The latest from the natural world
Conservancies on the rebound
The Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) is growing fast with community conservancies tripling in just eight years. The conservancies now span nine counties, 31,000 sq km, and reach from the Indian Ocean to the Great Rift Valley. Initially, many of the community conservancies emerged in Isiolo, Samburu, and Laikipia. But the year 2007 saw the first expansion of NRT to the Kenyan coast with the establishment of the 3000 hectare Ishaqbini Community Conservancy. Six more followed suit, and in 2014 a satellite NRT headquarters was set up in the ancient port of Lamu, to more effectively support the growing number of coastal conservancies. Livelihoods and climatic challenges at the coast differ from those of the inland conservancies – but what the communities do have in common is the strong desire to improve their lives through better natural resource management and wildlife conservation.
Last chance to see…
The sable antelope is endemic to coastal forests at Shimba Hills National Reserve in Kwale County. In the past sable antelope were abundant and widely distributed in Kenya’s coastal forests, but the population has declined alarmingly, from an estimated 265 individuals in 1960 to the current 56. This downward trend has been attributed to many factors including diseases, food shortage due to drought, habitat loss and degradation, subsistence poaching, inbreeding, predation and neonatal mortality.
Last month marked the sixth anniversary of Amboseli elephant matriarch Echo’s death. At her death, aged 65, and having been studied for 30 years, Echo was probably the best-known wild elephant in the world, and was the subject of several books and films. Although Echo’s loss is mourned, her family is thriving and has been at the heart of the elephant baby boom phenomenon in Amboseli. The study of Echo and her family contributed significantly to the understanding of elephants, including life-cycles, methods of communication, emotional life, and co-operative care of the young.
Who said this? Forlorn hope on rhinos…
“We are going to witness the demise of this species, that’s the reality of what we face. They are going to die here. It is an indictment of what the human race is doing to planet earth and it’s not just happening to rhinos. It’s happening to all sorts of species, big and small, across the planet.”
Richard Vigne, Ol Pejeta’s Chief Executive Officer lamenting the decades of inaction that have brought Northern white rhinos to the brink of extinction, with only five remaining in the world.