By Hannah Campbell

Conservation & Wildlife Security

Loisaba’s JCB Back-hoe clearing Opuntia. © Horris Wanyama

Removal of the invasive species Opuntia engelmannii is ongoing, with over 100 acres of heavily infested area cleared since the team started in the last week of September.

Endangered Grevy’s zebra at Loisaba standing with a herd of common zebra. Photo © Phoebe Belcher

Today is international zebra day! This month, teams at Loisaba participated in the Great Grevy’s Rally in an attempt to calculate the current population size of this endangered species. Our SMART patrols have estimated that Loisaba is home to 30-40 of these zebras, and we look forward to hearing the results from the survey later this year!

Community

On the 16th and 17th, Loisaba’s Community Development and Clinical Officers, Paul and Kaltuma, partnered with CHAT to hold an outreach clinic at KMC, one of Loisaba’s neighbouring communities. This was predominantly aimed at women and included check-ups, treatment of minor illnesses and information on family planning.

Research

Felix after being fitted with a collar. © Hannah Campbell

On the 18th, Lion Landscapes collared one of five young adult lions at Loisaba; brothers who have just left their maternal pride. This is part of on-going research into how lions use human-dominated landscapes at different stages of their lives. The Iridium collar will allow the Lion Rangers to monitor their progress, and help out if they get themselves in trouble. Felix is doing well, and can be heard (along with his brothers) most nights at Loisaba!

Photos of the Month

Most liked Instagram Photo:

© Murad Habib

 

Most liked Facebook Photo:

© Ross Mastrovich

If you have any photos from your stay at Loisaba that you would like featuring on our social media, please email them stating how you would like it to be credited to us at communications@loisaba.com!

© Phil Carter

By Hannah Campbell

Here at Loisaba, we use our BioDigester and Community Cooker to convert waste to energy. Disposing of waste is important, as it reduces risk of various diseases as well as ensuring cleanliness in the workplace.

Out in the bush, a similar process of converting waste to energy is happening with the help of animals known as scavengers, which consume decaying biomass to use as energy. Scavengers – sometimes referred to as ‘bio-bins’ – play an important role the food web and exist in a range of sizes, from beetles to bears. They keep an ecosystem free of the bodies of dead animals (carrion), as well as any infectious materials that could become a health hazard to other animals. Scavengers break down this organic material and recycle it into the ecosystem as nutrients.

Hyenas

© Phil Carter

While hyenas are one of Africa’s top predators while working together in a group, they are also able to scavenge older kills due to their strong stomach acid and ability to digest bone. Their jaws (which are among the strongest in relation to size of any other mammal) and digestive tract allow them to process and obtain nutrients from flesh, skin and bones. The only parts of prey not fully digested are hair, horns and hooves which are regurgitated in the form of pellets. The high mineral content of the bones makes their droppings a highly visible, chalky white.

Vultures

© Hannah Campbell

Vultures are the most specialised scavenging bird species and survive on carrion alone. Their excellent eyesight allows them to locate carrion up to six kilometres away while soaring high over the landscape. Vultures usually have no feathers on their head and neck, which prevents pieces of carrion (which can carry toxic bacteria) from sticking to and infecting the bird. Like hyenas, they also have a highly acidic stomach which kills any bacteria that is consumed with the meat.

If vultures disappeared from the landscape, the rotting meat would be consumed by disease-causing agents and carriers, causing a serious health risk to other animals as well as humans. Ecosystem services provided by wildlife and vultures in particular will be impossible or enormously costly to replace once they are lost. It has been estimated that a single living vulture is worth USD 11,000 due to the scavenging services they provide.

Critically endangered African white-backed vulture at Loisaba. © Tui De Roy

Worryingly, six of Africa’s 11 vulture species are now at a high risk of extinction. Four are now Critically Endangered, while two more have been added to the Endangered list.

Six vulture species can be found here at Loisaba; the palm-nut vulture (LC), the Egyptian vulture (EN), the lappet-faced vulture (EN), and the critically endangered hooded, African white-backed and Rüppell’s griffon vultures.

The biggest threat to vulture species is poison, which occurs when people try to eradicate predators such as lions, leopards and hyenas in order to protect their livestock by leaving poisoned cows out as bait.

Critically endangered Rüppell’s griffon vulture at Loisaba. © Hannah Campbell

We are helping to reduce the poisoning threat to vultures and other carnivores by supporting Lion Landscapes and The Peregrine Fund in offering ‘co-existence’ training to the communities surrounding Loisaba. The training is designed to teach communities about the dangers and negative effects of poisoning to humans and their livestock, whilst providing individuals with the skills and knowledge to better protect their livestock and to therefore reduce retaliation killing.

The training is part of the Coexistence Co-op, which is a partnership between Lion Landscapes and The Peregrine Find to reduce livestock lost to large carnivores, and stop the resultant use of highly toxic pesticides to kill ‘problem’ carnivores, and that indiscriminately poison critically endangered vultures.

By Hannah Campbell

Loisaba Conservancy is remote and located a three hour drive from the nearest major town, meaning disposing of waste can be challenging. We have to be mindful when disposing of items, and ensure waste is sorted into biodegradable (that can be used in our BioDigester!), items to burn, items to recycle and items to bury.

Plastic is an ever growing issue globally, with it making up approximately 11% of household waste and taking up to 1,000 years to decompose. But what if there was a safe way to turn plastic into energy?

In 1990, Jim Archer recognised this increasing environmental problem around Kenya, and that rubbish could be a never-ending resource to produce energy if processed responsibly. In partnership with Mumo Musuva, he began to develop designs for a very simple, inexpensive rubbish burner which could also serve as a stove for cooking…

The Community Cooker is an innovative yet practical waste-to-energy technology that has tremendous potential for environmental, economic and social change in low resource settings around the world. It burns rubbish in an environmentally friendly way at 880oC – 1200oC to generate heat energy for cooking, baking and heating water in large quantities. At these temperatures, the Cooker achieves 90% combustion efficiency and meets European Environmental Standards, US EPA standards and Kenyan standards for Nitrogen Oxides, Sulphur Dioxides, Carbon Monoxide, Furans and Dioxins as tested by Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS).

Jim Archer’s first sketch of the Community Cooker in the ’90s © Jim Archer

After the first prototype was built in 2008 and passed the emission test (EPA standard), the Community Cooker Foundation (CCF) was established in 2010. The CCF is a Kenyan based charity that promotes sustainable waste management by encouraging institutions, people and communities to use Community Cookers to clean up the environment, save trees, improve health and create employment value.

Waste ready to be turned into cooking fuel!

Stemmo firing up the cooker

The implementation of the Community Cooker at Loisaba means 100% of waste (other than glass and metal which are recycled) at Loisaba can be either put through our BioDigester or into the Community Cooker to provide fuel, creating a much more sustainable way of disposing waste!

Community Cooker in use

Chapatis cooked using waste!

If you would like to learn more about the community cooker and help the thousands of local under-privileged communities and institutions that are in need of low cost, sustainable energy solutions, click here!