A GREEN SQUARE MILE PROJECT BY TUSK
LEWA WILDLIFE CONSERVANCY.
The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is a mosaic of grasslands, acacia groves and wetlands that lies in the shadow of Mount Kenya. Due to the work of Lewa poaching of rhino and elephant has significantly reduced in north Kenya , at a time when pressure on these species is higher than ever across the continent.
The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is an award-winning catalyst and model for community conservation, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and features on the IUCN’s Green List of successful protected areas. Lewa’s winning model of wildlife protection, sustainable development and responsible tourism has made it a project which other conservation organisations emulate.
Tusk has been a major partner since the conservancy was established, funding operating costs, purchasing aircraft, providing community support, and backing the education programme. A former cattle ranch, Lewa was transformed into a wildlife sanctuary in 1995 and is now owned and governed by the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. The project manages 62,000 acres – just over 96 square miles.
Through a combination of well-trained anti-poaching units and strong community support for conservation, the project has become a rhino stronghold – it currently hosts 11% and 14% of the country’s black and white rhino respectively.
Populations of both are growing, bucking the general trend elsewhere in Africa. Lewa not only helped to recover Kenya’s black rhino population from the brink of extinction, but it has been so successful at rhino protection that it is now able to reintroduce animals to their former range where they were poached to extinction only a few decades ago.
The conservancy is also home to 23% of the highly endangered Grevy’s zebra - the world’s largest single population - as well as big cats, and a vast assortment of plains wildlife including giraffe and buffalo.
Lewa works closely with its neighbours to ensure that the conservation of wildlife goes hand in hand with sustainable community development. Its community development programme provides clean water for drinking and irrigation, supports agriculture projects, healthcare outreach and road infrastructure.
In addition, the Lewa Education Programme actively supports 21 schools - 16 Primary, 4 Secondary and 1 Nursery - all of which fall within the conservancy’s sphere of influence and has an enrollment of over 7,000 children. Tusk has been a key funder to this programme providing grants for classrooms, infrastructure development and educational materials.
The project has become a model for the sustainable protection of land which benefits both people and wildlife. It was a catalyst for the establishment of the Northern Rangelands Trust, which now unites 33 previously divided communities under a common conservationpolicy covering 17,000 square miles to the north of Lewa.
Despite the project’s success, poaching remains a constant threat, and Lewa’s rhino require round-the-clock monitoring to ensure their continued safety. And even with strong community support, the growth of local populations means it is more important than ever to keep the communities engaged.
The funding through the Green Square Mile will provide essential support for ranger patrols, wildlife monitoring and community outreach to ensure that the zero poaching rate is maintained, and that the communities continue to benefit.
From supporting ranger patrols and wildlife monitoring, to investing in water projects for the local communities, or supporting primary and secondary education, Lewa requires both ongoing support to maintain its high level of success, as well as one-off funding for specific projects for its further development. As such, it has a number of opportunities to suit any prospective donor.
LEWA PROJECT OVERVIEW:
Charity Partner: Tusk (www.tusk.org)
Location: Laikipia-Samburu Ecosystem, Northern Kenya
Total Cost: £75,000
Funding Sought: £15,000 from 5 Corporates
Duration: Donations over a 2 or 3 year period
As a leading light in community conservation and by combining excellent wildlife protection with education, Lewa has had considerable success and epitomises Tusk’s work throughout Africa.