Supporting Indigenous People in Northern Kenya

Supporting Indigenous People in Northern Kenya

The Nature Conservancy is working with partners and communities in northern Kenya, including Laikipia, to help ensure that both wildlife and pastoralists have access to a very precious resource: grass. At Loisaba Conservancy, a Nature Conservancy partner, grass is carefully managed to maintain healthy habitat for wildlife, while enabling sustainable livestock grazing. For the past 15 years, the property managers have entered into agreements with neighboring pastoralists, largely Samburu, who abide by rules of sustainable grazing and pay a nominal monthly fee for access to grass. Loisaba herders use science-guided plans to ensure that good grass grows year after year. Without well-coordinated sustainable grazing, cattle can eat the grass too low, with the result being bare soil, erosion, and gullying. With climate change creating worsening cycles of drought, competition for grass is growing. In some areas, pastoralists are expanding their herds larger than their land can support. There are increasing incidents of pastoralists from other areas coming to Laikipia, trespassing on private lands, and illegally taking grass that law-abiding pastoralists, as well as wildlife, need. The consequences of illegal grazing are far-reaching, and are already affecting tribes such as Turkana, Kikuyu, and others. In this video, a Samburu pastoralist from the KMC community explains that a grazing agreement with Loisaba ensures his cows can find grass during this drought, and how illegal grazing can disrupt this balance. The Nature Conservancy is building on our strong partnerships with the Samburu to expand these grazing programs. As we continue to work with local partners to spread this proven approach, the key to long-term success is serious commitment from the Kenyan government to ensure stability in the region for law-abiding citizens who are working hard to steward two vital assets – grass and wildlife – for the benefit of all Kenyans.


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