Conservation & Wildlife Security

Elephant Calf Rescue

On Saturday 18th April, our security team was called to the rescue of a baby elephant that had fallen into a well on a neighbouring property and attacked by hyenas, resulting in the loss of most of his trunk.

Our Loisaba rangers managed to free him from the well and transported him back to Loisaba, where he was flown to Reteti Elephant Sanctuary by Tropic Air. Here he will receive the critical care that he needs and hopefully one day be released back into the wild.

He is doing remarkably well at Reteti, and has been named ‘Longuro’ – meaning ‘someone who has lost a limb’ in Samburu.

Longuro at Reteti Elephant Sanctuary

 

Giraffe Rescue

On Friday 24th April, Loisaba’s rangers spotted an adult reticulated giraffe that had a snare caught around his leg. In partnership with KWS, the giraffe was darted and the snare removed successfully.

 

KWS vet waiting for the giraffe to recover from the anesthetic after successful removal of the snare.

 

Community

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, we are continuing to support our local communities. On the 29th, a Health Outreach clinic was held at a neighbouring town with little access to healthcare – where 110 patients were treated for minor illnesses. They were also educated about COVID-19 with the team giving information on the symptoms and preventative measures, including teaching the children social distancing.

Our Clinical Health Officer, Kaltuma, attending to patients at Morijo.

Due to the virus, many people have lost their jobs and are struggling to feed their families. This month, we were able to donate food supplies to 200 households in our neighbouring communities. If you would like to help us support local communities, please donate today. Even a small amount will go a long way!

We have also donated USD 7,500 to the Laikipia County “Komesha Corona” (Put an End to Corona) Emergency Fund. This government led initiative is helping to deliver food packages to the families in Laikipia who are struggling with loss of employment and high food prices.

Many thanks to our partners and donors who have enabled us to continue community support.

Koija community receiving food supplies.

 

Photos of the Month

Most liked Instagram Photo:

© Murad Habib

Most liked Facebook Photo:

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 Hannah at communications@loisaba.com!

 

By Hannah Campbell

Lions are a critical part of the African ecosystem, keeping herbivore numbers under control. If the herbivore population is not regulated, the increase of competition among them could cause some to go extinct, and reduce biodiversity. They also play a part in keeping herds healthy and strong by preying on the weakest members. Lions also effect the behaviour of prey species that in turn change the spatial pressure on plants, which can influence other species and even water systems – known as a trophic cascade.

Lioness after a successful hunt. © Phil Carter.

Unfortunately, lions are in trouble. The ever increasing human population both threatens lion habitat and means lions are continuously pushed into closer contact with people, which increases the risk of human-wildlife conflict and the killing of lions in relation for killing livestock.

Lion Landscapes, Loisaba Conservancy, and TNC Africa are working with communities to reduce conflict between humans and lions by protecting livestock from attacks by lions and protecting lions from attacks by people. © Ami Vitali.

Our partner, Lion Landscapes, is working towards mitigating human-lion conflict by collaring lions in partnership with KWS. Specialised lion GPS collars are deployed and managed in order to provide livestock owners with real time lion movement data via a mobile app, developed by Save The Elephants. This is part of on-going research into how lions use human-dominated landscapes at different stages of their lives, and helps people keep their livestock away from lions or increase vigilance and guarding effort when lions are nearby. Collars also show when lions move into areas where risk of conflict is high, which gives Lion Rangers a chance to act quickly to prevent livestock form being attacked by lions and resulting retaliation. Altogether, information from collars reduces attacks on livestock and retaliatory killing of lions.

Loisaba’s Lion Rangers ready to respond to any incidences of human-wildlife conflict. © Ami Vitali.

 

Not all lions are collared, so how does Lion Landscapes choose which to collar?

There are three main reasons a particular lion is collared:

1. Monitoring Prides

Lions are unusual in that they are the only social cat. They live in groups known as prides that consist of mothers, daughters, sisters and one or more adult breeding males, with the young males being pushed out when they reach sexual maturity to ensure species diversity.

Lion Landscapes aims to collar the oldest lioness in each distinct pride, in order to monitor the prides movements and inform livestock owners when they are close to particular bomas (corals where cattle are kept at night). The most mature female lion is likely to be the leader of the group, and is also the individual at most risk of getting to an age where she becomes a “problem” lion (see below).

Imara (left), collared at Loisaba on 19th December 2019 with a member of her pride. © Jim Koenigsaecker.

 

2. Monitoring Young Males

When young males leave their maternal prides, they are not yet strong or experienced enough to take on older males to win a pride of their own. While avoiding the territories of more experienced males, they are often pushed into areas with less prey and more people and livestock, meaning they are then at greater risk of being killed either to prevent livestock loss or in retaliation.

In January 2020, Lion Landscapes collared one of five young adult males here at Loisaba in order to monitor their progress, and to help out if they get themselves into trouble!

Felix (left), collared at Loisaba on 18th January 2020 with one of his brothers. © Hannah Campbell.

 

3. Monitoring “Problem” Lions

There are occasions when lions become problematic, and repeatedly target livestock rather than wild prey. These “problem” lions are usually older or weaker individuals that are less able to hunt for themselves. Livestock prove much easier prey than zebra or antelope when hunting alone, so these lions are in much more danger of being killed in retaliation.

These lions are collared in order for them to be directly monitored, and maps of their locations sent to livestock owners. This means livestock owners are always on high alert when the lion is near and ready to prevent livestock predation. Research suggests that if you make it hard for a lion to kill livestock, and their attempts repeatedly fail, then they are less likely to try again and can eventually give up hunting livestock in favour of wild prey.

Narok, collared at Loisaba in February 2018. Narok was originally collared to keep track of her prides movements, but now cannot keep up with the pride during hunts. This means she is at more risk of coming into conflict with humans, so her movements are closely monitored.  © Hannah Campbell.

 

If you would like to keep up to date with Lion Landscape’s work, follow them on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and subscribe to their newsletter!

 

 

 

 

By Hannah Campbell

The population of reticulated giraffe, one of the most iconic mammals on the planet, has declined by over 50% over the past 30 years – from 36,000 to just around 15,000 today. Poaching, loss of habitat, and land degradation are all pushing the giraffe toward an ominously named “silent extinction.”

To effectively help protect the reticulated giraffe, researchers must first understand how these towers of the savanna use their habitat. Over 100 motion-activated cameras have been installed both here at Loisaba Conservancy and at Namunyak Community Conservancy to the North East. A local team of Twiga Walinzi (which means Giraffe Guards in Swahili) is conducting field research to study and identify individual giraffes, while monitoring field cameras, engaging with local communities, and removing poachers’ snares from the conservancy sites.

During the course of a year, over 1,000,000 images are captured by these cameras! Although placed to monitor giraffes, they also photograph many different species, from warthogs to lions!

This means millions of photos need sorting through to classify what each shot has captured, which is where you can help! An online citizen science project called Wildwatch Kenya was set up to allow anyone from around the world to review and help classify the images.

Once these images are classified, and along with data from collared giraffes, researchers can identify specific areas that are favoured by giraffes and start to look into why they prefer certain habitats. This information is critical in order to provide better protection to those areas, as well providing insight on where to focus any community outreach to help reduce poaching where people may be living closer to giraffes. “The faster we can sort through these images, the faster we understand what is needing to protect reticulated giraffe in these areas” – Jenna Stacy-Dawes, San Diego Zoo Global.

Click here if you would like to help classify some of the camera trap images from the field!