Independent readers help protect Africa’s elephants


Oliver Poole, The Independent

Date Published
The 56,000-acre Loisaba Conservancy, which will house Kenya’s second elephant reserve, was a beneficiary of our 2013 Christmas campaign, which helped stop the range being sold off to developers.

Elephant-protection charity Space for Giants, which received more than £250,000 from Independent readers as a result of the Christmas appeal, helped protect the line by working with the Nature Conservancy for it to be turned into a Community Trust run with the help of the local communities.

“Securing this land is a critical move to protect elephants in this landscape,” said Max Graham, the founder of Space for Giants. “As pressure grows, securing large tracts of land is a vital strategy for elephant conservation here.”

Loisaba sits in an elephant migratory pathway 100 kilometers north of Mount Kenya, and the Ewaso N’giro and N’gare Narok Rivers form two of the property’s boundaries.  It also provides refuge for Kenya’s only stable lion population, and an abundance of other wildlife including Grevy zebra, wild dogs, leopard, and cheetah.

Faced with the threat of Loisaba being sold, Space for Giants and the Nature Conservancy facilitated securing the property by buying the land for $9 million.  It is now to survive as a Kenyan trust to save the land for its wildlife.

If had been sold, the land would have been subdivided and built on, decreasing the size of the available habitat and disrupting the migrations of elephants and other animals. Money will be raised to run it though encouraging tourism and the farming of livestock, which will create jobs for the local people.

Ecotourism opportunities include a luxury lodge, sleeping under the undisturbed African night sky on ‘Star Beds’, which are placed overlooking a ravine, rafting down the Ewaso Ngiro and Ng’are Narok Rivers and game drives.

“By protecting Loisaba, we can enhance natural resource management and scale up existing enterprises on the property,” said Charles Oluchina of the the Nature Conservancy.  “Loisaba has the potential to earn a profit, making it a self-sustaining engine for peace, community development, and wildlife conservation.  This is an innovative example of how Africa can both preserve its heritage and create economic opportunities for its people.”

The Loisaba Community Trust board of directors and advisory council will include representatives from the Nature Conservancy, Space for Giants, Northern Rangelands Trust, local government and neighboring communities.