In Kenya, investing in a conservancy for Kitenden

A little more than a year after I signed a lease with Olgulului/Ololarashi Group Ranch (OOGR) landowners to protect an important elephant corridor, I am now back in Amboseli:

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Yesterday, I presented a check for year two (of the five-year lease) and unveiled a plan that will protect wildlife while benefitting the local community and investors through eco-friendly tourism and enterprise projects in perpetuity.

In partnership with the Executive Committee of the Kitenden Corridor Conservation Area, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) proposed a framework for a Kitenden Conservancy, which could operate much like other successful conservancies here in Africa.

In addition we have also launched the Kitenden Tourism Investment Plan, which will allow economic benefits from the tourist interest in the conservancy’s protected fauna.

In our efforts to promote alternative livelihoods to the community, IFAW is also starting a $200,000 (USD) education bursary fund to sponsor 66 students at the secondary and tertiary levels from the Group Ranch over the next four years.

Joining me in this historic event was Professor Judi Wakhungu, Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources who congratulated us and the landowners “for working together to ensure that habitat space and dispersal areas for wildlife remain intact.”

Wildlife has used the Kitenden Corridor, running from Amboseli to Mount Kilimanjaro, to move across the Tanzanian border particularly during the rainy season. The land is crucial to elephants’ migratory travels in particular and giving them room to roam allows for lower incidents of human/animal conflict.

Our commitment to Amboseli and the surrounding communities is clear. IFAW has facilitated the professional training of 20 Community Rangers from the OOGR at the Kenya Wildlife Service Law Enforcement Academy.

The training has equipped the rangers with skills in wildlife protection and mitigating human elephant conflict. IFAW has donated anti-poaching vehicles to the Kenya Wildlife Service and supported the gazettement of the Amboseli Ecosystem Management Plan as the long-term solution for mitigating human elephant conflict.

The unveiling of the Kitenden Conservancy plan also included Daniel Leturesh, Chairman of the OOGR, Cabinet Secretary Interior and National Coordination of Government Joseph Ole Lenku, Dr David Nkedienye, Governor of Kajiado Country, IFAW Board Member Dr. Manu Chandaria and other dignitaries.

I am very proud of this endeavor, and the work our East Africa office has done to make this possible. I look forward to the ways we can be of help as this conservancy comes to be.

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For more information about how IFAW is working to protect elephants in Africa, visit our campaign page.

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Experts

Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Dr. Cynthia Moss, IFAW Elephant Expert
IFAW Elephant Expert
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
James Isiche, Regional Director, East Africa
Regional Director, East Africa
Jason Bell, Program Director, Elephants Regional Director, South Africa
Program Director, Elephants, Regional Director, South Africa
Peter Pueschel, Director, International Environmental Agreements
Director, International Environmental Agreements
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Regional Director, South Asia