Conservation & Wildlife Security

Visit to Reteti

Opened in August 2020, Reteti Elephant Sanctuary is the first community owned elephant orphanage in Africa. Located in Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy in Samburu, the sanctuary is designed to rescue and release orphaned and abandoned elephant calves, whilst creating much needed benefits to the local people that live alongside them.

On the 3rd of this month, 10 members of Loisaba’s security department had the opportunity to visit Reteti, and see how the three calves (Longuro, Loketu and Sikampi) they bravely rescued at Loisaba earlier this year were getting on. They are all doing well, and have adapted fully to their new home in Reteti where they receive dedicated care from a passionate team.

Loteku

“Love is an important part of caring for the calves; we care for them like our own children. We spend most of the time with them than our own families and that has made us be so attached to them that we feel sad whenever they are translocated to Sera because of the bond we have created with them. Reteti has proved that the biggest enemies according to the communities, can be great friends, that is elephants and human beings. We as Reteti hope that the released elephants will one day reconnect with their family members, either the mothers, brothers, sisters or cousins” said Naomi Leshonguro, one of the elephant keepers at Reteti.

The Loisaba team were very impressed by the work Reteti is doing to ensure that elephants survive, despite losing or being abandoned by their mothers, and what they are doing to improve the standards of living of the surrounding communities.

Community

Health

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, we are continuing to support our local communities. Two outreach clinics were conducted this month (15th and 22nd) at neighbouring towns with little access to healthcare, with a total of 119 patients treated. 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 976.

Loisaba’s Clinical Health Officer, Kaltuma, treating patients at KMC.

 

Security

In addition to providing healthcare, Loisaba continues to support the local communities with any security related incidences that require assistance. This month, our Security Manager received information from community members regarding an attack on two bomas (cattle corals), where 66 cattle were stolen. Our Rapid Response Team was immediately mobilised at 4am in order to help track down the stolen herd, with our plane joining the search at sunrise. Eight cattle and two donkeys were recovered after a short period of time, and the operation was taken over shortly after by the Wamba Police Department and the Area Chief.

Photo of the Month

© 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

World Snake Day is celebrated every year on the 16th of July in order to create awareness of  their importance in the ecosystem, and to spread positive messages about this often hated reptile.

Snakes are threatened by habitat loss, climate change and disease, but their biggest threat remains negative attitudes towards snakes. Often perceived as animals to be feared of hated, efforts to address their conservation concerns are often impeded.

 

Spotted Bush Snake. Photo © Taro Croze.

 

Northern Kenya is a hotspot for conflict between people and snakes, where they are perceived as dangerous and unimportant to the ecosystem, meaning they are often killed when sighted. Although some snakes in Kenya are venomous, they all play an important role in the food web and their conservation should be promoted.

Letoluai Ambrose, who works at Loisaba for the SDZG Leopard Conservation Program, is passionate about the conservation of all species and believes it is highly important to teach people, especially children, the importance of species conservation – including snakes.

 

Northern Stripe-Bellied Sand Snakes. Photo © Ambrose Letoluai.

 

Earlier this month, Ambrose spotted two northern stripe-bellied sand snakes (Pasmmophos sudanesis) mating in his village. “The Samburu community of northern Kenya believe that snakes and man are ‘Raato Twins’ – meaning every twin born has a unique relationship with snakes” he tells us. “Sighting mating snakes is not only a momentous time, but also sacred to the Samburu/Maa community”.

 

Ambrose took the opportunity to teach children in the area about snakes and their role in the ecosystem.

 

Ambrose has also set up a wildlife kids program with Kennedy Lenauyia (Save the Elephants) in order to educate school children on the importance of wildlife conservation, including snakes. One of the best ways to protect snakes and their important role in the ecosystem is to take steps to avoid conflict wherever possible.

 

Steps to Avoid Snake Conflict:

  • If you see a snake, move away slowly
  • Never follow, try to catch, or kill a snake
  • Always wear shoes or boots and watch where you step
  • Use a stick to explore areas (such as holes in the ground, hollow logs or bushes) before using your hands
  • Keep food and water in your home in sealed containers to discourage snakes from coming inside
  • Keep inside areas rodent free by clearing food scraps
  • Keep wood piles a safe distance from the house
  • Keep the area around your house free from garbage, stacked items and long grass

 

 

By Max Silvester

On the 25th of June our ranger team, having sighted a large bull elephant with an obvious limp, began a monitoring and surveillance operation. When it became apparent that the bull’s injury and obvious discomfort was not subsiding any time soon, the call was made for further action – a KWS (Kenya Wildlife Service) vet team was brought in with the aim of darting the pachyderm, examining the wound, and administrating the appropriate medicine – no mean feat!

 

 

This huge elephant (a fully mature bull) luckily dropped to the ground in a manner that allowed for the vet team to get to work on the obviously swollen front left foot. Had the elephant fallen awkwardly, it would have been a huge uphill battle to move him. Even the usual method using four-wheel drive cars and ropes would have struggled to shift his immense mass.

 

 

It became obvious that the wound was caused by a bullet which had entered the foot having grazed the trunk. This shot could have been fired in one of the regions where human wildlife conflict continues to plague both wildlife and human populations alike. Another theory advocates that this wound is the result of a botched poaching attempt, which aligns with the fact this individual elephant was sporting huge tusks by modern Laikipia’s standards, estimated to weigh up to 40 kg. Luckily the intelligence of this bull, in moving quickly to a place of safety Loisaba Conservancy, allowed the rangers and the vet team to assure his wound was treated successfully and he continues to roam Laikipia as a testament to his forefathers, the huge tuskers before him.

 

 

Meanwhile our ranger team (with a few remaining to monitor the elephant) rushed off to treat a giraffe with a split hoof, showing that as the world limps out of lockdowns induced by the virus, wildlife operations continue regardless – full steam ahead.

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.