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Double Win for Community and Wildlife as Loontana Spring Protection nears Completion

 

Ms. Julia Moiyare approaches the newly constructed water tank to fetch water alongside her counterparts

Ms.  Julia Moiyare, a member of Nadung’oro community barely hid her joy as she fetched water for the first time from the just constructed water tank at Nadung’oro plains, Sieku location. Julia was among the many participants in the handover ceremony of the new water project to Lekurruki Conservancy management.

The tank has been constructed with the support of the Disney Conservation Fund under the Rangeland Rehabilitation and Spring Protection to Reduce Human Wildlife Conflict in Mukogodo Forest Project. The project is sponsored by WCS/Disney and is being implemented by ILMAMUSI CFA with technical assistance from Laikipia Wildlife Forum.

The community water tank is the final phase of the Disney Project’s spring protection. The much-improved spring provides water to livestock and wildlife, and the community members are now served from a storage tank about 1km from the spring site.

Initially water was obtained from one source which meant people, livestock and wildlife shared one point to access water. Through Disney project, a wildlife/cattle trough has since been constructed and a separate tank for community to fetch water. Ms. Julia further added, “We have encountered elephants drinking at the spring site and we had to go back home, or wait for a long time for them to leave the spring site, so that we could fetch water. Most of the time the water would be muddy and we would spend most of our time waiting for the spring to fill up. The separation of our water access points makes all the difference to our lives. Having this water tank this close to our homesteads is indeed more than a blessing and we cannot thank our partners enough for hearing our plea.”

The Disney Project focuses on implementing measures that reduce occurrence and frequency of Human-Wildlife Conflicts (HWC), particularly with elephants. It gives priority to three key themes:

  1. HWC mitigation and reduction through solar powered fencing and maintenance of effective community monitoring systems for elephant movements in Arjiju Village
  2. Spring protection in Sieku location. The spring will serve Lekurruki and Ilngwesi group ranches as well as elephants and other wildlife.
  3. Rangelands rehabilitation in Makurian/Oreteti group ranch, Ilngwesi group ranch and Lekurruki group ranch

Mr James Mwangi, MKEWP Water Engineer, Inspecting Lontana spring before its protection

The current chairman of the Loontana spring water project committee, Mr. Yaasoi Sakui, admitted to how the project has made a significant change to their daily routine especially for women and children. “The women and children will access water in a close location and will have reduced trips to the spring site which reduces human elephant contact.”

Water is an important shared resource between humans, livestock and wildlife in this region which increases the probability of occurrence of HEC due to un-separated access points for water. It was thus vital to protect the Loontana spring not only for the purpose of reducing HWC but also to enhance water security in the area.

The water trough designed for wildlife and livestock to drink from in the foreground, with the water pump storage in the middle, and the protected spring in the background

The selected water committee works closely with the Group Ranch Grazing Committee to ensure sustainability of the Loontana Spring project..  The community has agreed on a water tariff to ensure that the new system is maintained and managed.

The plan is for other springs in Lokusero, Ilngwesi, Makurian and Lekurruki to be protected in a subsequent phase of the project.

 

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