Conservancies are locations which receive protection because of their recognized natural, ecological or cultural values.
Private Conservancies in Kenya work with landowners and community dwellers to sustainably manage and conserve wildlife and their habitat for the benefit of the people.
Most of these private conservancies give back to the community through community development schemes while helping to protect endangered species around the country.
Here is a couple of private conservancies in Kenya:
1) Ol Pejeta Conservancy
The Ol Pejeta Conservancy is located in the Laikipia County of Central Kenya. It is the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa. The conservancy generates income through tourism and monetary support which is reinvested in other forms of conservation as well as community development.
It provides a sanctuary for rhinos which reached a population milestone of 100 black rhinos in 2013. The two remaining white rhinos in the world are housed in this conservancy.
The Sweetwaters Sanctuary for orphaned and rescued chimpanzees is also located here. A major part of the Ol Pejeta Conservancy mission is to conserve endangered species and to maintain healthy trends in both habitat and animal species.
A lot of rare and endangered species like the Grevy’s Zebra and the Bat-eared fox are housed in this conservancy along with other more common African wildlife like giraffes and hippos.
They are all free to move in and out of the conservancy by game corridors which restrict only rhinos. All animals are adequately secured by the fully electrified fence of the conservancy as well as armed teams always on patrol.
Besides being a wildlife conservancy, Ol Pejeta is also a profitable cattle ranch, housing 3 breeds of indigenous purebred cattle. The grazing and trampling by the cattle improve the quality of grass in this area.
This cattle production adds to the income generated by the conservancy. The Ol Pejeta Conservancy is well known for its effort to improve the lives of people living in the neighboring communities.
2) Tsavo Conservancy
The Tsavo Conservancy is located in the heart of Taita-Taveta County. It spans over 42,000 square kilometers and is home to the largest elephant population in Kenya.
The Tsavo Conservancy is a collaboration of seven ranches (Amaka, Bachuma, Dawida, Kambanga, Rukinga, Taita and Wangalla) which together contributed about 100,000 hectares of land to help improve conservation.
The common aim of these ranches is to protect wildlife and create alternative income sources for community benefits, making The Tsavo Conservancy a unique fusion of wildlife, conservation, and community projects. This conservancy is entirely locally owned and driven to ensure that all benefits go directly to the Tsavo communities. The Tsavo Conservancy forms a migration corridor for wildlife, enabling these animals to roam freely between the two parks that bound the conservancy.
It is a prime Acacia-Commiphora woodland habitat for a lot of African wildlife like elephants, zebras, lions and a lot more. The goal of the Conservancy includes; development of community-based tourism as well as conserve infrastructure, reduction of human and wildlife conflict, creation of job opportunities for people in the community and to increase land and tenure security.
3) Lewa Wildlife Conservancy
Located in Meru County, this conservancy is home to a wide variety of wildlife including some rare and endangered species like black rhinos and sitatungas. Lewa Conservancy is also home to the largest single population of Grevy’s Zebra in the world and houses 12% of Kenya’s eastern black rhino population.
The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy uses the income it generates to run its own education program that develops schools and students around. It is also involved in women empowerment through economic development opportunities in the form of capital generation and training for enterprising women.
Lewa is in a position to respond rapidly and effectively to incidences of cattle rustling and poaching in neighboring communities and other organizations as it has managed to maintain a good record of losing only 2 rhinos to poaching.
The conservancy was established at a point when it was uncertain if rhinos could survive in Kenya due to excessive poaching for their horns. Since its inception in 1995, it has successfully housed a large part of the black rhino population in Kenya.
4) Borana Conservancy
The Borana Conservancy located at Laikipia County is dedicated to the sustainable conservation of habitat and wildlife. It works in partnership with the neighboring communities to provide a sustainable ecosystem for endangered species on the brink of extinction.
The area is a haven to a wide variety of wildlife from buffaloes and elands to impala and herds of Grant’s gazelle. A number of the infamous black rhino are also housed here. Profit generated from tourism is used to support schools in the community as well as sponsor Borana’s mobile clinic.
The conservancy has a local employment policy, providing employment, health insurance, and pensions to over 200 members of the local community. Borana also invests in some community owned conservation initiatives ensuring that the people are also involved in wildlife and wilderness conservation.
Borana Conservancy is home to some of Kenya’s most prolific wildlife as well as its most endangered species. It has also received the Ecotourism Kenya Award for the best conservancy.
5) Ol Kinyei Conservancy
The Ol Kinyei Conservancy is an 18,700 acre of land originally belonging to the Maasai community but leased to Gamewatchers Safaris for wildlife conservation. It is located within the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem and is the first conservancy in this ecosystem to be set aside without any form of human or cattle settlement.
The conservancy houses 2 small safaris – The Porini Mara Camp and The Porini Cheetah Camp to encourage tourism. It is home to a wide variety of animal species from lions, leopards and cheetahs to giraffes, buffaloes, and elephants.
The income generated from the conservancy is used by the Maasai people to help improve their lives and enable them to depend solely on cattle. Since its inception, indigenous species including birds have migrated to the area.
The Ol Kinyei Conservancy was voted as ‘Community Conservancy of the Year’ in 2011 and 2012 in Ecotourism Kenya’s Eco-Warrior Awards.
6) Selenkay Conservancy
Originally owned by the Maasai people, the land on which the Selenkay Conservancy stands was also leased to the Gamewatchers Safaris, Ltd. The main aim of this conservancy is to protect habitation and encourage wildlife conservation.
Income from this conservancy provides the people with a source of alternative income to farming. In recent years, there has been an increase in the population of wildlife in the area as quite a number of them are returning to make the conservancy their home due to its favorable conditions.
Elephants, Thomson and Grant’s gazelles, mongoose, porcupine, bat-eared fox, lions, cheetahs, giraffes, yellow baboons as well as other indigenous species can be found in the Selenkay Conservancy. Through the efforts of these conservancies, previously endangered species like the black rhino now live secured and comfortable in their habitats.
Most of the income generated through tourism in these conservancies are given back to the community through development schemes. They form a great partnership to help the locals while saving wildlife and the environment.
Check these tours to know more about conservancies in Kenya: