Kenya’s future conservationists

The future of Laikipia, Kenya and the continent as a whole lies firmly in the hands of the new generation and the decisions they will make in due course. Loisaba Conservancy recognizes the importance of creating stewards of the natural environment to safeguard this spectacular country. Consequently, we have developed a programme to connect children from the surrounding communities, who already live alongside wildlife (i.e. sometimes having to wait for an elephant to cross the road before continuing on their journey to school) to come to Loisaba to be immersed in the arena of wildlife conservation.

Last week Loisaba Conservancy facilitated an educational school trip for 18 Ewaso Primary School students. Accompanied by three teachers, the students who had been selected from classes 1-8 (ages eight to fourteen years of age), were taken on an exciting trip around the conservancy. It couldn’t have started better!

Upon entering the Conservancy, one of the resident prides of lions treated the students to a carefully executed morning hunt. From there the students visited the new Conservation Center at Loisaba HQ, where they were exposed to different ongoing research projects at Loisaba. Amos Chege our Conservation Officer and resident elephant researcher for Space for Giants and Lexson Larpei from San Diego Zoo provided fascinating presentations on their work in studying elephants and giraffes respectively.

From the classroom they went to the security Operations Room and were briefed on the work that the rangers do, how patrols are conducted and what the threats are to the conservancy. Mike Purchase, the new pilot at Loisaba then explained the role of ‘Kathy’, Loisaba’s new Piper Super Cub generously donated by The Nature Conservancy and her use for security, conservation efforts and monitoring the wildlife within the Conservancy.

After lunch, the children were introduced to Warrior and Machine, our resident sniffer dogs and given a demonstration on how they track down suspects. A group of six students peeled off with Dog Handler Ryan and ran off into the bushes, whilst Ekaran, in charge of the K9 unit kept the rest of the students back and explained how one can give the scent of the suspect to the dogs from their footprint. Having given Ryan and his team sufficient time to hide, Ekaran gave Machine Ryan’s scent and the remaining students ran after Machine and Ekaran in hot pursuit on the trail.

The students had the most wonderful day on the conservancy. If we can create even one future conservationist from this initial group we will have succeeded in our mandate. Special thanks to Loisaba Community Conservation Foundation; Elewana; The Nature Conservancy, Space for Giants and San Diego Zoo for making this day possible.
















By: Izzy Parsons

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