History of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy

History of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy : Lewa Wildlife Conservancy was once a cattle ranch, it now encompasses over 62,000 acres (250 sq.km). The Craig/Douglas family first came to Lewa in 1922 and the man aged it as a cattle ranch for over 50 years. Unlike other ranches in the neighboring areas, they always valued the wildlife that shared the land and developed wildlife tourism safari as an additional activity. In the Lewa Wildlife Sanctuary, it was clear in the year 1980’s that the black rhino was unlike to survive in the northern Kenya. Poaching had reduced the black rhino’s to 300 numbers from an estimated 20,000 animals in the mid-1970’s  to a few hundred by the year 1986. The Craigs and Anna Merz in 1983 who funded the program decided to establish the fenced and guarded Ngare Sergoi Rhino Sanctuary at the western end of Lewa. Then the white rhinos were then added to the program after the black rhinos had settled down and establish themselves. After ten years it was clear that the rhinos needed more space to expand, and the sanctuary was expanded to cover the rest of the ranch, and the adjoining Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve. In 1995 the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy was founded and the area expanded to include the whole farm and part of the Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve.

 Lewa Downs has been an exclusive safari destination for many years, but it was made famous when the Britain’s Prince William proposed to Catherine Middleton there in the year 2010. It is considered to be one of the greatest conservation success stories in the world and is a model for the sustainable tourism. Another event the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is famous for is the Safaricom Marathon, an annual event held to raise for the conservancy’s environmental initiatives. Thus the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy started its journey to becoming one of the Kenya’s premier safari destinations and the conservation pioneers.

History of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy
Lewa Wildlife Conservancy

The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is abundance of the wildlife, in that it is a home to both the black and the white rhinos and is first and foremost a rhino sanctuary in Kenya. It also harbours approximately 15% of the world’s population of the endangered Grevy’s zebra. The Lewa Wildlife Sanctuary is also a home to over 70 different species of the mammals and over a variety of the bird species that are over 350 different species of birds. During your Kenya safaris in the Lewa Wildlfie Sanctuary you will be able to spot a variety of the mammals that includes the African lions, cheetahs, leopards, elephants, wild dogs, hyenas, and many others and as well you will spot a large variety of the hoofed animals like the rare acquatic antelope, the sitatunga and many others.

The Lewa Wildlfie Sanctuary mission statement says that it works as a catalyst for the conservation for the wildlife and its habitat, it does this through protection and the management of the species, the initiation and supporting of the community conservation and the development programs, and the education of the neighboring areas in the value of the wildlife. The approach Lewa Wildlife Conservancy approach has been always one of the inclusivity and tangible contribution to the rural livehoods. With the support and the encouragement of the Lewa CEO Ian Craig, community-owned and managed conservancies began to spring up around Laikipia and Isilio. SO successful was the multi-pronged approach to the land management, security and tourism that the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy was constantly called upon to support and guide the surrounding protected areas.

The result was the formation of the Northern Rangelands Trust (as a separate entity from the Lewa), which now oversees 30 different conservancies and the community lands, its mission: is to develop resilient community conservancies to ‘’ transform people’s lives, secure peace and conserve natural resources’’ through providing funds, advice, training and support.

Lewa Wildlfie Sanctuary participates in the amazing broad-based community programs. And this where they believe that the key to successful wildlife conservation lies in the gaining support of the local people that live around the Lewa Wildlfie Conservancy.

History of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy
History of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy

The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy gives back to the communities through their community development programs. The Lewa Wildlife  Conservancy operates mainly in three health clinics, that is through supporting the numerous schools, assist with neighboring community conservation schemes, help to develop sustainable water projects, adult literacy programs, and a women’s micro-credit program to name a few.

Attribute to the success of the Lewa’s conservation efforts came in 2013 when the UNESCO declared both the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and the neighboring Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve an extension of the Mount Kenya World Heritage Site.

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