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By Hannah Campbell

Elewana Collection’s Loisaba Lodo Springs © Niels van Gijn

Guests all over the world are able to experience the wilderness and wildlife of Loisaba by staying at one of the three Elewana Collection tourism properties: Loisaba Lodo Springs, Loisaba Tented Camp and Loisaba Star Beds, or our Acacia Campsite.

© Down to Earth Films

Not only does the experience of visiting Loisaba educate tourists in our various conservation efforts, the conservation fee that guests pay to stay at the conservancy and other revenue from tourism makes up almost half of our operating budget.

Conservation fees help contribute towards…

Security

© Lizzie Daly

We have a well-resourced, trained and disciplined ranger force of over 70, including an armed NPR (National Police Reservist) unit, rapid response teams, a canine unit comprising three tracker dogs and a Lion Ranger team. The team provide round the clock patrolling of the conservancy to eliminate the threat of poaching, in addition to high level security for all our guests and personnel.

Systematic morning and evening aerial patrols are also carried out, using our Piper Super-cub. The flight patrol plans are based on prior ground observations such as wounded animals or intrusions, which orients the nature of the flight.

Without financial support, this team would not have the necessary training or resources, and the conservation of wildlife and habitat would become increasingly challenging.

Community Support – Education

Children at Ewaso Primary School in Laikipia, Northern Kenya. Revenue from ecotourism at Loisaba is reinvested into the neighbouring communities for schools, like this one. © Ami Vitale

A vital part of conservation is educating the local communities about its importance, and to help place a value on the environment and wildlife. Here at Loisaba we support the building and development of local schools (including classrooms, libraries and internet access) and education strategies, and hold regular education days at our Conservation Centre.

The goal is to provide community members with the means of learning about the importance of wildlife conservation and habitat protection, and show how important careful land management is in the greater Ewaso ecosystem. In our experience, children have a keen interest in wildlife and conservation, but lack the opportunity to see these in practice.

Loisaba aims to provide that link, to help with conservation education, and to encourage positive participation in the landscape. We hope that by providing this resource to the next generation, we can target and reduce human-wildlife conflict that is becoming ever more threatening with the growing human population.

In addition to this, Loisaba Conservancy offers scholarships to students at primary, secondary and university levels.

Community Support – Heath Care        

Loisaba’s Clinical Health Officer – Kaltuma Dabaso – attending to patients.

Loisaba supports a number of health services within the neighbouring community conservancies, such as providing the monthly salary for nurses and community health workers, building and equipping a maternity wing, family planning (in partnership with Communities Heath Africa Trust), facilitating the procurance of medication, and providing medical outreach camps to communities. In addition to this, our Community Health Officer, Kaltuma, visits Ewaso Dispensary to attend to patients on a weekly basis.

Conservancy Operations and Maintenance

For Loisaba to operate effectively as a conservancy and working ranch, we have to employ a variety of people with various skills in order to keep running smoothly. From chefs in the staff village to accountants in the finance office, our employees are a critical part of Loisaba Conservancy.

In order for our security and conservation teams to function, research to be carried out, and of course for game drives, hundreds of kilometres of road must be maintained by regular grading and resurfacing.

Statutory Licenses

© Niels van Gijn

As its name suggests, Loisaba is a Private Conservancy rather than a National Park. This means we can offer horse and camel rides, bike rides, fishing, bush walks and many more activities, but we do not receive any funding from the government to help us look after the land. Instead, we must pay for business permits, operational licenses, land rates (to the county council) and land rent (to the government), which your conservancy fee helps towards.

We need your help!

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in an effort to contain its spread, Loisaba Lodo Springs, Loisaba Tented Camp and Loisaba Star Beds will be operationally suspended on the 1st April 2020.

Unfortunately, this means that our operating budget will be reduced significantly due to the reduction in conservation fees. While we will ensure prudence and efficiency in our expenditure, the reality is that to continue protecting the critical habitat and endangered species at Loisaba we need your help.

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.

GivingTuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Over the past seven years, it has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.

For GivingTuesday this year, we are encouraging donations towards health outreach clinics in Loisaba’s surrounding communities. Currently, there are very few clinics available to many of the communities surrounding Loisaba – only two out of five have one. This means many people have very limited access to health care, being several days walk from the nearest clinic.

© Ami Vitale

Loisaba currently holds a monthly outreach clinic in alternate communities which aims to see and treat as many people as possible, along with assisting at a local dispensary every Monday. This is carried out by collected government supplied drugs from a pharmacy in a nearby town, and driving into the communities – providing medical care to over 1,500 people. Loisaba also provides stipends and training for Community Health Workers, in order to help provide health care on a daily basis.

© 2019 Matthew Gann

A recent guest at Elewana Collection’s Loisaba Tented Camp, Jillian Gann, is helping to raise funds for health care in the Loisaba Communities. A recent survey in our communities has shown that the top priority for women is medical care. Help us by donating here.

$50 will fund one of the weekly visits to Ewaso Dispensary

$100 will fund a training day for the Community Health Workers

$200 will fund a monthly medial outreach clinic

© 2019 Matthew Gann

Donated funds will go to Loisaba Community Conservation Foundation Inc., a 501(c)3 qualified Charitable Trust, meaning all donations from the US are 100% tax deductible. LCCF does not take administration fees or costs associated with your donation, so all funds raised will go directly to the project.

You can also donate through our Loisaba Donation page – www.loisaba.com/donate.

A huge thank you to Jillian Gann for supporting our efforts in providing necessary healthcare to those with limited access, and to Loisaba Community Conservation Foundation for their continued support.

By Hannah Campbell

Lions are in trouble. Their population in Africa is estimated to have almost halved in the past 20 years, with as few as 20,000 estimated to be remaining across the entire continent. This is largely due to habitat loss and degradation, having lost 90% of their historic range. Other factors include reduction in prey, human-lion conflict, lack of incentives for communities to tolerate lions leading to a negative perception and ineffective lion population management.

© Hannah Campbell

In an effort to improve predator population monitoring, the Kenyan government, together with numerous NGO’s, are currently undertaking a comprehensive nation-wide lion survey using a standardised method called Spatially Explicit Capture Recapture Method. This involves teams regularly patrolling the conservancy and recording locations of lion sightings, as well as taking ID photographs, in order to estimate population size. Any other predators that are sighted are also recorded, with particular interest in cheetah and wild dog populations and distribution.

© Taro Croze

Loisaba is part of the 77,595km2 area that is being intensively surveyed to provide accurate estimates of lion numbers in all potential ‘source’ populations. Working closely with our partner Lion Landscapes, our conservation department has been trained on the standardised methodology in order to individually identify any lions that are sighted.

Map to show the areas that the lion census is taking place.

A further 580,367km2 will be surveyed through over 3,500 interviews with local experts. The results of these interviews will be analysed to assess the distribution of large carnivores throughout the country.

Guests staying at Elewana Collection’s Loisaba Lodo Springs, Loisaba Tented Camp and Loisaba Star Beds can help participate in this survey by reporting any sightings of lions, cheetahs or wild dogs to our conservation team.

© Taro Croze

Any photos that are taken of these predators are also useful! If you are staying at Loisaba and would like to contribute towards the database, please see the below guide for taking ID photos of the lions. The team will need to be able to distinguish between individuals, so focusing on one lion is best. If you manage to take all necessary photos of that individual, take a photo of the sky or ground as an indicator that you are now photographing another individual. Photos, along with the date, time and location (ask your guide for help with this if your camera does not have a built in GPS) can then be sent to [email protected].

Guide for lion ID photos.

by Dr. Nicholas Pilfold

The last two weeks have seen worldwide coverage of the black leopards recorded on San Diego Zoo Global remote cameras in Laikipia, and has resulted in intense interest in the sighting and science behind it. As the research is ongoing, we are continuing to watch our cameras for more observations, so we can unravel some of the mystery behind these black cats, including their range and movements.

When we started our research to scientifically confirm black leopard sightings (see: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/aje.12586), we focused on a small area to the south of Loisaba Conservancy to acquire imagery. We had always had suspected that the black leopards from our study ranged across several conservancies in the area including Loisaba. And now, we have our first recordings on our remote cameras on Loisaba! It is very exciting to start to record black leopard activity at a larger scale.

https://youtu.be/VQq_4oXYpRk

There are many questions that remain about the black panthers in Laikipia. How many are there and what is their frequency in the population? Why do black leopards live here in a semi-arid environment with little dense forest for camouflage? What other advantages does being black provide to leopards that may allow this trait to persist in the population?

While some of these questions may take years to answer, finding these individuals ranging at a broader scale is a step in the right direction for our research.