The Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy is an area of approximately 76,000 hectares situated around the Southern end of the MathewsMountain range of hills in Northern Kenya, home to the semi nomadic pastoral Samburu people who have long coexisted with the wildlife of their land. The colourful image of a Samburu Warrior clad in traditional garb being reunited with the Ithumba Unit orphans, some whom were rescued by the Namunyak community, graces the front of our 2008 Newsletter.
The Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy was established with help from Ian Craig of the Lewa Conservancy and Northern Rangelands Trust, to sensitize the local community to the value of their wildlife heritage and promote wildlife conservation so that they could financially benefit by protecting the wildlife of their area. This endeavour has proved enormously successful in view of the fact that in l985 elephants had been eliminated entirely from the Mathews range due to poaching for ivory. Today, several thousand elephants have returned and are living and breeding there, along with a variety of other wildlife species, protected by the Conservancy’s Samburu wildlife guards who constantly patrol the area. A beautiful tented camp within the area, known as Serara, generates tourist revenue for the community and is becoming increasingly popular as a high-end tourist destination.
It was into the grounds of this camp that 5 month old baby “Sabachi” walked one early morning much to the surprise of the grounds man called Aden. The calf's name is taken from the sacred mountain of the Samburu people which is greatly revered and which dominates the landscape.
The Northern Frontier of Kenya is an arid region where water is a very scarce and precious commodity and where deep wells are dug in the dry sand luggas to serve the tribe’s domestic livestock. There are also luggus with steep erosion gullies and when the elephants crowd around such places, unsuspecting boisterous little babies can fall in, and more often than not the situation is such that the herd is unable to rescue the calf.
We believe little Sabachi was probably one such victim who could have been extracted by tribesmen, but then escaped, for he is a live wire, full of energy and strength, and tell-tale abrasions under his chin and along the side of his body, along with a slightly chewed trunk from a predator point to such a fate. He was flown to the Nairobi Nursery on the 3rd February 2009 and so far is doing well.