In order to protect the future of all wildlife and biodiversity, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is taking huge steps to safeguard unique and endangered wild habitats by securing Public-Private Partnerships with the Kenya Forest Service and Community Group Ranches.
Tsavo Conservation Area
The Tsavo Conservation Area is Kenya’s largest wildlife refuge, harbouring the country’s single largest population of elephants and a greater biodiversity of species than any other conservation area in the world. In addition to the on-going wildlife security programs and our elephant rehabilitation units at Voi and Ithumba, the Trust owns 3,000acres of land adjoining the Tsavo East National Park. This land known as the Peregrine Conservation Area is a prime wildlife habitat and also serves as the DSWT field headquarters, providing support for all of Trust’s Tsavo-based projects.
The Kibwezi Forest, one of Kenya’s last remaining groundwater woodlands, is an exciting project the DSWT has embarked on in partnership with the Kenya Forest Service, having secured a 30 year concession to conserve and sustain the environment. This unique ecosystem bordering the Chyulu Hills National Park is an exceptional biodiversity hotspot providing a habitat for a number of wildlife species, most notable of which is the African elephant as well as an impressive collection of rare and endemic mammals, birds, reptiles, butterflies, invertebrates and fish.
The project, which covers nearly 60km2, embraces conservation and protection programs including natural resource management, anti-poaching patrols as well as the construction and maintenance of electrically-fenced boundaries, ensuring the steady rehabilitation of the area whilst safeguarding the local communities and their livelihoods from wildlife damage. Other conservation activities taking place within the Kibwezi Forest include the monitoring of water extraction, fire control, invasive species control and key habitat and endangered species management, whilst providing benefits to the local communities through sustainable resource utilisation, education and tourism.
Project Amu is one of the DSWT’s most ambitious projects, which was initiated by an agreed long lease for Amu Ranch established between the Trust and the local communities. The lease for Amu Ranch, which covers over 60,000 acres of beautiful yet fragile lowland forests and savannah woodlands, which sits within the magnificently diverse inland coastal belt of Lamu on Kenya’s north coast, claims one of the largest Mangrove forests in the world and some of the oldest coastal forests in Africa. The environmental diversity of the region is incredible, with species including Elephant, Lion, Buffalo, Giraffe, Leopard, Hippo and a major breeding population of coastal Topi. IUCN-listed forest-dependent species within the area also include the conservation-depended Harveys Duiker and Suni, the near threatened Lesser Elephant Shrew, the Somali Galago, the critically endangered Hirola (Hunter’s Hartebeest) and the Ader’s Duiker.
The DSWT is working through the empowerment of local communities, under the umbrella of the community-grown Lamu Conservation Trust, to ensure the long term success of the project, and with the presence of security and two full-time anti-poaching teams this fragile environment threatened by illegal encroachment, deforestation, poaching and unsustainable agriculture is already recovering from the devastation of previous years.
For information follow this link www.lamuconservationtrust.org or join the project’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/lamuconservationtrust.