The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Fostering Map click
Click on a pin to learn more about the place a particular orphan was
found and the plight of elephants in that area.
The Mara Naboisho Conservancy; the name coming from the Maa word for ‘coming together’, is a 50,000 acre (20,000 hectare) conservancy in the Maasai Mara Ecosystem. The conservancy extends from Ol Kinyei and the Talek River in the East, the Aitong-Talek Road and Olare Motorogi Conservancy to the West, the Masai Mara National Reserve to the South and community lands to the North, the North East and the South East. The conservancy was formed in 2010 when, following the example of Olare Orok Conservancy, a deal was brokered between a handful of tourism operators, who wished to operate in and conserve the area, and individual Maasai landowners, who wished to benefit from the existence of wild animals on their land through tourism. Unlike the creation of conservancies in the north of Kenya, which have been largely brought into existence through an agreement with community elders of group ranches and a tourism operator, investor, or conservation organization, the founders of Naboisho Conservancy, and the other Mara conservancies that were to follow, had to contend with approaching a large numbers of individual land owners. This was as result of the subdivision of the Mara group ranches that occurred at the turn of the Millennium, which divided the ranches into parcels of land of no more than 150 acres (60 hectares) a piece, although they are often smaller. In the case of Naboisho Conservancy, landowners of 500 individual plots of land had to be approached and 500 individual leases had to be negotiated.
Historically, the area where Naboisho Conservancy was created was infamous for its tsetse flies, however these have slowly disappeared over the past decade. For this reason, this area was not traditionally used for permanent settlement but was primarily used as a hunting ground by the Ndorobo and for emergency dry season grazing by surrounding Maasai communities. However, in recent times before the formation of the conservancy, as the tsetse flies began to disappear, the area became increasingly exploited throughout the year and much of the ground-cover was lost due to a lack of management of domestic stock numbers. As a result of this unmanaged grazing, erosion became a serious issue with sheet erosion occurring on the plains and gully erosion on hillsides and valleys. However, once Naboisho Conservancy was born, a sustainable and controlled grazing plan was implemented, which would allow use of the conservancy for livestock grazing, but only in agreed areas and at agreed times. The sudden control of stock numbers and the management of grazing resulted in a drastic change; grasses were given time to recover which allowing strong perennial species to grow and take hold. The continued use of controlled grazing plays a large role in the ever-increasing wildlife numbers in the conservancy as can be seen by the wildlife monitoring research conducted in the area over the last 5 years. The Mara Naboisho Conservancy is now home to an impressive number and variety of wildlife, with big cats found in impressive numbers along with herds of Elephant, Giraffe, Wildebeest, Zebra, Topi, Thompson’s and Grant’s Gazelle, Eland and Impala. Rare species such as Aardvark, Caracal, African Hunting Dog and Stripped Hyena have also been seen.
Due to its location bordering the community lands, Naboisho Conservancy witnesses higher numbers of human-wildlife conflicts and poaching incidents. The vast majority of these occur when Elephants are speared or shot with arrows - and occasionally guns - outside the conservancy, usually in areas like Naikarra to the East and Maji Moto to the North East, but they managed to walk into Naboisho. In several instances the conservancy management has been able to intervene in time, with the help of the DSWT and KWS vet, but unfortunately, this is not always the case and sometimes they need to be euthanized as their injuries are too serious. This was the sad case with Olsekki’s mother, who broke her leg and it was deemed to be untreatable.