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.


“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.



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.



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 [email protected]!

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.



By Hannah Campbell

Loisaba Conservancy sits on the western edge of one of Kenya’s most important elephant movement corridors – connecting Loisaba to Samburu, 100 km to the north-east.

Elephants are extremely important to Kenya. Not only do they have significant roles in ecological dynamics, they are also highly charismatic and serve as a rallying point for conservation. Due to the fact that they require large areas of ecosystems to be conserved, protecting elephants also means protecting the hundreds of other endangered and vulnerable species that they share their space with.

© Loisaba Conservancy (Oryx Ltd.)

Elephants are particularly vulnerable to population decline due to their slow reproductive rate. Elephants do not reach sexual maturity (and therefore start to breed) until between 12 and 14 years of age and when they do conceive, the gestation period is almost 2 years (20 months) with the mother producing one calf at a time. The baby is then dependent on its mother for feeding for the next two to three years, and the mother does not typically have another calf until the previous one is around 4 years of age.

Compare this to a lion. Lions reach sexual maturity at two years old, and have a gestation period of 3.5 months which usually results in 2 – 5 cubs every two years. This means a single female lion cub can produce five more lions in two years (each of which can then produce a further five in two years etc.). For a single elephant to cause the birth of an additional five calves, it would take approximately 32 years.

This slow reproductive rate of elephants means that elephant calves are particularly important, which is a fact known by Loisaba’s security team – who will protect them at all costs.

So far this year, three elephant calves have been rescued by Loisaba’s security team and sent to Reteti Elephant Sanctuary in partnership with KWS and Tropic Air.


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 by Tropic Air. He is receiving 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. Photo © Katie Rowe



Just after sunset on the 30th May, one of the Loisaba rangers reported that a young elephant had been unable to keep up with its herd as they crossed the Ewaso Narok river that evening. The young calf had been swept downstream towards a waterfall, and was struggling to stay afloat. A team led by Loisaba’s security manager Daniel Yiankere were deployed to the river, where two rangers bravely jumped into the cold, raging river in order to pull him out.

Luckily he had no physical injuries, but he was weak and his herd was nowhere to be found. After consultation with KWS and Reteti, the decision was made to bring the calf to Loisaba Headquarters for the night where he was carefully monitored until morning when a Tropic Air plane arrived to transport him safely to Reteti. He is settling in well and has been named Loteku – meaning ‘the rescued one’.

Loketu at Loisaba Airstrip.



The day after Loketu was rescued from the river, another elephant calf was spotted alone. Estimated to be one year old, he was monitored by the Loisaba rangers for three days. It was reported that he had joined a group of elephants, but was then found alone again the following day. His condition seemed to be deteriorating – he was becoming malnourished and seemed to be blind in his left eye.

Sikampi settling in at Reteti. Photo © Katie Rowe

On the 3rd June, a vet from KWS assisted the Loisaba rangers in darting and transporting the calf to the Loisaba airstrip, where he was airlifted to Reteti elephant orphanage to join Loketu. He has already made new friends in the orphan herd and has been going out browsing with them.

Loisaba rangers wishing Sikampi a safe journey. © Loisaba Conservancy


In addition to these calves, Loisaba also aided in the rescue of a bull elephant in the neighbouring Nannapa Conservancy on the 16th of April – see photos and read more here.

If you would like to support these courageous rangers who work tirelessly to protect the wildlife at Loisaba, please donate today. Even a small donation will make a huge difference.

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.

By Hannah Campbell

As we reach the end of 2019, we would like to invite you to celebrate some of our key achievements over the past 12 months with us…

Zero Poaching

Loisaba’s K9 Unit out on patrol. © Alastair Boyd

Due to the increase in investment, National Police Reserve status and additional training programmes, poaching incidents at Loisaba have been reduced to zero, with no major security incident occurring in the conservancy this year.

Two Lionesses Collared

Collared lion at Loisaba Conservancy. © Hannah Campbell

In May 2019, another lioness was collared at Loisaba to allow the real-time tracking of the pride using an app, with a chip in the collar activating alarms that are attached to bomas. This ensures guards are on high alert when the lions are around!

In November, this lioness unfortunately sustained a serious injury to her leg, thought to be sustained by a zebra kick. After examination by a vet from Kenya Wildlife Services, it was concluded that recovery would not be possible and the difficult decision to euthanise her was made.

On the 19th December, a further lioness was collared to continue the important coexistence work of Lion Landscapes. Read more about how initiatives at Loisaba are addressing issues with human-wildlife conflict here.

Five Giraffes Fitted with GPS Tracking Devices

Reticulated giraffe GPS tagging operation. © San Diego Zoo Global

In the single largest GPS satellite tagging of giraffe in history, 28 solar powered GPS satellite tracking units were fitted to endangered reticulated giraffe in northern Kenya from 27th August – 5th September this year (five of which at Loisaba). This exercise was carried out in order to better understand their spatial movements and habitat use in the wild. Read more here.

Black Leopards Scientifically Recorded at Loisaba

Black leopard caught on camera trap at Loisaba Conservancy. © San Diego Zoo Global

In February this year, San Diego Zoo Global released a paper confirming the presence of melanistic leopards in Laikipia, with observations on five different dates and five different camera locations. Read more here.

Request for Loisaba to Become an Eastern Black Rhino Sanctuary Sent to KWS

Memory of Black Rhinos at Loisaba. © Down to Earth Films & Kathy Campbell

Loisaba has recently sent an application to Kenya Wildlife Services requesting permission to become a Rhino Sanctuary. Black rhinos were last seen on the property in the early 70’s, and it is our aim to make Loisaba a permanent home for rhinos again. Read more here.

Invasive Species Removal

JCB backhoe digging a pit for the invasive cactus. © Hannah Campbell

With the help of a generous donation through The Nature Conservancy, we have been able to purchase a JCB backhoe in order to help with the removal of the invasive cactus, Opuntia engelmannii. This investment has made a significant improvement to the efficiency of controlling the species, enabling removal of the cactus at over five times the rate of the previous method. The dug up cactus is now also being used to provide cooking fuel for our anti-poaching unit – read more here.

Community Engagement

© Ami Vitale

During 2019, 47 students have been supported through education, including full payment of school fees, books, uniform, school supplies, transport and school trips. The Loisaba team meets with all sponsored students every term to provide advice and support for their studies. We continue to hold education days at our Conservation Centre, hosting 18-20 students per event. The children take part in exercises demonstrating the importance of food webs and conservation of all species and basic mammal ecology.

Since 2017, Loisaba’s Community Liaison Officer has been visiting Ewaso Dispensary every Monday with our Clinical Health Officer who attends to patients, as well as restocking the dispensary with medication provided by the government. In addition to this, medical outreach clinics are held monthly in communities that have little access to medical care. Over 1,500 patients were treated in 2019. Read more here.

Thank you!

Whether you’ve been to stay at one of Elewana’s lodges here at Loisaba, supported us with a generous donation or simply followed our work on social media, you are a valued part of Loisaba’s network.

If you would like to support our work further, visit

Thank you for your support. Here’s to a successful 2020!

Huge influxes of cattle during the drought in 2017 meant that many of the African wild dogs in Laikipia were wiped out by canine distemper virus (CDV) spread from the herdsmen’s domestic dogs.

However, after nearly a year of no sightings, staff at the Loisaba Star Beds were excited to hear the unique calls of a pack of wild dogs on Monday! Before hunts, wild dogs often engage in a ‘greeting ceremony’, where many sounds are produced by the dogs including whimpers, whines and high pitched twitters, which are unique and easy to identify.

© Hannah Campbell

The African wild dog (Lycaon pictus), also known as the cape hunting dog or painted wolf, is one of the world’s most endangered carnivore species. Once found widely distributed across sub-Saharan Africa in woodland, savannah, shrubland and grassland, they are now listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as they have sadly disappeared from over 90% of their former range. They are now only found in fragmented populations mainly in southern and eastern Africa, and are thought to number fewer than 6,600 individuals.

This alarming decrease in population size was due mainly to shooting and poisoning in livestock areas. Although wild dogs have been known to take sheep or goats in areas of low prey density, the reason for persecution has also been due to wild dogs’ reputation as ‘cruel and bloodthirsty killers’, unfairly earned by their killing methods of tearing prey apart.

African wild dogs disappeared from Laikipia at the start of the 1980s due to the combined effects of persecution and disease, but were recorded back in the area during 2000. In 2003, the minimum population estimate was 150 wild dogs in 11 packs, comparable to populations in national parks.

© Hannah Campbell

Although wild dogs are now a protected species, they remain at risk of extinction due to increased conflict with humans in competition for space. Their ranging behaviour in pursuit of prey means they require very large areas to support viable populations.

Increased use of land for farming and the expanding human population means that wild dogs are being forced into small, unconnected areas. As a result of their extensive territories, even large fragments may only contain very few individuals; too small to sustain a viable wild dog population as not enough genetic variation is present to provide a sustainable population, leading to localised extinctions.

The highest priority for the conservation of African wild dogs is dealing with habitat fragmentation. A crucial part of the work we do at Loisaba is to help protect vital wildlife corridors for all species to safely cross. Last weekend’s episode of Dynasties showed just how important this connectivity is to the conservation of African wild dogs.  (


Land connected. Life protected.


If you would like to help us conserve some of our planets most important habitat, please visit


© Hannah Campbell


Fun Facts

African wild dogs are highly social, usually forming packs of between six and 20 individuals (although packs as large as 30 have been observed!).

BBC – Dynasties

The females rather than the males are the ones to leave the family group in search of new packs, a unique behaviour among social carnivores.

Dominance hierarchies are established by showing submissiveness, with the dogs rarely showing aggression to one another.

Wild dogs give birth to the largest litters of any other dog species, usually between seven and 10 pups but they can number up to 20. Due to the size of these litters, only the dominant pair of the pack breed, and other members help to bring up the young. As other members of the pack are usually related to the dominant pair, looking after their offspring also ensures the passing on of their own genes as they are likely to share at least half of their genetics with the dominant female.

BBC – Dynasties

Wild dogs do not fight each other for access to food, and meat is divided between pack members after a successful hunt. When there are puppies in a den, some dogs will remain behind on hunts to guard them, and will beg for food from other members when they return. The dogs that have returned from a successful hunt will regurgitate food for the adults as well as the young, another unique behavioural trait among carnivores.

BBC – Dynasties

They are primarily crepuscular hyper-carnivores, meaning they are active at dawn and dusk and rest during the hot hours of the day (although they are known to hunt at night when there is sufficient light from the moon!) and they get all of their dietary needs from protein and therefore eat only meat.

Unlike cats which rely on stalking their prey until they are close followed by a short sprint, African wild dogs rely on out-running their prey over distances as far as 5km (2km on average), reaching speeds of up to 66km per hour.

Their hunts are highly successful, around 80% of all hunts end in a kill (lions having a success rate of only 10%). This high success rate is primarily due to their cooperation during hunts.

By Hannah Campbell

Last week, our brilliant security Manager Daniel Yiankere was invited to KWS Headquarters in Nairobi to celebrate #worldrangerday in recognition of being one of the 50 rangers to have won an award in the 2018 African Ranger Awards by Paradise International Foundation.

© Izzy Parsons

On July 21st 2017, Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba and co-chair of Paradise International Foundation, announced in Kigali that a 10-year award program would be set up to support 500 wildlife rangers across Africa. The Paradise African Ranger Award will be given annually to 50 rangers in Africa who have made outstanding efforts to combat poaching, habitat loss, and the illegal wildlife trade. Today in Cape Town, some of the 50 winners will receive their awards in recognition and celebration of their achievements.

Daniel became a ranger for KWS in 1992 and during his 24 years’ service worked all over the country, in the Mara, Meru, Tsavo, Amboseli, Mt Elgon and Nairobi National Park. Daniel states, “serving as a Ranger makes me happy and gives me a sense of duty and pride – I feel that I have and still continue to make a great contribution to wildlife conservation.” He has been at Loisaba for over a year leading Loisaba’s security team of 64 Rangers and canine unit comprising four bloodhounds.

Daniel chose to become a ranger 25 years ago to protect Kenya’s wild animals for future generations. “One of my greatest successes was the interception of 81 pieces of ivory – at that time the person received a low fine but I am glad that today the penalties are steep after the enactment of the Wildlife Act – it helps discourage people from poaching our wildlife”, Daniel Sotian Yiankere.

Congratulations Daniel for this well deserved recognition for your incredible hard work and diligence protecting Kenya’s wildlife over the years! Find more on the 50 amazing African Rangers on


© Mikey Purchase

In May, Loisaba Conservancy hosted a ‘Fly In’ organised by the Aero Club of East Africa, an event normally held once every two years. Participants enjoyed a weekend of flying fun whilst staying at Elewana Collections luxury Loisaba Tented Camp and Loisaba Star Beds.

Eight aircrafts participated in the event including, two Cessna 206’s, one X-Cub, one Cessna 180 and four Cessna 182’s with pilots ranging from commercial pilots, recreational pilots to aviation enthusiasts.

The activities of the ‘Fly In’ included challenges such as the shortest take off distance; flour bag bomb dropping from a height of 200m into a large target on the airfield and spot landings onto a line on the airstrip. The pilots also enjoyed scenic flights around Loisaba Conservancy with elephant sightings in the hundreds.

© Michelle Purchase

The highlight of the flying fun was a flour bomb landing on the spectator tent during morning tea and biscuits! Once the flying was finished, guests spent the rest of the day lazing by the pool and going on game drives where they were lucky enough to spot lions and a leopard! A brief awards ceremony was held after dinner on Saturday night which was followed by an entertaining quiz.

We’re really looking forward to seeing all the participants and more back here at Loisaba next year!

By: Mikey Purchase



Nanyuki and Memusi on exercise

Tracker dogs are one of the most effective tools for wildlife security, often deterring poachers from even entering an area. Over the years our two bloodhounds Warrior and Machine have proved invaluable to Loisaba’s security team. They have helped track down dozens of poachers and criminals, find missing people and return livestock to their owners, earning them their well deserved reputation throughout Laikipia.

Memusi (male)

We are so excited to introduce two new recruits to our K9 unit – Memusi and Nanyuki! They were born in the Mara and are a cross breed of Bloodhound and Bluetick Coonhound. Their parents are both excellent trackers imported from the USA, their mother Anna (Bloodhound/Coonhound) is deep nosed and an amazingly accurate tracker whilst their father Morani (Bloodhound) a no nonsense brave tracker has led to the arrest of over 100 poachers during his 8 year deployment in the Mara Triangle. Born in August 2017, Memusi and Nanyuki have received training from both domestic and international trainers which we will continue here at Loisaba.

Nanyuki (female)

The incredible work these tracker dogs do combined with Kenya’s strong wildlife trophy law which can result in imprisonment for life or a 20 million shilling ($20,000) fine is a huge deterrent to poachers.

A big thank you to The Nature Conservancy for enabling Nanyuki and Memusi and their wonderful personalties to join the team!