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Combating Human Elephant Conflict in Mukogodo Forest

ILMAMUSI Rangers and community members learn about digital camera traps before installation

The Wildlife Conservation Society/Disney Foundation has been supporting ILMAMUSI CFA through the Laikipia Wildlife Forum for the last 3 years to reduce human elephant conflict within and around Mukogodo Forest.

The efforts center around solar powered fencing, support to development of grazing plans, and spring protection. Springs are often where people and wildlife meet and mix, often to the disadvantage of each.

In 2019 a spring protection project was completed in Sieku Location, Nandungoro area. Loontana spring had previously been an area of Human-Elephant Conflicts because it is a major source of water for domestic, livestock and wildlife use, particularly during the dry season.

Community members have reported several cases of elephants at the dedicated livestock/wildlife drinking area. Camera traps are now being used to monitor use of the springs and water access points.

The camera traps will supplement information being collected by ILMAMUSI CFA rangers and the Loontana water committee on wildlife sightings, the frequency of wildlife use of the spring and potential conflicts.

Night image of Hyenas at the water point as captured by the camera trap

Installation of the camera traps requires community engagement. Community members were sensitized on wildlife monitoring using camera traps, and to help in making sure the camera traps are secure. Five Loontana spring water committee members and three ILMAMUSI CFA rangers were involved in the training and operation of the camera traps.

45 households of Nandungoro village (some 300 people) in the Mukogodo Forest, rely on water from Loontana spring for domestic and livestock use. Disney has supported the project that pumps water from the spring site to a community water point where household water collectors are separated from potential conflicts with wildlife.

This initiative is supported by

and implemented by Laikipia Forum with the  support of

                                                         

 

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Electronic Tagging of Livestock in Laikipia County

The Laikipia County Department of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, in partnership with the Kenya Directorate of Veterinary Services, and the World Vision – Imara Program, has embarked on a livestock identification and traceability system programme in the County.

The process involves tagging every animal with an electronic tag that is GPRS enabled. The tag also carries with it the farmer’s name, vaccination history, age, type, location and the colour of the animal.

“This will significantly improve the quality of animals and their prices in our County. With assurance of the animal’s vaccination history and ownership, market price will improve and so will farmer’s income,” James Mugere, CO, Department of Agriculture explained.

The success of these efforts is predicated on farmers owning these efforts, understanding the benefits of tagging and how that will impact on their economy and security of their animals.

To address this, veterinary officers have been trained about the system operations. In return, they have trained representatives from 13 Community ranches (in Doldol) about the Identification and traceability process – benefits of acquiring the identification and animal tags.

Speaking at the first tagging exercise in Segera last week on Friday, The Kenya Commercial Bank Foundation, Livestock Programme Manager, Mr. Bernard Barasa, said that farmers and ranchers can benefit with loans from the Foundation at zero interest among other benefits.

Laikipia is the pioneer of this exercise and while the target is 10,000 heads of cattle, the overall objective is every animal in Laikipia County to be tagged in the system.

This effort was pioneered by the Oramat Lenaboisho Cooperative Society some three years ago,  but was stopped when the GOK disallowed GPRS chipping in livestock as a health hazard.

The expectation is that tagging will add value to our livestock industry through traceability, and improve the security of livestock through the same system.

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Strengthening Resilience The Maji Chap Chap Loan By EMU-SACCO

 

EMU-SACCO member, Agnes Wambui receives her loan cheque becoming the first beneficiary of maji chap chap loans. Onlooking are the SACCOs management team

Environmental shocks such as droughts and flooding can cause problems for any community. But communities whose livelihoods depend on scarce resources and are poor are particularly vulnerable.

In the Ewaso Basin, where its population depends on agriculture for their livelihoods, recurrent droughts and floods are increasingly creating poverty traps for many households.

Poverty and hunger alleviation is still the dominant issue among rural communities. Rain-fed agriculture provides food and livelihoods for both the rural and urban population. A shift from reliance on rain-fed agriculture in conventional smallholder farming systems can provide a win-win solution. A shift to greater water security can secure crop production, and enable other much-needed investments in nutrients, weeding, seed quality, and better management operations.

Agnes Wambui a farmer from Umande ward, practices rain-fed agriculture.  Being a riparian land owner, she also irrigates her crops from the Sirimon River. But there are times when she has lost her crops due to prolonged droughts. During such times the river dries up completely, often due to over- abstraction. Agnes narrated how she lost acres of onions and cabbages multiple times due to prolonged droughts.

Storing rain and flood water for dry season irrigation is not accessible to many farmers, as their rain-fed production history makes them unattractive to commercial banks.

Ewaso Maji Users Savings and Credit Sacco (EMU SACCO) was developed to expand financial access to small holder farmers specifically for water storage and irrigation infrastructure by expanding the ‘Maji Chap Chap’ credit product developed to provide small loans to farmers to transition to irrigated production from secure water storage on their farms.

The classic SACCO credit model uses member equity and member co-guarantees to provide loans to non-traditional borrowers, who lack bankable credit histories and collateral.

The EMU SACCO provides a credible vehicle for small holder farmers like Agnes to partner with private sector and donors to reduce financial barriers while using farming expertise to mitigate lending risks and linking farmers with suppliers offering preferential rates on irrigation and water storage supplies.

Private sector and donor support is combined with members’ contributions to capitalize the loan facility and to provide technical farming support services. EMU SACCO revenue is derived from interest on loans and capital. Maji Chap Chap is specifically targeted at competent small holder farmers with a rain fed production history who aspire to an irrigated production future.

Although demand driven, marketing of the credit products focuses on women and youth. Lending risks are mitigated through a rigorous appraisal process that assesses eligibility, character, farming competence and business risks and supports farmers along the pathway to become successful irrigation farmers. Gross margins are 300% higher from irrigated agriculture than from rain-fed small holder farming making loan repayments affordable over a 5-year return period at a competitive interest of 6% (business loans with commercial banks currently charge about 12% or more).

Agnes was the first beneficiary of the Maji Chap Chap loan and she is currently working with EMU SACCO’s technical department that came in handy to assist members with the technical expertise they need on the ground. Agnes will acquire a million liter water pan that will bring her woes of being rain- dependent farmer to an end.

The EMU Sacco operates independently but is supported by the Mt. Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership and the Laikipia Forum.

                                                    

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Rehabilitation of Nanyuki and Likii Rivers For a Greener Future

Deputy County Commissioner, Esther Mwamure, (LEFT) plants a tree during the Rivers Nanyuki and Likii rehabilitation launch

“Plant a tree and leave a green legacy,” Deputy County Commissioner, Esther Mwamure.

Storm Water and Environment Management Forum (SWEMF) is a Community Based Organization, initiated by Francis Githui, and was registered in 2018. They have been at the forefront of efforts for environmental conservation and management along our local rivers. SWEMF aims to rehabilitate and conserve various riparian lands including those of Likii and  Nanyuki Rivers.

On 24th October 2020, SWEMF invited their partners for the official launch of the rehabilitation of 9.8 Kilometres of Nanyuki river and 8.5km of the Likii river.

The event brought together partners such as

  • Hearts of Green
  • Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership
  • Mount Kenya Trust
  • Kenya Water Towers
  • Nanyuki WRUA
  • BATUK
  • William Holden
  • Youth Affairs department, NEMA
  • Water Resources Authority (WRA)
  • Laikipia County’s Ministry of Water Environment and Natural Resources as well as the National Government.

Pollution, deforestation and encroachment have riddled these river areas. During the campaign, people were encouraged to embrace sustainable building technologies and to avoid construction in riparian areas. People were also discouraged from carrying out their farming activities on riparian areas as this results in river pollution, especially for downstream water users.

Esther Mwamure, Deputy County Commissioner Laikipia, pointed out that the Kazi Mtaani youths involved in the initiative, had already removed more than 100 tonnes of garbage from the Nanyuki and Likii rivers and would continue with their clean-up efforts to ensure that we have clean and safe water for our use.

The importance of planting trees was reiterated throughout the event as trees would prevent erosion and help prevent pollution. Trees also bring about clean and fresh air and would help in stabilizing the river banks.

Many speakers also pointed to the importance of planting trees to help Laikipia and Kenya attain the required 10% tree cover commitment.

Chairman Githui, also mentioned that through their edible rivers initiative, many local community members would benefit. Francis believes that through this initiative many nutritional problems prevalent in the county can be avoided and that the project will also be beneficial to wildlife coexisting with people and will inevitably mitigate human-wildlife conflict.

To read more on SWEMF’s environmental initiatives, click on the link below.

https://laikipia.org/championing-practical-environmental-conservation/

All partners emphasized their willingness to collaborate on the restoration and rehabilitation of the rivers and their banks. Hearts of Green said that they would be willing to partner with other organizations to grow around 200,000 seedlings.

The launch was a successful event and is linked to the greening effort of conserving 100 acres of green spaces for Nanyuki@100. The event set a good precedent for river and environmental conservation in the County. Hopefully, everyone who planted a tree during the event can continue monitoring and nurture it.

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Celebrating the Nanyuki Business Community

The Kenya National Chambers for Commerce and Industry, Laikipia Chapter, is marking 100 years of Nanyuki as a township by bringing on board all stakeholders and members to a networking gala breakfast which will run parallel with Laikipia Business Awards to recognize and award the most exemplary businesses and individuals.

This event is being organized to capture the progression of the town in terms of investment opportunities and the uniqueness, culture and diversity of the town that the rest of the world should be informed of.

Why Join The Chamber of Commerce?

Increase Credibility of Your Business

Those who join the Laikipia Chapter enjoy the positive perception of other business owners and consumers.

Create Networking Opportunities

Laikipia Chamber of Commerce organizes for annual events with the main event in the calendar being Laikipia Business Awards and being a member and attending any one of them will help develop networking opportunities along with creating professional leadership. Businesses can be developed through promotions of keen interest aspects of local businesses as well as to the entire community.

Advocacy

The Chamber of Commerce is responsible to handle all business related issues along with opposing new taxes, regulations, fees, costs and policies that affect the business environment. Businesses are protected and enjoy the principle of Free Enterprise.

Trade Facilitation

KNCCi lobbies for regional integration to spur growth and development of local businesses under regional trading frameworks that promote trade and investment in the region.

Businesses Formalization

Laikipia Chamber seeks to ensure formalization of majority of businesses in the County to ensure growth and development of enterprises to operate nationally and globally. The informal sector in Kenya is dominated by MSMEs and holds a large population of Kenyans and their formalization would enhance economic development in Kenya through trade and investments. The Chamber assists Kenyans to register, incubate, mentor and expand businesses.

For more on this event click https://www.kenyachamber.or.ke/kenya-business-awards/

You can also vote for the nominees of the Nanyuki Business Awards under this link https://rb.gy/orpdir

 

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People Beyond Poaching

‘The People Beyond the Poaching’ is a 32-page report on the illegal trade in wildlife based on interviews with 73 convicted offenders in South Africa. The producer of the report—and this 9:22 film—is TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network.

This is a fascinating report on the people behind the poaching in South Africa. It’s a comprehensive study of the “offenders” and offers some insights into the demographics of poaching and the motives.

When are we in Kenya going to undertake a more sophisticated understanding of the motives and demographics of our own illegal wildlife trade?

If anyone has such a report, please share it with us, so that we can share it with our membership!

 

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What’s a CEAP?

 

Please find the background to the first Laikipia County Environmental Action Plan (CEAP).

This information includes the public invitation for participation in an event hosted by the County Government, NEMA, and World Vision; the background to Environmental Action Planning in Kenya; and the latest draft (#3) of the Laikipia County Environmental Action Plan.

For those with a continued interest in our environment, the CEAP, along with the County Spatial Plan, are two of the most important documents guiding our future environmental health

The Constitution of Kenya 2010 has elevated environmental integrity into a human right; and has made deliberate and strategic effort to address environmental impacts, considering the environment a constitutional obligation of every individual as well as providing a framework for environmental interventions at National and County levels.

So we encourage you to Keep Informed and Stay Engaged!

Please direct your comments to the Drafting Committee, and cc to the Forum for follow-up.

NEMA Laikipia <cdelaikipia@gmail.com>

CEC Environment, Njenga Kahiro <njengakahiro@gmail.com>

 

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Silver Lining for the Landscape’s Tourism Industry?

Will we come out stronger, smarter and more successful?

The tourism sector has always been one of the main revenue generators in our country, and the Laikipia landscape in particular. With the outbreak of COVID 19, however, the tourism industry was immensely affected. Many people have since lost their jobs and livelihoods as a consequence.

The Laikipia Tourism Association (LTA) has been working with the KTB, TRA , County governments, and tourism destinations and establishments to restore some sense of normalcy and resilience to the sector. Over the last few months, we have worked on:

TRA compliance certificates

The Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife and other stakeholders developed health and safety protocols for the sector. The Tourism Regulatory Authority (TRA) is charged with oversight implementation of these protocols.

The TRA developed a checklist for tourism activities and services with a compliance certificate issued for each entity after application and approval.

LTA has been forwarding applications for COVID 19 compliance certificates and self-assessment checklists from our members for processing with nearly all participating establishments now issued with their self-compliance certificates and stickers.

Destination Laikipia Website

Destination Laikipia is a concerted effort by the County Government of Laikipia in collaboration with the Laikipia Tourism Association to realize our shared commitment to support and market Laikipia as the leading tourism destination in the region. The new website will market what our landscape has to offer.

The Laikipia Tourism Association has therefore been working with the Laikipia County Development Authority to manage private sector inputs to the new site. Photos, logos, contact details et cetera will go a long way in marketing our destinations at a time when many of them are trying to get back on their feet.

There is no cost to these establishments to market themselves on the website.

 Twende Nanyuki Mwisho Wa Reli Initiative

The World Tourism day is celebrated on the 27th of September of every year. It is celebrated to foster awareness among the international community of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value. This year, the Laikipia Tourism Association helped the county celebrate the event in style. We worked closely with the Standard Group, Ol Pejeta, and other partners to ensure that residents of neighbouring counties travelled to Nanyuki through the recently revamped railway line. Most of our establishments around town reported nearly 70% occupancy for the weekend. Considering the impacts of the virus, this is a big boost.

 

LTA pledges to support all initiatives that will reinvigorate our tourism industry and bring benefits to our people and economy. More on the Twende Nanyuki initiative

 

Tourism Finance Corporation Stimulus Loans

A total of 3 billion was injected to the Tourism Finance Corporation for soft loans to hotels and related establishments to restore the tourism sector from the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic.

The Tourism Finance Corporation (TFC), has therefore invited investors, tourism establishments to apply for the tourism recovery stimulus soft loans online from 22nd September 2020 to 12th October 2020. The Laikipia Tourism Association has offered support by providing guidance on the loan application process as well as helping review applications before submission.

 

The Laikipia Tourism Association will continue to be at the forefront to ensure that we continue advocating on issues affecting sustainable tourism in Laikipia. That we continue to represent our tourism industry at national and regional levels on all matters impacting tourism and that we continue to work with various partners to consolidate marketing, branding and communications that support Laikipia landscape tourism.

Should you be having any questions, suggestions or comments regarding the state of the tourism sector, you can reach us through our social media handles.

Facebook- Laikipia Tourism Association

Twitter- @TourismLaikipia

Or through email- tourismlaikipia@laikipia.org

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Five Rhino Species Forever!!

 


Black Rhino in Laikipia

Laikipia is only second to Masai Mara when it comes to wildlife population density. This includes half of Kenya’s black rhinos, the second largest population of elephants in Kenya, and the globally threatened Grévy’s zebra.

September 22 saw us celebrate World Rhino Day. This theme for this year’s World Rhino day was 𝐅𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐑𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐨 𝐒𝐩𝐞𝐜𝐢𝐞𝐬 𝐅𝐨𝐫𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫.

The World Rhino Day is celebrated on September 22nd every year. It celebrates all five rhino species. Black, White (found in Africa), Indian, Javan and Sumatran (found in South East Asia).

Kenya ranks 4th in the world with the highest number of rhinos in the world after South Africa, Namibia and India.

White Rhinos

At the moment they’re no Northern White Rhinos found in the wild. The only remaining Northern white rhinos are known from Ol Pejeta conservancy.

On the other hand, the numbers of Southern White rhinos have continued to grow due to strong conservation efforts and their numbers are estimated to be around 21,000 in protected areas. 

Black Rhinos

The black rhinos, which are smaller of two African rhino species and are distinguished by their hooked upper lip, have been victims of wide-scale poaching with more than 90% lost between 1970-1992. Roughly 4000 are left in the wild today. In Kenya, 50% of our national population of approximately   800 can be found here in Laikipia.

The birth of the first eastern black rhino in the western Serengeti in decades was announced by the Grumeti Fund. The calf is now two months old and thriving. In 2019, the Grumeti Fund, in partnership with Tanzania’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism and the Wildlife Management Authority, among other agencies, translocated a breeding nucleus of rhino from an out-of-range population in South Africa.

Rhinos need our help. The encroachment on their habitats, poaching activities and the high cost of their conservation means they remain at risk.

𝐌𝐚𝐳𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐢𝐫𝐚 𝐂𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐞𝐫𝐯𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐅𝐮𝐧𝐝 (𝐌𝐂𝐅) is designed to support wildlife conservation efforts and innovations in the Greater Laikipia landscape. More than research, it supports practical interventions aimed at securing habitat and safe passage for our many wildlife species, but with a particular focus on our vulnerable and endangered species.

The fund provides grants to individuals, communities, schools, and organized groups, with access to funds that support these conservation goals.

The 𝐑𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐨 𝐑𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐯𝐚𝐥 𝐅𝐮𝐧𝐝 is the first step in realizing the larger MCF. The Rhino Revival Fund supports innovation in black rhino conservation in the greater Laikipia Landscape. It is designed to provide grants guided by the Kenya Black Rhino Action Plan of 2017-2021, as well as by the Association of Private Land Rhino Sanctuaries.

For more information and to find out how you can support these initiatives, click on the following links.

  1. https://mms.laikipia.org/views/donate.php
  2. https://empowersafrica.org/partners/laikipia-wildlife-forum/?fbclid=IwAR0Jo-qTNx_BufiOhFH2fm6VN6yrIN62Ao5d2HbCpU7x7dCV9uiqAk9cdmE
  3. https://www.adventureforrhinos.org/?fbclid=IwAR2oIO_ORdbnxePdFIuuq_KUeW-FA0IVyZYts9w8M2QpAXI1jATdaMLmQtI#:~:text=On%20this%20’safari’%2C%20you,learn%20about%20conservation%20in%20the

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Long-term Solutions: Managing Invasive Species in Laikipia North

 

Mr. John Letai, the Deputy Director for Environment and Natural Resources, Laikipia Count,y shares his views with stakeholders during an invasive species field monitoring visit.

The County Government of Laikipia and stakeholders continue to work on mitigation measures to curb the spread of the Opuntia Stricta and the Acacia Reficiens. They firmly believe that the development of an Invasive species management plan is the best action to take us forward in our efforts.

The exponential spread of these invasive species has for years now led to negative ecological, and socio-economic impacts in the region. Laikipia County has been on the forefront on engaging different stakeholders working on projects related to invasive species management. The County through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources leads a stakeholder forum which meets on quarterly basis for monitoring of different projects under implementation. The stakeholder forum is comprised of the following members Stakeholders from the local communities in 13 Group Ranches across Laikipia North, Laikipia County Government (LCG), Laikipia Wildlife Forum (LWF), Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT), World Vision International – Kenya (WV), ILMAMUSI Mukogodo Forest AssociationNaibung’ a ConservanciesNational Environment Management Authority – Laikipia County (NEMA), Loisaba ConservancyUaso Nyiro Baboon Project (UNBP) and Loldaiga Ranch have all been working to try and come up with management/control/eradication measures of Opuntia stricta through either mechanical removal or biological control, involved in sensitization of local communities on the effects of Opuntia, and mapping of the extent of the Invasive species.

Recently the stakeholder forum held a 2-day workshop sponsored by IMARA project which involved a field visit to the different sites undertaking biological and mechanical control and a brainstorming workshop to develop strategies on how to mobilize for additional funds towards invasive species management efforts. During the field visit at Ilpolei site in which Enduata group member, Magdalene Silam shared her views towards the management efforts being conducted …..“Opuntia has for a long time been a constant headache to me and my family. This species has led to the loss of most of our grazing land which consequently led to the death of most of our livestock. I am very happy with the current partnerships and I continue to see results from both mechanical and biological control methods. It would be nice to see if these methods can be integrated for best results,”.

The development of a County Invasive Species Management Plan and budget was agreed as one of the key strategies to be developed towards invasive species management efforts. During the discussions held on the 21st and 22nd of September 2020. The meeting revolved around 2 main areas: the cost of mechanical removal of opuntia and the sustainability of the opuntia management projects. There was a specific focus on.

  1. How to prevent the spread of Opuntia in areas where it already exists.
  2. How to prevent the spread of opuntia in uninfected areas
  3. Management of areas which have Opuntia
  4. Land restoration after the management efforts are complete.

The meeting concluded that a management plan for Opuntia stricta and other invasive species in Laikipia North be developed. It was also decided that capacity-building efforts towards ownership of the management efforts ongoing to be built in current and future projects.

The County Government continues to work on developing a County Environmental Action Plan (CEAP) and it was agreed that invasive species should be included as a major component with immediate priorities identified in the plan for budgeting and action.

Laikipia County is working towards the development of a county invasive species policy. The Forum is in the process of producing a documentary that will provide information on the efforts made in managing the invasive species. The documentary will as well be used as a tool to provide useful information during the policy development process and act as a fundraising tool for invasive species management.

A technical committee was formed to spearhead the proposed action plans. The committee is comprised of a membership derived from the thematic areas of focus in relation to the management of the invasive species.

Roles:

  1. Lead in the development of draft management plan
  2. Budgeting process, including fundraising
  3. First meeting to be decided by NEMA with close collaboration with World Vision-IMARA Project

The committee is as listed below;

No Organization Contact
1 National Environment Management Authorirty (Lead) cdelaikipia@gmail.com
2 Northern Rangeland Trust Richard.kasoo@nrt-kenya.org
3 World Vision Simon_mbuki@wvi.org
4 Kenya Forest Research Institute schoge@kefri.org
5 Ilmamusi CFA Ilmamusi.cfa@gmail.com
6 Laikipia Forum Margaret.wambua@laikipia.org
7 TWALA rosemarynenini@gmail.com
8 Laikipia County Government jletai7@gmail.com
9 Kenya Wildlife Service luke.lukaria@gmail.com
10 Permaculture info@lpct.or.ke
11 Lolldaiga harrybmwells@gmail.com
12 Naibunga Naibungaupper@nrt-kenya.org
13 Uaso Ngiro Baboon Project dr.shirleycstrum@gmail.com

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