News from the #Laikipia Wildlife Forum

#Laikipia Wildlife Forum News Updates

Issue: 19
Welcome to the 19th Edition of the Forum Focus, LWF’s Official Newsletter.
Dear Prof. Dr. Wolfgang H.,
We begin our first edition of the Forum Focus with a tribute to Mr. Gilfred Powys, one of LWF’s founders.

Gilfred Powys (right) receives a painting at LWF’s 2004 Annual General Meeting when he stepped down as Chair of the Forum.

Gilfred and Kuki Gallmann were legend in their early attempts to realise a Forum that would serve the needs of Laikipia. Predicated on Richard Leakey’s earliest efforts at wildlife conservation, wildlife utilisation and benefit sharing, Gilfred and Kuki were guided in their endeavours by two outstanding KWS advisors – Philip Wandera and Walter Njuguna. We learned that the first 8 years of the Forum were alternately guided by Gilfred and Brian Heath, as they supervised the culling and processing of zebras with the assistance of Josephat Musyima. Gilfred presided over the governance of the Forum, and led the development of community outreach and dialog on benefit sharing – a process that became known as FORUMNESS.

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Disney Awards Conservation Project to Il Mamusi Community Forest Association (CFA) to Prevent Human Wildlife Conflict
Caption: ILMAMUSI CFA Board Members join WCS/Disney Coordinator-Kenya, Hilde Van Leeuwe (front row 5th from right), Laikipia Wildlife Forum Executive Director, Peter Hetz (back row 4th from left), LWF M&E Specialist, Margaret Wambua (front row 1st from right), Borana Conservancy Community Liason and Development Officer, Ochen Maiyani (back row 5th from right) Lewa Wildlife Conservancy Community Development Program Manager, John Kinoti (1st from left front row), NRT Regional Director-NRT West, Fred Obiya (back row 6th from left) pose for a group photo during the launch event. Senteo Ole Kimirri, (second from right) is the CFA Manager, supported by the CFA Coordinator, Samuel Letai (back row centre).
The 70,000 acre Mukogodo Forest is the most significant highland, dry forest in Laikipia. It contains over 170 different species of plants, and presently forms part of an application for eastern Laikipia to become an important bird area given its diversity of bird species. Traditionally a dry-season grazing reserve for surrounding communities, the Forest is under increasing pressure from outside pastoralists. Increased pressure and demand for natural resources from these incursions forces wildlife in the area into greater contact with surrounding group ranches, increasing human wildlife conflict. LWF, Borana Conservancy, NRT and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy are all joined to ensure that Mukogodo’s residents are helped to secure and protect their resources.

IL MAMUSI is an acronym derived from the four group ranches (Ilngwesi, Makurian, Mukogodo, and Sieku) surrounding Mukogodo Forest. Together, they formed this umbrella association to oversee the protection, preservation and management of this national forest reserve as mandated under the Forestry Conservation and Management Act.

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MKEWP Updates
We have a Strategic Plan!
We are happy to announce that the MKEWP Strategic Plan for the next five years has been approved and adopted by our Council. This took place during our Annual General Meeting on 8th of December 2017. The Strategic Plan will continue to guide our activities and funding for the next 5 years. Rural Focus was a consultant to this effort.

The key objectives of the strategic plan are as follows: 1. Strengthen Institutional Capacity, Participation and Coordination for Integrated Water Resource Management; 2. Improve Water Demand Management and Governance; 3. Improve Water Security and Sustainability. This includes, Dam Site identification and Ground Water mapping; 4. Enhance Knowledge Management and Communication; 5. Enhance the MKEWP Capacity for Integrated Water Resource Management.

MKEWP met with members from Mutara and Surgoroi WRUAs in December 2017 to talk more about the Laikipia Cattle, Water & Wildlife project that aims at enhancing socio-ecological resilience within the project area, as well as give members copies of the recently published Guide to Kenya’s Water Act (2016) produced by the MKEWP.
We continue to work with Fauna & Flora International (FFI), Ol Pejeta Conservancy (OPC) and the Laikipia Wildlife Forum (Secretariat to MKEWP) with support from the Darwin Initiative on the Cattle, Water & Wildlife: Enhancing Socio-Ecological Resilience in Laikipia. This important Project will see approximately 8,000ha of dispersal area (including ADC Mutara) secured for rhino, elephant and predators; grazing and water resources managed for local communities and pastoral livelihoods, and resource conflict reduced across the wider OPC landscape…..
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Bicycle-Powered Cinema Comes to Laikipia
Over the last three weeks a team of young filmmakers, in partnership with LWF, have been traveling through the rhino conservancies of Laikipia with the aim of producing a film about rhino and wildlife conservation. The primary narrative of the film stems from conservancy employees who tell their story about why their jobs are important, rewarding, and meaningful for wildlife conservation.

With the support of Borana, Il Ngwesi, Ol Pejeta and Ol Jogi Conservancies, the team talked to rangers, ranch workers, extension staff and the local youth about conservation and what it means to them. Laikipia is perhaps most famous for its conservation of rhinos more than any other species, and all participants were keen to talk about the benefits this tremendous commitment to rhino conservation means for communities, for the county and for Kenya.

Jamie & Hannah Filming at Il Ngwesi Conservancy
Stand Up For Nature filmmakers Hannah Pollock and Jamie Unwin have embarked on a major effort to win the hearts and minds for those passionate about wildlife conservation. Their work in Kenya includes the Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association, the conservancies of the Magadi Basin, and Laikipia. They will return to show the films that have been made at the beginning of March 2018.

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The Future Looks Bright For Laikipia’s Tourism!
Caption: (LtoR) Kevin Ouma (photographer, PROKRAFT), Timothy Wachira (photographer, PROKRAFT), Marion Mithamo (writer/blogger), Mwangi Kirubi aka Mwarv (photographer, PROKRAFT), Paul Kimiri (Tourism Officer, Laikipia County Government) and John King’ori (Laikipia Tourism Association Secretary) at Rumuruti Forest during the content creation exercise for the LTA and Destination Laikipia

The Laikipia tourism industry dreams of a more fruitful year in 2018 and the Laikipia Tourism Association is a major player.

2017 was tough on Laikipia’s Tourism sector. Insecurity in the County and uncertainty in Kenya’s national political arena affected tourism – in particular the north of Kenya which is a key cultural, wildlife and nature destination for travellers.

However, tourism providers are optimistic that 2018 will be a game-changer for their businesses. The Amaya Triangle Initiative brings together the four County Governments of Isiolo, Baringo, Samburu and Laikipia in a productive dialog about peace and security, pastoralist economies, tourism, infrastructure and water. Stakeholders in this important employment and revenue-generating industry have joined efforts in a bid to lay down solutions that will enhance long term, sustainable tourism development.

The Laikipia Tourism Association (LTA) has put in place efforts for 2018 that include:

Creation/development of Laikipia tourism content to brand and market Laikipia as a preferred travel destination and as a hub for commerce. The Laikipia Tourism Association joined efforts with Laikipia’s County Department of Tourism, Trade & Cooperatives to support a team of photographers and bloggers to traverse Laikipia in order to develop image, video and story content for Destination Laikipia campaign (Follow the Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages to join the conversation).

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Watch this space for regular updates!
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In Case You Missed It!
The Amaya Triangle Initiative is Launched
The Amaya Triangle Initiaitive launched 2 weeks ago brings together the County Governments of Laikipia, Baringo, Isiolo and Samburu to address root causes of conflict with the aim of bringing about transformation, lasting partnerships and sustainable solutions to challenges that hinder peace and security in the region. The launch, proudly sponsored by KCB was well attended by the respective participating Counties and key stakeholders. Speaking at the launch, the Governor of Laikipia – H.E. Hon. Nderitu Mureiithi said that Tourism stands to benefit greatly from the initiative as it will open up the Northern circuit to both local and international tourists. For regular updates, follow Destination Laikipia on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Caption: (below) Governor Mureiithi addresses stakeholders during the launch of the Initiative