Day of the Jackal
We're hosting our regional meeting at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia County, Kenya. We have a long-running partnership with the managers of this area, advising on conservation approaches and how to make conservation work with the myriad community needs and pressures all around the Conservancy's boundaries. It's a great example of a place that has high wildlife densities but fosters good relationships with the community by allowing them to graze cattle, and manages its own herd to sell beef for extra income. Livestock can boost wildlife numbers by stimulating the growth of fresh nutritious shoots, which is what has happened here. Many regions of Kenya have the perfect ingredients for wildlife tourism, which the government has exploited well. In Laikipia County the combination of volcanic soils from Mount Kenya and two rainy periods per year (one 'short', one 'long') encourages wildlife densities several factors greater than much of Southern Africa.
Although this research centre has expanded since (a well manicured fire pit; the convenience of wifi) in 2006 I spent three months in these lodgings, undertaking the research for my masters degree. For me it feels extra special to be back, and the drive from the main gate validated my running commentary to colleagues that Ol Pejeta is excellent for wildlife. Jackal and plentiful zebra.
Our Africa programme ethos always feels very intense and hardworking so we alighted from the long drive from Nairobi straight into strategy meetings. We are all shattered but it feels wonderful to be here in the company of our workmates from Liberia, Guinea, Kenya, Uganda and Congo.