WILDLIFE & CONSERVATION
SCC Kenya is committed to sustainability - making a difference to communities as well as contributing to the preservation of the environment and wildlife in the areas in which we operate. We pursue meaningful and lasting benefits for both the environment and the communities that underpin our operations, with a sustainable and innovative approach. The majority of our guests seek a deeper experience of Africa, and a significant connection with the local community. Experiential travel is now as much about seeing wildlife as relating to the people who live in these areas.
The staff working in our lodges are local, and send a large proportion of their salary home, to educate members of the family or sustain others in rural areas where jobs are scarce. We are commited to supporting local community projects which include support for schools and education, clinics, social outreach projects and water provision. There are too many to list in entirety here, but a few ideas of how we are involved will give an idea of our commitments:
SOLVING CONFLICT IN THE GREAT RIFT VALLEY
At Samatian Island Lodge, Ross and Caroline Withey were heavily involved in the setting up of the Ruko Community Wildlife Trust (RCWT) after clashes between the Pokot and Njemps brought their elders to the area looking for an urgent solution to the ongoing tribal conflict. Working in conjunction with the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT), Ruko is an equitable partnership between the Njemps and Pokot Tribes of Lake Baringo, whose aim is to restore and protect the region for the benefit of its wildlife and communities. By ensuring equal participation from both communities, we believe that areas of conflict will be resolved, allowing both tribes to benefit from the region's success. Please view www.ruko-kenya.org for more information.
AN INNOVATIVE IDEA TO HELP THE BLIND AND DISABLED
On Borana Ranch, Hide & Sheepskin was set up originally in 1966, by Will Powys, grandfather to Michael Dyer. The ambitious project was started in order to employ the local disabled people in the area, and from humble beginnings in a small wooden thatched building, Hide & Sheepskin now employs a talented group of blind and physically disabled people, creating an impressive variety of top quality sheep and calfskin products. In an area where polio and other debilitating diseases are common, this project gives those affected an ideal means to express their creativity and independence, alongside a sustainable livelihood.
CARING FOR THE SICK
Borana also sponsors a mobile health clinic, the focus of which is AIDS awareness and family planning, alongside an immunisation programme for babies. The clinic has two nurses and one driver trained in Voluntary Counselling and Testing, who visit twelve locations on a bi-monthly basis. In one day, 200 school children were immunised against polio. Approximately US$30,000 is spent annually on maintaining the services provided by the clinic.
EDUCATION AS A PRIORITY
Education is a huge priority for most communities in Kenya; a fact that our lodges and camps recognise and try to assist with. Whilst at Lemarti's Camp, our guests pay a community fee, which goes directly to the elders (in keeping with traditional decision making channels) who so far have decided that education is top of the agenda for these funds. At Borana, five local primary schools are supported by funds raised on the ranch. These schools had suffered from years of neglect due to their inaccessibility, but today, Borana provides:
- Bursaries for children from disadvantaged families for education beyond primary level
- Provision of facilities and teaching in schools in order to improve learning environments
- Implementation of programmes that teach children the value of wildlife and environments
ENCOURAGING GROWTH AND QUALIFICATIONS
At Richard's Camp, local rangers are accommodated at the camp, but a group in the community is also employed for their beadwork skills; and their items are sold in the camp shop. Richard's Camp also assists individuals through guide school, helping them achieve ranking in the Kenya Professional Guides Association.
PACK FOR A PURPOSE
Guests of Borana can now Pack for a Purpose! Essentially this means that guests are invited to pack materials that will be of help to Borana's health and education programmes, in the extra luggage space that they have. A brilliant idea from Rebecca and Scott Rothney, borne of their first safari to Botswana. Please see more on their website: www.packforapurpose.org.
Environment and Wildlife
At each of our properties, we have a team of top guides who are committed to assisting with the protection of the environment, anti-poaching and animal protection. Our guides play an essential part in our conservation efforts, whilst our managers oversee the initiatives we put in place in order that these efforts are protected. From the water recylcing in our Nairobi office through to all our camps, we are committed to recycling, reducing and re-using as much as possible.
A proportion of each guest's payment goes toward the sustainability of this wilderness, which is achieved by working closely with the local community.
Utilizing ranch land for wildlife protection
In the 1980s, Borana Ranch was primarily a ranch used for livestock, and intensively farmed with cattle and sheep. Today, however, Borana makes up a crucial part of the Laikipia ecosystem, and has become something of a safe haven for wildlife. The Ranch borders Lewa Conservancy, and is working hard to create a safe environment for rhino (this requires huge financial input, with the average rhino costing US$25,000 per year to keep safe).
Michael Dyer, the owner of Borana, was involved in the foundation of the Laikipia Wildlife Forum, which started in 1996. The LWF was set up in order to conserve wildlife and its habitat outside of national parks, through education and the utilization of resources, the promotion of eco-tourism, the control of human/animal conflict and the prevention of further degradation to the rangeland of Laikipia.
The LWF has been very successful in joining together all the peoples of Laikipia - the cattle ranchers, the small-scale farmers and the pastoralists - as a single body to confront economic and social issues in the area as well as promoting conservation. http://www.laikipia.org/
Land for Lions
In another example of how SCC Kenya is involved with wildlife conservation is at Shompole, where Anthony Russell has recently implemented a 'Land for Lions' conservation fee of US$10 per person per night which will go directly to the protection of lions in the area. This is particularly pertinent when recent research shows that the lion population is now down to 30,000 (from an estimated 150,000 - see Living with Lions), and lions are desperately in need of protection.
Preserving Mount Kenya's pristine wilderness
At Rutundu Log Cabins, we have seen an upturn in the numbers of wildlife in the area after having established a small team of rangers in the area, who protect wildlife from the increasing population pressures at the foot of Mount Kenya. Many Kenyans are desperate for food, and will resort to poaching wildlife in order to feed themselves and their families.
Willie Roberts' creation of the Mara Conservancy - a lasting model
Today, the the Mara Conservancy in the Triangle Area is based on a model created by Willie Roberts in 2001. The new model focused on community based conservation which would allow the migration to flourish without the threat of poachers. Endangered fauna and flora including the Balanites Tree would be protected whilst local Masai communities would benefit from their deserved share of tourism revenue. The Mara Conservancy is managed today by Brian Heath and his team. As the first public/private sector conservation partnership in Kenya, the Mara Conservancy fulfilled its first five-year contract and entered a new ten-year contract in October 2005.