Conservation at Ol Lentille Trust
The now 20,000 acre Ol Lentille Conservancy (originally 5000 acres), and on its way to increase to 30,000 acres and beyond, belongs to the Maasai and Samburu communities living around Ol Lentille mountain, at 1977 metres the highest point in Laikipia.
In 2002 the community began, with support from the African Wildlife Foundation, to voluntarily exclude its own livestock from this area. The combination of community will, AWF expertise, and the management skills of Regenesis Limited has meant an astonishing recovery of wildlife and habitat. From overgrazed semi-desert to an abundance of flora and fauna in a few short years. With grass recovery, erosion has been halted and a spring, dead for at least 100 years, came back to life in 2008. This, together with the construction of two rain-fed artificial waterholes has meant that elephant are resident for the first time in living memory. In this ruggedly scenic area, the endangered African wild dog are in abundance, with four distinct packs regularly traversing the Conservancy, and one having “denned” (had pups) here for the past 7 years. Leopard and klipspringer also abound.
Nevertheless, with still too low a density of big bulk grazers such as buffalo and zebra (though in 2011/12 good numbers of both the common Burchell’s zebra and the endangered Grevy’s species), the extraordinary quantity and variety of grasses is becoming over-rested. We are therefore introducing a regime of conservation grazing within the Conservancy using cattle. This regime is closely managed and controlled in line with the theory and practice of Holistic Management. For more information go to www.savoryinstitute.com
This ability to successfully run cattle and wildlife together in a conservation area will be key to the future of this landscape, its wildlife, and the pastoralist way of life.
In partnership with the Laikipia Wildlife Forum, we have established a Conservation Resource Centre at Kimanjo. We plan to create a demonstration centre for Holistic Management and Conservation Grazing here. Herder training will take place here, and we aim to get these subjects into the school curriculum.
The objective: to link health education and conservation education for a healthy and sustainable community in a healthy and sustainable landscape.