earth Award” and was featured on the sustainable solutions website “Sustainia 100”.

Building Smart Schools

A second and much more ambitious project is the Laikipia Unity Football Academy at Endana Secondary School. The stadium is also designed to harvest rain, and has a storage capacity of more than 1.5 million liters underneath the playing surface! Teams can engage in 5-a-side football and volleyball games, and the stadium has seating for 1500 people.

The structure also houses administration rooms, classrooms and an environmental education classroom. The buildings are an innovative approach at dealing with one of Africa’s most pressing problems: finding clean drinking water. At the same time they provide a great source of fun and entertainment through sports. This school can harvest 2 million liters of water a year. Not bad for a semi-arid region that receives 550mm rainfall in the same period!

In communities where the effects of climate change can cause prolonged drought and erratic weather, rainfall water-banking in public buildings and community spaces is a great way to demonstrate how communities can become more resilient in the face of dwindling water supplies. Stay tuned for next month’s issue of Forum Focus where we cover the events of the opening ceremony.

Water partnership

Addressing Water Security in the Upper Ewaso Ngiro Basin

In the last ten years, many actors have been working to address the challenges facing water resource management in the country. There has been a lot of progress in Kenya with regards to how we manage our water, reflected in the Water Policy of 1999, the Water Act of 2002 and Water Rules of 2007. Stakeholder participation has improved with the establishment of Water Resources Users Associations (WRUAs) and Catchment Area Advisory Committees (CAACs).

Kenya’s set-up of water resource management focuses on a drainage and sub-drainage system. The Laikipia ecosystem lies in the Ewaso Ngiro North Catchment Area (ENNCA) of which over 90% is classified as arid and semi-arid land. In this region, 65 WRUAs have been established with 34 from the upper basin, an area which has a high concentration of the catchment’s water resources. There is also a high population density in this section of the catchment, which means the water resources are heavily utilized. This has given rise to conflict.

Water Partnership

Despite efforts by WRUAs, water resources still remain under extreme pressure. The population continues to increase with socio-economic activities such as commercial irrigation increasing the demand significantly. This trend is clearly documented in the National Water Master Plan (NWMP) that has projected annual surface water deficit for ENNCA to be 2,442 Million Cubic Meters (MCM) by 2030. This will be more than 3000% increase from the 2010 deficit of only 68 MCM, the highest rate of rise in the country.

As part of the push to address this growing water crisis, representatives from the private and public sector of the ENNCA got together at the end of last year for a one day session sponsored by LWF and facilitated by Rural Focus Ltd. The outcome of this meeting was the understanding that there are serious water risks in the region and that these risks are shared everyone. Mitigating these risks requires collective action. The meeting revealed a need for a public-private partnership which will address water access, use, management and conservation in the Upper Ewaso Ngiro North Catchment area.

A dedicated taskforce was created to deliver the Partnership’s terms of references. This team of 10 people met in February and came up with a plan that outlines the goals, purposes, principles and actions for this voluntary partnership. Dubbed the “Upper Ewaso Ngiro North Water Partnership”, this charter will be presented to the membership for adoption. LWF will serve as a secretariat to this partnership to support its establishment.

Horses and Peaks: The Mount Kenya Horse Patrol Team

Mount Kenya Trust rangers and supporters plan to summit the three peaks of Mount Kenya in order to raise funds for the Mount Kenya Trust Horse Patrol Team.

Mount Kenya is synonymous with the landscape of Laikipia. This protected area consists of the Mount Kenya National Park and surrounding forest reserves, and is designated as a World Heritage Site. It is recognised in Vision 2030 as one of Kenya’s most important ‘water towers’-a key water catchment area for the Tana and Ewaso Ng’iro rivers- with moorlands and forest providing water resources that are essential to Kenya’s economic and environmental health.

Since 1999, the Mount Kenya Trust (MKT) has been working to protect the habitats and wildlife of the mountain through collaboration with key government agencies. These include the Kenya Wildlife Service and Kenya Forest Service as well as local communities and NGOs.  The Trust uses patrols and electric fences to protect wildlife and people from one another.

The MKT operates five patrol and fence maintenance teams. The members of these teams are employed from the communities that border the reserve. Communities include Ntirimiti or Kibirichia located to the east of the Mount Kenya Elephant Corridor, and Marania and Kisima Farms. The teams are managed in close collaboration with the Kenya Wildlife Service’s Mount Kenya division.  One of these teams conducts patrols on horseback, and they operate from a base built on the edge of the northern moorlands which was kindly donated by Kisima Farm. The team is known as the Horse Patrol Team.

Horses and peaks Rangers and their horses

During a recent visit by KWS, the Mount Kenya Senior Warden, Simon Gitau, called for the expansion of the Horse Patrol Team and pledged to add armed rangers to the team. In order to achieve this level of expansion, members of the MKT have joined forced with mountain guides from African Ascents to undertake a fundraising climb which will summit the three peaks of Mount Kenya. The expedition has been branded the Mount Kenya Three Peaks Challenge. It will involve a six day trek with over 2,000 feet of technical climbing.

History of the team

The Horse Patrol Team currently consists of five community wildlife officers, mostly employed from nearby Meru County. Many of these officers had never even seen a horse before. Now they know and love the ten ponies under their care. Eight of these ponies were imported from Ethiopia, and a further two were kindly donated by Charlie Wheeler of Ngare Ndare.

Gelvas, the latest team member to join the Horse Patrol talks of working with the horses, which he describes as “good animals that help us to patrol the forests and protect the water catchments”.

The Horse Patrol Team covers an area of northern moorlands that was once badly poached and included other illegal activities. Previously, the KWS have been under-resourced in this region. Yet the activities of the HPT have started to have a significant effect. During the course of their work, the team has cleared many hundreds of snares and made several arrests and recoveries of bush meat and other prohibited forest products. The members of the patrol team also act as the eyes and ears of the area, reporting bushfires and illegal livestock, all the while keeping KWS and local community members informed.

The Horse Patrol Team is entirely donor funded. Key donors include the International Fund for Elephants, Seneca Park Zoo and Tusk Trust.

Mount Kenya Trust

The Trust works to protect biodiversity and improve the livelihoods of individuals living in nearby communities.

Today the MKT’s work spreads over several programmes. These include community education, awareness, and family planning, tree planting and reforestation, habitat connectivity projects, human-wildlife conflict mitigation, and illegal activity monitoring and reduction.

In addition to the Horse Patrol Team, MKT helps with the continued monitoring and protection of elephants using the Mount Kenya Elephant Corridor, and supervises the fencing of the Imenti Forest Reserve as a part of the Rhino Ark Mount Kenya Comprehensive Fence Project.

Lives of Laikipia: Geoffrey Chege

I always knew that I wanted to work in conservation, and that is why my studies had to involve some aspect of conservation and Wildlife Management. After completing my education, I was lucky enough to get an internship with Earthwatch, which eventually led me to the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. I think of how young I was when I started out and sometimes I laugh to myself because I was so green- only 23- and yet to this day I have never thought of leaving! I am now the Conservancy’s Conservation and Wildlife Manager. I oversee the research and monitoring of all wildlife and their habitats on Lewa and the greater conservation area. I am also part of a team implementing the conservation education programme.

It is fun and exciting interacting with young learners who also want to be involved in conservation. One of the most amazing projects I have worked on so far was a team effort assisting Lewa to attain its UNESCO World Heritage Status in 2013 and the IUCN Green Listing the following year. Lewa is one of only two conservancies in Africa to receive this honourable designation. Words cannot explain how proud I was! But I do not want to give the impression that such things happen easily. There have been many challenges getting to this point. There were times when I thought that I would not be able to achieve half of the things I set out to do, such as reintroducing black rhinos to previously inhabited areas. I am a member of the African Rhino Specialist Group, and it makes me proud- it makes me strive to encourage young people who visit the conservancy to stick to their dreams no matter how hard the journey.

WILD CLASS: LEWA

“How many different species of animals did you see coming into Lewa Wildlife Conservancy?”

Wild Class visits Lewa Wildlife Conservancy – another destination for Kenya schools as part of the Laikipia Wild Class offering.

The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy’s Conservation Education Programme is an effort that was developed to educate young people from local communities about conservation and the value of wildlife. Established in 2010, the programme aims to provide a holistic and progressive environmental education for visiting school groups. Lewa hosts most of its student visitors from northern Kenya and beyond. They are all about producing behaviour that benefits conservation among the next generation of Kenyan citizens.

A quick chat with any teacher accompanying students on these trips will reveal that it’s a rare opportunity for most pupils to enjoy, and one they definitely do not take for granted. What’s great about the LEWA programme is that it has clearly demonstrated what conservation education is all about: getting up close and personal with nature.

The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is one of many notable conservation education destinations in Laikipia. It uses information about the surrounding area, its geography and local habitats to challenge young minds. It introduces new ideas about conservation and works to develop common attitudes among visitors towards it. School children go through learning experiences that are outdoor, nature-based. Their intention is to create a deep appreciation of the diversity of plants and animals that populate the Conservancy and its surroundings.

As part of their efforts in the communities surrounding Lewa, the Conservancy sends a Conservation Education Coordinator to schools to follow-up on lessons learned in the Conservancy. School-based efforts include activities that support environmental learning and action.

Between June 2013 and May 2014, Lewa was able to open wildlife clubs in 10 schools surrounding the Conservancy. The students in these clubs are now committed to environmental conservation not only in theory, but also in practice within their surrounding communities. They have taken on the responsibility of educating their fellow students, parents, and community members about the importance of wildlife conservation and its benefits.

Laikipia is blessed with a diverse wildlife and distinctive landscapes. These qualities combined with unique land uses of the area make it the perfect “outdoor classroom”. So how does Laikipia Wildlife Forum fit into this? Laikipia Wildlife Forum is pioneering an idea which invests in locations where experiential learning is another form of land use, where learning takes place without walls, and where pupils and teachers join with farmers, ranchers, and conservationists to learn about their surroundings and livelihoods. Wild Class is born!

Wild Class is a collaborative effort of more than 10 conservation learning destinations in Laikipia. Each is working to offer a unique set of learning opportunities for students and teachers. And they all belong to the growing network of conservation education facilities, programmes, and specialists that belong to Wild Class. Stay tuned to learn more about Wild Class in upcoming communications.

Twiga Tally Results

Early in March, children from Nairobi and Laikipia were given a wonderful opportunity to participate in a fun wildlife research project. In an event dubbed the “Kids Twiga Challenge”, a diverse group of kids from a variety of backgrounds were able to contribute to conservation education and learning in Laikipia by helping scientists to study the population of giraffe in Laikipia.

The event was organized by Wildlife Direct, Mpala Research Centre, Laikipia Wildlife Forum, Princeton and Columbia Universities as well as by researchers who are in the process of developing the IBEIS (Image Based Ecological Identification System) which the children used to “count” the giraffe.

The first results of the survey demonstrated that there were more giraffe found in conservancies where wildlife management was more of a priority, in comparison to community group ranches. The information collected will be useful for future planning on conservation, community engagement and further understanding wildlife behaviour. Because of the success of the tally, more schools have expressed an interest in participating in an event like this again. LWF’s Wild Class will help make this happen, by giving children the opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way both to science and to the land around them.

Twiga kids

Manual Extraction of the Invasive Prickly Pear a Possibility

The prickly pear, or Opuntia, is taking over our rangelands!

Brought into Kenya’s Northern Laikipia territory over 40 years ago to be used as a live fence on ranches, the prickly pear has kept out trespassers and indicated land boundaries.

Today the prickly pear demonstrates a natural aggressiveness and occupies vast stretches of land, displacing pasture and taking over indigenous plants. The fruits produced by the cacti attract livestock and humans alike with their sweet flesh. This is part of the reason why the plant has spread like wildfire in such a short period of time.

Last year the Cochineal (Dactylopius coccus) a “super bug” that originates from South America and Mexico, was introduced in Laikipia. Many people hoped it would wipe out Opuntia. The cochineal is an insect specific to one species of prickly pear. It can heavily infest the prickly pear leaves, destroying the plant gradually until it finally dies.

The female inserts a tube into the pad, much like putting a straw into a soda. She sucks the plant dry. This is the way she obtains nourishment. She also secretes a white, web-like material over the plant for camouflage and to prevent the plant she is feeding on from drying out too quickly.

Manual extraction of Opuntia

In April 2015, John Weller from Ol Jogi Conservancy, together with Dr. Arne Witt from the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences (CABI), Prof. Geoffrey Wahungu, the Director General of NEMA, Laikipia local government, and community groups officially launched the first public release of the Cochineal insect after 2 years of intense trials.

But uptake of the Cochineal insect among ranches has been really slow, and the insect spreads even more slowly. Since prickly pear displaces natural vegetation and grasslands, what is the best thing to be done?

In a meeting held on February 2016, group ranches Musul, Ilmotiok, Ilpolei, Morupusi and Munishoi came together. With the participation of the Laikipia Wildlife Forum, Northern Rangelands Trust, the National Environmental Management Authority, Laikipia County Government, rangeland officers and representatives of Suiyan Ranch, the groups met under the leadership of the International Conservation Caucus Foundation supported by USAID, to discuss the manual removal of Opuntia. Using methods recommended by the County Government and tried and tested by ranch managers in Laikipia, the County pledged to support manual destruction trials under the new financial year budget through the ministry of Natural Resources.

Opuntia spreads remarkably fast especially when baboons and elephants move across the landscape. Livestock are affected if they eat the fruit of the Opuntia. Eating the prickly pear can destroy their digestive systems.

The negative impact to our lands from the cactus is undeniable. We must look at additional ways to reduce the effects of the plant on our grasslands, our livestock and our livelihoods. It is for this reason that additional solutions must be implemented to increase the rate at which the plant is destroyed.

Many species of invasive plants cost the County significant loss of grasslands and revenue from livestock. LWF plans to include invasive species management and eradication as part of its future rangelands management programming in Laikipia.

LWF Strategic planning update

What’s in a Name?

For many in Laikipia, the use of the word “wildlife” with regards to Laikipia Wildlife Forum has always meant a preference for “wanyama wa pori”, or wild animals, for the custodians of our large tracts of rangelands. This is only partly true.

LWF has long served a wide variety of members without any direct relationship to wildlife.

We have supported peace and security efforts among conflicted areas – both human and wildlife.

We have supported healthy rangelands, and worked with 26 water resource user associations to manage and conserve scarce water resources.

We have helped members build new enterprises based on the generosity of Mother Nature, and we’ve helped tourism to grow in Laikipia as a new form of land use, to generate income and employment.

These are hardly “straight-up wildlife” programs- they are varied and targeted at both human communities and the animals that share the land with them.

Strategic Planning

The main focus of LWF has always been its “Mission” – to conserve Laikipia’s wildlife and ecosystem integrity and improve the lives of its people. It’s because of our land use and our approach to land management as custodians that we are able to extend benefits to Laikipians. Here are a few examples:

Pure ranching and mixed ranching produce almost 3 billion KSH per year in Laikipia. An additional 650 million KSH are spent on supplies and inputs. Almost 775 million shillings are spent on wages. And more than 160M KSH are used to pay taxes at national and local levels.

Tourism facilities in Laikipia have historically generated more than KSH 320 million per year in the semi-arid and arid areas of Laikipia. They spend at least KSH 150M on local supplies. They pay a minimum of KSH 55 million in wages, with most employees being local. And tourism land use contributes at least 13M KSH in taxes per year for national and local authorities.

Custodians of large acreages in Laikipia have typically paid more than 200M KSH each year into their vicinities in the form of infrastructure, services, and development. Most of this comes from wildlife tourists and wealthy friends who believe that wildlife and people can live together. Other parts of this annual payment come from land holders who have plenty and choose to share it because they believe in being good neighbours.

Because large areas of land are kept as rangelands that tolerate or encourage wildlife, we benefit. We benefit from food, from employment, from tax revenues, from development, and from the conservation of our national and world wildlife heritage.

As we continue to consider “what’s in our name”, as part of our strategic planning about LWF’s future, you can expect both our focus, and yes, even our name to change.

We are moving towards greater membership engagement in projects of your making.

We are moving towards stronger neighbourhoods to make a greater impact on projects and programs that benefit everyone who live in them.

We are moving towards greater engagement with County Government and our county neighbours, to improve our land use planning and management, and to make our management of resources more sustainable both inside and outside of county lines.

So far, our strategic planning has shown that our members want to be stewards of their own environment, custodians of their land, and caretakers of our heritage.

Certainly, that can’t be a bad thing.

The Future of Laikipia’s Rangelands

Laikipia has always been a rangeland. For as long as people can remember, the plateau of Laikipia has been a location of low rainfall, abundant grasses, livestock, and wildlife.

In previous editions of the Forum Focus, we have presented LWF’s efforts to rehabilitate grasslands in parts of Laikipia through a seven-year programme of Holistic Management (HM). These efforts focused on the group ranches of the Naibunga, Il Ngewsi and Lekurruki Conservancies. The results of this work were presented at last year’s LWF Annual General Meeting.

An evaluation of the holistic management programme showed that people had improved their knowledge and attitude towards adoption of HM. However, most felt that efforts to manage group ranch rangelands last year were a failure. Their struggles to hold on to grass reserves and enforce grazing plans were undermined by livestock keepers and herders from outside the county.

Residents of these group ranches also believe they are worse off than five years ago, despite efforts to practice HM.

The Forum Focus has also presented the importance of grass for inter-county peace. In 2015, we had approximately 450,000 visiting livestock, and some 3,000 herders and their families visit Laikipia. Fifty-two human deaths resulted from conflicts over grass and water in this county, much of it unreported by the media or officials.

Rangelands

So what’s the future of our rangelands? 90% of Laikipia is “high and dry” – mostly too dry or too high for cultivation. 75% of the land is used for ranching and livestock. 5% of this total of dry land is dedicated to wildlife tourism alone. Thus Laikipia’s future is linked to the future of its rangelands.

Ranching, livestock, and rangelands members of the LWF see the future of Laikipia relying on 4 things:

One – Linking the rangeland management efforts of Laikipia with our county neighbours in Baringo, Samburu, Isiolo, and Marsabit. We have a responsibility to work with neighbouring counties to address rangelands and livestock across the Ewaso and Baringo landscapes. We can’t solve our rangeland management problems in Laikipia by isolating ourselves. We must find ways of working between counties so that the approach to grass and water access is part of a regional plan to keep rangelands alive and healthy, and people peaceful.

Two – Grazing Plans. For centuries, pastoralist peoples of Kenya have used Laikipia as a dry-season grazing reserve, and vice-versa. It wasn’t so long ago that Laikipians (both European and African) who suffered from drought sought assistance from their neighbours to the north. They took cattle from Laikipia to greener pastures in the lands now belonging to the Samburu and Rendille. But right now there is nothing but confusion surrounding access, such as how much livestock can enter different sections of the rangelands, who pays how much for this access, and how water and grass are shared. We must stop this confusion, and bring common sense, organization, and clearly defined rules into our rangelands. We need people to respect community grazing plans. We also need to develop conservancy grazing plans and county grazing plans that respect larger areas of our rangelands. These plans need to guide the distribution of livestock and the movement of people legally, effectively and safely over the landscape.

Three – Holistic Management. LWF believes that the future success of our rangelands’ health lies within us. By this we mean that the future of our rangelands is within our hands and our experience. We believe that rangeland health can be revived using local knowledge and techniques, and that livestock and wildlife are part of the solution, not the problem. The cornerstones of holistic management already exist in Laikipia and in our rangelands system. We just need to focus on them and make them stronger.

  • Successful rangelands management depends on strong social institutions. We are stronger and more successful together than as individuals, thus we must come together.
  • Our rangelands require us to restore soil health and increase biodiversity. We can do this better through the use of livestock and planned grazing.
  • Managing livestock the numbers of livestock, the time they spend grazing, and the density at which they graze are all key to rangelands management.  We must learn how to better manage livestock reproduction, fattening, marketing, sales, and reinvestment.
  • We can no longer avoid the need to plan our use of the land, and the location and density of our infrastructure. Our population is too big and growing too fast to ignore the role that smart land use planning plays in the success of our rangelands.

The ILngwesi grazing management Supervisor, Mr. Siparo Kinyaga believes that Holistic Management practice is neither easy nor difficult but totally depends how one prepares one’s heart for the job. He thinks people must avoid politicking amongst each other. He encourages people to share information and decisions on grazing plans, and be tolerant of one another.

Four – Build Capacity and Knowledge. We are all smart in our own way. But we must possess some new skills and must work together to improve people’s access to new information and skills.

Mzee Ole Nomboyo of ILpolei claims that communities can easily succeed with their planned grazing so long as they are well informed and are well aware of what is happening.

Laikipia has a role to play in being a hub for training and information sharing on rangelands rehabilitation, management, and holistic management. We need to build a culture of respect for herding, livestock management, and grass and soil management. Laikipia can lead the way, and show ourselves, our neighbours, all Kenyans, and the world that rangelands and nature are alive and well in Laikipia, Kenya.

The Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT), the Grevy’s Zebra Trust, and LWF are joining together to address these issues. As rangelands and conservation leaders in this landscape, we are combining skills, people, and resources to improve rangelands management and rehabilitation.

We invite others to join us.

ILngwesi senior grazing management committee member and supervisor,

Mr. Ole Tunkai says that holistic management is the best practice he has ever seen.

He advises people to stand firm and fulfil what they have been tasked by the community as their responsibility. He cautions not to let anyone distract you from doing what you are supposed to do. Leadership roles are always accompanied by criticism, so, take a firm stand!

ILngwesi/Lchurrai sub –area senior grazing management committee member,

Mr. Keshine says, “The community which we had relied on for support kept failing us. We therefore made the decision to take the lead by combining our own leaders’ herds, and that made others follow in our footprints.” He insists that you must work hard as hard work earns.

“We have not increased the size of the land but through this management, we have been able to increase the land-yield in the form of grass and livestock populations.