In Memory Of Gilfred Powys

Above: Gilfred Powys

Several months before Gilfred’s death, I requested for a written history of LWF. We had nothing in our digital records to record the early years associated with our 25th Anniversary in November 2017. Given the many demands on his time, Gilfred had missed several email requests, but in the end, I found him by phone as he was packing for another trip to South America. He responded that he would write down what he could remember and send it to me. I waited for a digital file. 48 hours later, I received about 12 pages of handwritten text about LWF’s early years. It was scanned and sent via email. Parts were indecipherable, and other parts appeared stained with airline food or coffee. Still he had delivered. (I was later told that much of LWF’s early history sits in file drawers in his ranch offices).

Gilfred and Kuki Gallmann were legend in their early attempts to realise a Forum that would serve the needs of Laikipia. Predicated on Richard Leakey’s earliest efforts at wildlife conservation, wildlife utilisation and benefit sharing, Gilfred and Kuki were guided in their endeavours by two outstanding KWS advisors – Philip Wandera and Walter Njuguna.
We learned that the first 8 years of the Forum were alternately guided by Gilfred and Brian Heath, as they supervised the culling and processing of zebras with the assistance of Josephat Musyima. Gilfred presided over the governance of the Forum, and led the development of community outreach and dialog on benefit sharing – a process that became known as FORUMNESS. Josephat helped in this effort and Gilfred only left the governance of the Forum in 2007, 15 years after its establishment. And 15 years after its establishment, LWF remained the only Wildlife Forum in the county.

Today, 25 years later, we find that need for FORUMNESS even more strongly. Consumptive wildlife utilisation is no longer practiced, but the demands for equitable and accountable resources sharing has never been more important. Our communities are better educated, our natural resources never in higher demand, and our human population grows at an unprecedented rate, putting even more pressure on Laikipia.

25 years later, LWF reflects on a name change that is broader than wildlife. It’s reforming its Board with greater representation, creating a broader Forum. It will soon appoint an advisory council that will give weight and further credence to the integrated nature of our natural resources conservation and management in this landscape. To Gilfred, we owe this thanks as he helped to guide those early years of the Forum. He provided the flexibility and foundation; and he believed in the integrity of this landscape and its neighbours. He provided a backdrop that allowed the Forum to change with circumstances. Thank you, Mzee Powys, for that commitment to Laikipia.

Peter Hetz
Executive Director, LWF

Sustainable Tourism must be the by-word for Destination Laikipia

The group of talented Kenyan photographers, videographers, film makers and bloggers are joined by John Kin’gori (LTA – extreme right) and Paul Kimirilaiyanta (Laikipia County’s Tourism Officer 2nd in right) (through ProKraft Africa)

Laikipia’s Governor, H.E Nderitu Muriithi is going full steam ahead to craft Destination Laikipia. According to his manifesto, the Governor commits to making Laikipia a leading wildlife tourism destination, preferred choice for establishing holiday homes, preferred weekend rest and relaxation destination, and preferred conferencing destination.

The CEC of Trade, Tourism and Cooperative Development – Nicholas Biwott Tirop, is working closely with the Laikipia Tourism Association (established by LWF’s Membership) in order to support this commitment.

The Laikipia Challenge

We have already started to witness the dedication from the County in support of Laikipia’s tourism sector through events such as the Laikipia Challenge being spear- headed by #SemaLaikipia – a subsidiary of the Destination Laikipia brand. Scheduled to take place on 25th November, the Laikipia Challenge represents the first of many events aimed at inviting tourists back into the county. The Laikipia Challenge is unique in that it has cleverly intertwined community engagement with an amateur off road challenge from Nanyuki through to Luonyiek. Participants will be visiting local communities along the way with the aim of experiencing Laikipia like they have never experienced it before.

For many Tourism operators in Laikipia, the latter part of 2016 and most of 2017 has been punishing on businesses. Local communities too have felt the brunt of the tourism slow-down as many businesses cannot engage communities with no visitors walking through their doors. Insecurity and skewed perceptions have seen dwindling numbers of tourists (mostly international) into the county, largely affecting ecotourism proprietors, as well as the County’s economy.


To help tackle this, the Laikipia Tourism Association (LTA) and Destination Laikipia are currently leading a group of talented Kenyan photographers, videographers, film makers and bloggers (through ProKraft Africa) across the Laikipian landscape, with the objective of collating content that will support the marketing and branding of DL. These same platforms will make it much easier for travellers and investors in planning their Laikipia experience. But all this will be extremely hard to actualise without the dedicated engagement of private and public stakeholders. To plan way forward, the LTA and DL through the Laikipia County Government have organised a Laikipia Tourism Engagement Forum scheduled to take place on 24th November at Sportsmans Arms from 9am.

County Sustainable Tourism Legislation and Development

We are still very hopeful that Kenya’s first county Tourism Bill, prepared by a County Task Force, and recommended by the County Executive Committee, will be reviewed in order to ratify the Bill. The Bill provides the framework for sustainable tourism development in the County, and calls for an inter-departmental body to coordinate tourism development among County Government departments. It also makes provision for a Public-Private County Tourism Board and adoption of the 10- Year Sustainable Tourism Master Plan.

It is now almost 3 years since we started this process in support of sustainable tourism development in Laikipia County. With a new County team in place and renewed energy from the sector, this is bound to happen in the near future.

To apply for membership into the LTA or enquiries on the work being carried out by the Association, please contact John Kin’gori (Secretary) or Wangari Wachira (Chair) on:

Kenyans Get a Guide To The Water Act

The Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP), with support from the IFC and WRG 2030, have officially released a simplified version of the new Water Act 2016.

Endorsed by the Ministry of Water through the Cabinet Secretary, Eugene Wamalwa, the Guide To The Water Act will strengthen the engagement between counties, WRUA members and surrounding communities in the daily management of the available water resources.

The new law calls for local level participation in water management to ensure sustainable and equitable water use for all citizens. This GUIDE takes the legislation and focuses on the 100 most important aspects of the law that every Kenyan citizen should know.

The Guide To The Water Act is an innovation. It empowers all water users in guiding them as to their rights as well as their corresponding responsibilities towards ensuring the rights of others.”     Eugene Wamalwa

Launched on 15th November during the Kenya 2030WRG 5th Governing Board Meeting, the GUIDE was welcomed by numerous stakeholders, most operating outside MKEWP’s boundaries but all united through a vision to bring about sustainable solutions surrounding water access, use and management.

Vimal Shah, Chairman of Bidco Africa Ltd, and who co-chairs the WRG2030 Board with Mr. Wamalwa, further emphasised the importance of MKEWP’s initiative saying, “We must now stop blaming each other about the management of our water resources and instead work together in finding solutions. What the Partnership (MKEWP) has accomplished is fantastic and we must start looking at strengthening our relationships with platforms such as these. We should be able to replicate the MKEWP model across the country!”.

Laikipia Wildlife Forum (Secretariat to the MKEWP) supports the partnership in these efforts and supervised production of the GUIDE. The Partnership will distribute the GUIDE to members in January 2018 during the MKEWP 2018 Membership drive.

For more information about how you can join and work with the MKEWP, please contact Stanley Kirimi (MKEWP’s Coordinator) on

0726 500260.




The LRVC Update

John Gitonga (in a black hat) from LWF, leads a team of volunteers in marking centres as well public announcements about the ongoing vaccination campaign.

The Laikipia Rabies Vaccination Campaign (LRVC) 2017 has now been on the road for three weeks and we cannot be grateful enough to all the volunteers and support from stakeholders and participating County Governments for making the campaign successful thus far. Launched at the Mpala Research Centre earlier this month by Laikipia’s CEC of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Dr. Lucy Murugi, and Director (of the same Ministry) Dr. Thuo Mathenge, the LRVC 2017 set out to vaccinate 10, 000 dogs and cats across Laikipia with a primary focus of vaccinating animals from pastoralist communities.

We now stand at: Over 3, 800 dogs and cats have been vaccinated and over 30 communities around Laikipia’s vast lands have been visited. We still have 2 more weekends to go and we are optimistic that we will reach our goal with your continued support.


Select the MPESA service On Your Phone

Select Lipa Na MPESA

Select Pay Bill

Enter Business Number: 991503

When asked for Account Name: Please Type In Your Full Name


For bank transfers, please use:

Bank: Stanbic Bank

Account Number: 0100004071926

Swift Code:

Account Name: Laikipia Wildlife Forum

For more information, please contact John Gitonga on

Laikipia Wildlife Forum will be working with the LRVC, led by Mpala Research Centre, and will keep you up to date on this very important initiative.

Rabies is an almost invariably fatal disease for both humans and animals. Vaccination of domestic animals is a critical step that we should all participate in for the protection of domestic animals, our already fragile wildlife population and most importantly, public health.

LWF celebrates 25 years and Adopts a New Strategic Plan

LWF Staff, old and new, as well as members of the board blow out candles during LWF’s 25th Anniversary

The LWF Board of Directors and members at the Annual General Meeting unanimously approved the New Strategic Plan for the organisation on November 18, 2017. The mission of LWF includes a greater focus on the interconnectivity of counties in the greater Laikipia landscape, and encourages us to look at natural resources conservation and management challenges at scale.

Changes to LWF include:

  • A new Board of Directors: A broader and more representative participation from Laikipia organisations and associations to the BOARD of LWF from the greater Laikipia Landscape.
  • Appointment of an Advisory Council: A group of influential and supportive patrons who are capable of providing guidance, access to funding, and advocacy for issues that impact the greater Laikipia landscape.
  • Redefinition of our articles of incorporation and even, perhaps, a name change.
  • The existing Board of Directors will oversee the transition to the new governance structure during the first quarter of 2018. This will be addressed by the new Board of Directors in the first quarter of 2018.

The framework of the Strategic Plan can be found here: LWF Strategic Plan

Happy Anniversary LWF!

LWF also celebrated 25 years of operations, and remains the only forum of many established in the 90s. With some 10,000 active members as part of LWF, the Forum remains a vital part of the bigger Laikipia landscape, and is an important tool to address our common concerns over natural resources management in the Upper Ewaso Ng’iro basin system – with wildlife, water, rangelands and land use paramount among these.

LWF was created in response to an initiative by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to engage landowners and land users in the conservation and management of wildlife in non-protected areas. Since its inception in 1992 there has been a significant expansion of localised conservation effort and expertise in relation to wild animals. Whilst wildlife remains central to the conservation effort, LWF has taken an increasingly holistic approach with emphasis on cross-cutting environmental issues that affect larger sections of the population.

The AGM took the opportunity to remember some of the key individuals and employees over the years who helped to make the Forum a success. 

You can walk with us down memory lane through our social media platforms following the conversation: #LWFat25



In Plane Sight – The Great Northern Kenya Wildlife Count Takes Off!

On November 20th, approximately 15 aircraft took to the skies marking the beginning of the 9-day Great Northern Kenya Wildlife Count. Pilots, observers, conservationists, county and national government representatives attended the opening ceremony presided by Judy Wakhungu – Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Environment, Natural Resources and Regional Development Authorities, and acting Director General of KWS, Julius Kimani.

This very important census will systematically survey the counties of Laikipia, Samburu, Isiolo, Marsabit, and parts of Meru county from the air. The collated information will then be compared to past aerial survey counts of wildlife, livestock, land use, and human settlements. Comparing the information helps us to evaluate the success of our landscape and species conservation efforts and will provide us with information on where we might concentrate future conservation resources.

During the flagging-off of airplanes at Shaba National Reserve, the CS called for stronger collaboration between county governments when looking to implement action driven agendas in support of our natural resources that include rangelands and wildlife. “Our wildlife and the management of our natural resources know no boundaries. We must all work together in protecting our Kenyan heritage. It is very encouraging to see such an effort being made”, said CS Wakhungu.

The start of the survey also represented a great opportunity for those of us in conservation to share accomplishments as well as engage with colleagues from neighbouring counties. We would like to thank the following organisations for participating in the exhibition.

  1. Born Free Kenya
  2. Ewaso Lions
  3. Giraffe Conservation Foundation
  4. Grevy’s Zebra Trust
  5. Laikipia Wildlife Forum
  6. Lewa Wildlife Conservancy
  7. Marsabit County
  8. Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership
  9. Mount Kenya Trust
  10. NRT
  11. NRTT
  12. The Great Grevy’s Rally 2018
  13. Save the Elephants
  14. Space for Giants

KWS, DRSRS and volunteer pilots with their planes, as well as observers, will be working tirelessly over the next 9 days to complete the exercise. This KWS led initiative is supported by the US Government through USAID, and will see a total count of elephants, buffaloes, Grevy’s Zebras and Reticulated Giraffe in the greater northern landscape of Kenya.

This year’s count will focus on these four charismatic and endangered species in an effort to establish their total numbers. The Great Northern Kenya Wildlife Count includes an area of more than 65,516.96 sq. kilometres and will take 9 full days (at a minimum) to cover by aircraft.

Northern Kenya is singularly one of Kenya’s great wildlife conservation areas. Wildlife survives here because of the support of its residents, including land use that encourages or tolerates wildlife.

For more information, please contact Dr. Shadrack Ngene at

LWF will be keep you updated on the results of the count. Stay tuned.




Important Updates From The Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP)

Local Community and MKEWP Members Voice Concerns at the 2017 Camel Caravan

Some of the participants of the 2017 Camel Caravan before embarking on the walk

The MKEWP was proud to have participated in the 2017 edition of the Ewaso Ng’iro Camel Caravan. Marvin Githuku, part of the MKEWP team, joined participants in the challenging five-day walk along the Ewaso Ng’iro River where together they engaged numerous communities around Kipsing, Oldonyiro, Koija Ranch, Westgate, Kalama and Archers Post. The overall objective of the camel caravan was to promote and facilitate shared understanding of human induced threats facing the river and, the cooperation and collaboration between the upstream and downstream users to mitigate these threats.

During the walk, local community and MKEWP members voiced their concerns about challenges facing the Ewaso landscape, some of which were as follows:

  1. The proposed mega dam construction, they insisted, would block the river and lead to a dry Ewaso Nyiro River. Steps must be taken to ensure that this does not happen.
  2. Sand harvesting along the banks of the Ewaso Ng’iro River must be curbed.
  3. Peace and cohesion among community members living in the landscape has not been given the priority it deserves. This is what hinders development and governments must play a more prominent role in supporting peace and security.
  4. The local government should involve communities in the decision making process, especially in projects such as the proposed mega dam.
  5. Human wildlife conflict continues to plague communities in the area and this needs to be addressed.

The Ewaso Ng’iro camel caravan was initiated in 2013 with the first edition funded by various stakeholders including: Partners for Resilience, IMPACT (Indigenous Movement for Peace Advancement & Conflict Transformation) and Merti Integrated Development Program (MIDP).

MKEWP will continue to engage in dialogue with these stakeholders in support of conservation efforts for the Ewaso Ng’iro River of which so many lives depend on.

MKEWP to Support Development of Water Allocation Plan for Teleswani Sub-Catchment through Watershed Program

MKEWP’s Coordinator, James Mwangi (forefront holding red folder) and Peter Hetz (Back line with green jacket) join Teleswani WRUA members after signing their WAP contract

Teleswani Water Resource Users Association (WRUA) will be the first WRUA in Laikipia to develop a Water Allocation Plan (WAP) for its sub-catchment. This will be implemented through a short term contractual agreement with the Water Resources Authority (WRA) – Nanyuki Sub Region and the Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership of which the Laikipia Wildlife Forum (LWF) serves as secretariat.

This is a great win for Teleswani WRUA as it will allow members to participate in the process of sharing the available water resources reflecting an important component in the management, control and regulation of the water resources. The development of this WAP will also have a significant bearing on the availability of water resources in meeting basic human needs, the needs of the environment, economic development, water security and alleviating water use conflicts.

The agreement is financed by Wetlands International through the Watershed Program at a cost of Kshs. 850,000 and will run for a period of 2 months ending November 30th 2017. During the signing of the Contract ceremony held at Teleswani WRUA on 5th October, the WRUA’s chairman Mr. Joel Mwariama highlighted that this was a priority activity within the WRUA as they look towards a guiding strategy for water resources allocation in an efficient and transparent manner. In his remarks, he added “ this is a crucial task coming at a time when the WRUA and WRA are managing a resource that is under immerse pressure from increasing demand, climate change and catchment degradation”.

MKEWP Joins OPC and FFI in Implementing Important Socio-Ecological Project

Representatives from Fauna & Flora International, Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Mount Kenya – Ewaso Water Partnership and the Laikipia Wildlife Forum join community members in discussions about the project

Fauna & Flora International (FFI), Ol Pejeta Conservancy (OPC), Mount Kenya – Ewaso Water Partnership – MKEWP and the Laikipia Wildlife Forum (Secretariat to MKEWP) on 26th September officially met with representatives from local communities set to benefit from the Cattle, Water & Wildlife: Enhancing Socio-Ecological Resilience in Laikipia Project. NDMA, Water Resources Authority (WRA), County Government of Laikipia, Space for Giants and other key stakeholders were also present. This important initiative will see approximately 8,000ha of dispersal area secured for rhino, elephant and predators; grazing and water resources managed for local communities and pastoral well-being, and resource conflict reduced across the wider OPC landscape.

The project involves an inclusive approach to strengthening rangeland and water resource management and will contribute in reducing natural resource conflict, safeguarding pastoralist cattle based livelihoods, supporting innovative livelihood diversification by smallholders, and extending dispersal areas for endangered wildlife in Laikipia. The project will also have the following objectives;

  1. Establish a healthy rangeland to support grazing needs of community livestock and wildlife;
  2. Improve water availability for domestic use, livestock and wildlife;
  3. Enable community cattle to market system, support pastoralists’’ lifestyles and reduce stocking densities;
  4. Support community based fodder production system and diversification of small scale famer livelihoods;
  5. Ensure vulnerable and endangered species are under effective protection.

For these and other updates, ensure that you follow us on Facebook, Twitter: @MKEWP, or contact MKEWP’s Coordinator – Stanley Kirmi: to find out how you can join or support MKEWP’s powerful platform.

Maji Yetu, Jukumu Letu! Our Water, Our Responsibility


Why You Should Stop Sitting On The Fence About The LRVC 2017

Children from local communities proudly display their vaccination cards during the 2016 LRVC

If we succeed in vaccinating 70% of Laikipia’s total dog population for three consecutive years, the disease will be eliminated in the canine population and, subsequently, in humans. But this will not be possible without your help. The 2017 LRVC is more important than ever and we are working to vaccinate 10,000 dogs before the end of this year.

An all-volunteer labour force of vets and university students will be combing Laikipia from November 3rd to December 9th (weekends only). 8 teams have been assembled and we’re looking for funds to help them reach many parts of Laikipia to reach our goal. To date, we’ve raised more than 50% of the Kshs 2.4M (USD$ 24, 000) needed to make this Rabies Vaccination Campaign a success.

Please join us by supporting this effort through:


Pay Bill No: 991503

Account No: Rabies & your full name


With just a click of a button you can join our local crowd sourcing platform: Wipe Out Rabies In Laikipia.

For those residing outside Kenya, donating is as easy as following this link: Laikipia Rabies Vaccination Campaign

Bank transfers:

Bank: Stanbic Bank

Account Number: 0100004071926

Swift Code: SBICKENX

Account Name: Laikipia Wildlife Forum

Domestic dogs cause 98% of human rabies cases, passing the disease from wildlife to people. Your support will stop the disease before it can be transmitted to families, communities, and wildlife and will help accomplish Kenya’s 2030 vision of being an entirely rabies free nation.

Join the conversation on: Facebook

This initiative is supported by:

Mpala Research Centre, Laikipia Wildlife Forum,  Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Borana Conservancy, The County Government Of Laikipia, Laikipia Pastoralist Development Organisation, Rift Valley Adventures, Department of Veterinary Services (KWS), University Of Karatina, University Of Nairobi, Ol Maisor Ranch, Veterinarians International, Lolomarik Farm

The GGR Is Back And It Promises To Be Bigger Than Ever!

The 2016 GGR Organising Committee with some of Kenya’s most remarkable bloggers at Mpala Research Centre

We are excited to announce that the Great Grevy’s Rally (GGR) is back! The event’s organising committee that includes: Grevy’s Zebra Trust, Kenya Wildlife Service, Laikipia Wildlife Forum, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Marwell Wildlife, Northern Rangelands Trust, Samburu Trust, Saint Louis Zoo (USA), and Princeton University (USA); has already put wheels in motion to organise the second census of the endangered Grevy’s zebra. The zebra census, also includes the participation of conservancy managers, county government officials, community members and tourism operators.

The event, set to take place on the 27th and 28th of January 2018 will be even more exciting for participants as it aims to not only record the number of individual Grevy’s zebra, but also reticulated giraffe and their distribution across the landscape shared with pastoral communities in Laikipia, Isiolo, Samburu, Marsabit and Meru Counties. The last GGR of January 2016 estimated 2,350 Grevy’s zebra in Kenya, and showed that their population was stable and sustaining. However, there has since been devastating drought and conflict across much of the Grevy’s zebra’s range, and we need your help to see what impact this has had on one of Kenya’s most iconic species. In addition, you will be helping us set the first baseline for reticulated giraffe! These results are critical for county governments, who are committed to conserving their wildlife, and are taking actions to mitigate the threats to these endangered species.

The Great Grevy’s Rally is an opportunity to engage citizen scientists in order to demystify scientific research that contributes to the conservation of wildlife. A citizen scientist is a member of the public who participates in scientific research. The essence of citizen science is that volunteers collect and share data that can be analyzed by scientists and shared with participants and relevant stakeholders. We invite residents and visitors to share in the science of discovery and to ask questions that will contribute to research and management of key wildlife species and their unique habitat.

“Laikipia, and the greater Ewaso landscape have embarked on a mission to be Kenya’s very own Citizen Science destination. The information collated becomes rich material for public feedback, wider public information sharing, lobbying, advocacy, funding and the development of new projects. In essence, we’re increasingly talking about the “democratisation” of science, scientific funding, and the use of scientific results.

This scientifically supervised engagement of the public will yield the second attempted complete census of the endangered Grevy’s zebra in Kenya. It will contribute to their conservation and rehabilitation as a keystone Ewaso Landscape animal. It will also bring economic, tourism and Public Relations benefits to the participating counties that can be judged in the millions of shillings” said Peter Hetz, LWF’s Executive Director.

To keep up with all the GGR 2018 activities, log on to the website here as well as follow on social media: Facebook The Great Grevy’s Rally Twitter: @GrevysRally or e-mail us on

The GGR2018 – People Powering Conservation!


Ol Lentille Conservancy Participates In Important Governance Model Exercise

​Many of the group ranch and conservancy meetings were conducted under the only shade available in this dry landscape

With the help of LWF, the Ol Lentille Conservancy (OLC) agreed with the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) to conduct a “Governance Assessment” to learn more from its 10 years of community engagement and participation in the development of the OLC area. The original area of the Conservancy (5000 acres) now spans some 37,000 acres.

Three group ranches and 4 community conservancies are now participating in this conservation and land use model of the Ol Lentille Conservancy.

Local facilitators supported the IIED assessment team and field staff over a 10-day period in September of this year, and the effort was organised and administered by LWF with funding support from IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).

The effort focused on better understanding the governance of the Ol Lentille model, and focused on the collection of feedback from key informant interviews and focus groups that included community conservancy members. This effort is guided by eleven commonly accepted principles of good governance, and is being conducted by IIED internationally, with four other sites in Kenya participating.

Themes for the assessment were selected through discussion and consensus. Results of the assessment illustrate some significant accomplishments through the Ol Lentille conservation model, but they also point to some key areas that need further support and focus.

Key feedback and recommendations now focus on efforts to improve participation in community decision-making, additional improvements to benefit sharing, more focused efforts on transparency and access to information, fair and effective law enforcement, and dispute resolution.

IIED, the Ol Lentille Conservancy Management, IUCN and LWF will continue to work together to provide valuable feedback of results to more community members since communication inside group ranches/community conservancies was sorely lacking, and communication between conservancies and group ranches was entirely insufficient.

LWF and OLC will also work with IUCN and IIED to implement priority recommendations, and to seek additional resources to improve the governance of this important land use model in Laikipia.

Kudos to all who participated including the excellent facilitation team and, to Ol Lentille Conservancy for their commitment to this exercise.