• Ol Ari Nyiro, Laikipia Nature Conservancy

    Kenya: provision of infrastructure and equipment at Ol Ari Nyiro

In Brief

Location:

Ol Ari Nyiro, Laikipia County, Kenya

Goal:

To enable key conservation activities at the Laikipia Nature Conservancy by restoring infrastructure lost during a fire.

Conservation Value:

The 365-square-kilometer Laikipia Nature Conservancy (aka Ol Ari Nyiro) on the edge of the Great Rift Valley is one of Kenya’s largest private reserves and provides an important sanctuary for wildlife of all kinds.

Located on the Eastern wall of the Rift Valley on the Laikipia Plateau, the Conservancy is the most important water catchment area for two major lakes, Lake Bogoria and Lake Baringo.  It is part of the Eastern Afromontane Biodiversity Hotspot and harbours an invaluable remnant of the diverse flora and fauna that once covered vast areas of the Laikipia Plateau and the eastern Rift Valley escarpment.

The diverse topography, with elevations ranging from 1260-2400 m, supports vegetation from dry marginal forests to semi-arid bushland. The diverse species known to occur there include the critically endangered wild dog (Lycaon pictus), cheetah, reticulated giraffe, greater kudu, African elephant, a large population of lions, 14 amphibian species, 55 reptiles, 477 birds, more than 800 vascular plants and 755 macro-invertebrates.  Of particular note are two endemic species - a plant (Aloe francombei) and an invertebrate (Aslauga gallmannae) and one frog that is new to science (Tomopterna gallmanni).  And there is a large remote part of the Conservancy that has not been studied yet, so the species list is expected to increase.  The Conservancy offers important migration and wintering habitat to various species and has been designated both an Important Bird Area and a Key Biodiversity Area. 

Threats:

Laikipia County has been under threat from outside cattle herders who invade its private nature conservancies during times of drought and political turmoil.  With the exponential surge in the demand for ivory and other animal products over the last 3 years, the threat to wildlife is greater than ever.

The security of the Conservancy requires a balance between community education and involvement and a response force that can both anticipate and react to threats.  A team of rangers patrol the conservancy day and night. To improve conservation outcomes, a program of wildlife guardians has been started for Pokot youths who in the past might have been tempted to become poachers and cattle raiders.  These future rangers will be trained as an acrobatic troupe to bring the anti-poaching message to their home communities as well as being tasked with patrolling the Conservancy borders and ensuring safe passage for animals, particularly elephants, to neighboring conservancies.  Over time, promising candidates will be trained as fully fledged rangers.  However, first there is an urgent need to purchase equipment (a tractor, and a landcruiser) and rebuild some damaged infrastructure, including four ranger stations, to replace those burned in March 2017 by bandits. 

 

  The water hole at Laikipia Nature Conservancy (aka Ol Ari Nyiro) is an important resource for the reserve's wildlife.

Actions & Results:

To rebuild critical infrastructure on the conservancy, the objectives of the project are as follows:

  • Procurement of a new tractor for hauling water and other supplies in the conservancy;
  • Construction of four fortified ranger bases able to withstand an armed attack by poachers or militia while waiting for the Conservancy armed response team to respond;
  • Rebuilding and reroofing the manager's house burnt in the Engelesha attack;
  • Purchase of a used Toyota pickup for the Laikipia Nature Conservancy Rapid Response Force.

Project Field Partner:

The Gallmann Memorial Foundation

Size of Area Involved:

365 square kilometers 

Cost:

ICFC has committed to match donations in raising $87,000 for infrastructure costs.

Support this project
Italian born Kuki Gallmann has dedicated her life to transforming  Ol Ari Nyiro from a degraded cattle ranch to its natural state after the tragic deaths of her husband and young son.  It is now Kenya’s largest private reserve and an important sanctuary for wildlife.  Her memoir I Dreamed of Africa brought her international recognition and has given her a platform to speak against elephant poaching and in support of conserving natural ecosystems.

 

In More Depth...

More images

The caracal preys upon small mammals, birds and rodents and can leap higher than 3 metres and catch birds in mid-air.

Pokot youth double as acrobats and trainee conservation guardians.

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