Conservation & Wildlife Security

Elephant Rescue

On Saturday 16th April, our Rapid Response Team was deployed at the request of NRT conservation director Ian Craig to help save a bull elephant who had become stuck in sinking mud on the neighbouring Nannapa Community Conservancy. With the help of Loisaba’s SAME 130 tractor, the elephant was successfully rescued.

Loisaba Rhino Sanctuary Progress

This month, we hosted a team from KWS (Kenya Wildlife Service) who carried out a security assessment. This is part of an on-going process to prepare Loisaba for the reintroduction of the eastern black rhino that were last seen at Loisaba in the 1970’s. We believe the audit went well, and we look forward to hearing a positive response from KWS in the near future!

Community

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, we are continuing to support our local communities. On the 13th, a Health Outreach clinic was held at a neighbouring town with little access to healthcare – where 50 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. This brings the total number of patients attended to in 2020 by our Clinical Health Officer Kaltuma to 756.

Health Outreach Clinic at KMC. Photo © Taro Croze

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 a further 70 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!

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

KMC community receiving food supplies.

 

Photos of the Month

Most liked Instagram and Facebook Photo:

© Heather Eaton

Best Caption: @lbiggers3 Did someone say tacos?

Photo © Taro Croze

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

For rural households in Kenya, the immediate impact of the COVID-19 crisis is not a direct health impact, but an economic one. The virus is predominantly in urban centres, where people are closer together and the risk of spread is higher. If the virus does spread to rural areas, weaker health systems would mean trouble for community members. However, whether COVID-19 spreads to Loisaba’s surrounding communities or not, the food systems have been disrupted and economic challenges have increased, particularly impacting vulnerable rural households.

“Due to COVID-19, the livestock markets that people depend on have been closed. The community now have no place to sell their livestock so that they can buy food for their families. Price of food has also gone up due to less supply, and people who were employed in tourism have been sent on unpaid leave – so those families who have been depending on those individuals have been affected too” says Paul Naiputari, Loisaba’s Community Liaison and Development Officer.

© Ami Vitale

It is now more important than ever to support our neighbouring communities, and ensure they link living close to a protected area such as Loisaba with positive benefits in order to protect habitat and wildlife. Despite Loisaba’s operating budget being significantly reduced, we have been able to continue to support our local communities with support from San Diego Zoo Global, The Nature Conservancy and other generous donors.

 

Health Outreach Clinics

We are continuing to run our health outreach clinics, with our clinical health officer Kaltuma offering consultations and treatment to people that would otherwise be unable to access healthcare, as well as offering support to Ewaso Dispensary. So far this year, 5 outreach clinics have been held and a total of 756 patients seen.

Our Clinical Health Officer, Kaltuma, attending to patients.

 

COVID-19 Awareness

In addition to treating patients, our team has been spreading awareness of the symptoms and best ways to stop the spread of COVID-19, including the importance of social distancing and hand washing. Five hand washing stations have also been donated to communities.

Hand washing station made and donated by Loisaba to KMC community. © Taro Croze

 

Donations

Due to the virus, many people have lost their jobs and are struggling to feed their families. So far, we have been able to donate food supplies to 270 households in our neighbouring communities.

We have also donated $2,500 to the Laikipia County “Komesha Corona” (Put an End to Corona) Emergency Fund, with a further $5,250 donated through the county’s “sponsor a village” initiative, with food going directly to our local communities. 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.

KMC community receiving food supplies.

 

Student Support

While our Education Days at the Loisaba Conservation Centre have been put on hold during the pandemic, we are continuing to support our local students. WhatsApp groups have been formed with teachers and parents, with teachers sending notes and assignments. This is challenging however, as many parents do not have smart phones and those who do don’t have a reliable internet connection. We are in the process of looking into acquiring data and airtime to help these households.

 

We need your help!

With the closure of Loisaba’s tourism properties, our operating budget has been reduced significantly – with a forecasted $1 million lost in revenue from tourism and other areas of income that would usually contribute toward wildlife security, conservancy operations and community outreach programmes.

If you would like to help us maintain zero poaching levels, keep our rangers on the ground, protect endangered species and support local communities who have no access to healthcare, please donate today.

Even a small donation will make a huge difference to Loisaba’s conservation and community development work.

Thank you, and stay safe!

By Hannah Campbell

Social media is currently flooded with photos and stories of nature ‘thriving in lockdown’. We’re all loving the sight of clear Venetian canals and hearing that China is cracking down on the illegal wildlife trade. It’s certainly true that nature is securing short-term gains from an enforced reduction in destructive human behaviours, but this is masking a much more serious longer-term problem – that wildlife conservation is now under serious threat.

So what does the COVID-19 crisis really mean for wildlife and conservation?

Reduced Operating Budgets

Most conservation efforts worldwide depend on both the people who work in protected areas such as rangers, and the income from ecotourism. With social distancing and the travel ban, many conservation areas are left with a hugely reduced operating budget and workforce, leading to many challenges in continuing to protect critical wildlife habitat and the endangered and vulnerable species that it is home to.

Loisaba’s K9 unit out on patrol. Photo © Ami Vitali

 

Increased Security Risks

The reduced operating budget isn’t the only issue. With the tourism industry being hit country-wide and the global impact on the economy, Kenya has seen large scale job losses. In many areas, this means an increased poaching and security threat, with more people unemployed who may turn to crime in order to feed their families.

© Ami Vitali

 

Local Perceptions

With COVID-19 expected to cause a revenue loss of up to $450 billion in the tourism sector, many countries that rely heavily on the tourism industry (including Africa) will have less resources to devote to wildlife conservation. This, coupled with the fact that land currently used for conservation could also be used for agriculture, is a worrying thought for conservation. To justify the existence of conservation areas, economic and social benefits must be seen by the local populations and government.

Sakakei Naiptari prepares to milk his cows. Photo © Ami Vitale

Here at Loisaba, we provide benefits to community members that would not be possible if it weren’t for Wildlife Tourism, and the conservancy that attracts it. Health clinics, education days, scholarships, school infrastructure support, security services and many more benefits help community members place a value on wildlife. However, with the collapse of tourism, many conservation areas will no longer be able to offer these benefits to communities, endangering the positive connection local people have with the wildlife they share their space with.

Loisaba’s Clinical Health Officer, Kaltuma Dabaso, assisting at the local dispensary. © Roshni Lodhia

 

We need your help!

With the closure of Loisaba’s tourism properties, our operating budget has been reduced significantly – with a forecasted $1 million lost in revenue from tourism and other areas of income that would usually contribute toward wildlife security, conservancy operations and community outreach programmes.

If you would like to help us maintain zero poaching levels, keep our rangers on the ground, protect endangered species and support local communities who have no access to healthcare, please donate today.

Even a small donation will make a huge difference to Loisaba’s conservation and community development work.

Thank you, and stay safe.