Conservation in Kenya update

This video says about itself:

2 February 2018

A film by Fabian Haas, Pixels on Screen, on the unique value of Lake Ol’ Bolossat in Kenya, and the impact of the CEPF investment to protect this Key Biodiversity Area. (In English and kiSwahili.)

From BirdLife:

14 Mar 2018

Rapid response turns shrinking Kenyan lake into protected area

Lake Ol Bolossat is home to thriving hippopotamus families and a wealth of stunning waterbirds. But human activity is drying up this oasis of life. Just in the nick of time, a CEPF-funded campaign persuaded the Kenyan Government to grant formal protection.

By Jude Fuhnwi

Lake Ol Bolossat is a small lake in the Nyandarua County of central Kenya. It lies nestled between the northwestern slopes of Aberdare Mountains and the Dundori Ridge, and serves as the source of the Ewaso Nyiro River and Thomson’s falls.  The open water, marshes, grassland and forests – not to mention the springs that feed the lake – offer a great variety of habitats. This lake is home to several families of hippopotamus and serves as a vital stop-over site for migrating birds such as the beautiful – but Endangered – Grey Crowned-crane Balearica regulorum. Designated as Kenya’s 61st Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA), the lake is known to hold important water bird species.

As a source of the Ewaso Nyiro River, it also supports the large population of people, livestock and wildlife that live downstream. Fishermen in the area depend on the lake for their livelihood: catfish are abundant during rainy seasons.

But until very recently, Lake Ol Bolossat was on the list of IBAs in danger. The lake was facing extinction from unprecedented levels of environmental degradation. Threats from human activities such as quarrying, road construction activities, over-grazing, pollution and illegal settlement on riverside land have reduced the water body significantly. In fact, there are now only 4 km2 of open water left.

And so, following a significant campaign by the East African Wildlife Society (EAWLS) through a project funded by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), on January 24 Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for the Environment and Natural Resources, Prof. Judi Wakhungu, endorsed and signed the gazettement of Lake Ol Bolossat as a protected area.

“The biodiversity is awesome. I’ve gazetted this beautiful Lake in order to protect it from encroachment,” said Prof. Wakhungu in a tweet on February 04, days after declaring its new protected status.

The nine-month project, known as “Enhancing Environmental Regulations in Safeguarding Lake Ol Bolossat in Nyandarua County, Kenya”, received funding from CEPF through BirdLife International as Regional Implementation Team (RIT) in the Eastern Afromontane Hotspot to ensure its ecosystem services are preserved.  The project funded the East African Wildlife Society to reduce negative impact on the lake – especially from road construction and agricultural expansion. Their combined efforts with other stakeholders* influenced the Kenyan government’s decision to formally protect the wetland.

“Effective January 24, 2018 Lake Ol Bolossat is a wetland protected area”, declared Prof. Wakhungu, on February 02, during an event on the site to observe World Wetlands Day in Kenya, hosted by the EAWLS. “I endorsed and signed the gazettement. The documents are now with the Attorney General that the effective date of the gazettement of Lake Ol Bolossat is January 24, 2018.”

This new protected wetland has joined the Eastern Afromontane’s 142 protected areas. It also adds over 4,000 hectares to the 1.2 million hectares of new Protected Area to the African Protected Area network gained as a result of CEPF-funded projects, often co-financed by other donors.

Reacting to the Cabinet Secretary’s announcement, Jabes Okumu, Wildlife Programme Manager at the East African Wildlife Society, described it as a major achievement that “will provide the institutional and legal framework to guide and coordinate all conservation efforts within and around Lake Ol Bolossat.” “Thanks to CEPF for supporting us to champion this noble course,” he said.

Under the CEPF funded project, the lake was profiled in the media as a top priority within a Joint Action Plan by key stakeholders.

“Through our ‘rapid response fund’**, we provided US$10,000 to EAWLS in 2016. EAWLS continued with their activities after the CEPF/BirdLife funded project with funding from the Rufford Foundation and the Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation,” said Maaike Manten, Team Leader for the RIT. “This shows that limited ‘seed funding’ can have major positive impacts.”

Other projects supported by the rapid response fund under the CEPF Eastern Afromontane Small Grants Programme targeted the protection of Ethiopian wolves in Ethiopia and vultures in Kenya. The programme made a total of 11 rapid response fund grants across the hotspot.

Read more below:

Volunteer Conservationists draw attention to Lake Bogoria

New partnership to safeguard Malagarasi River System

Malagarasi river finds favor with local women

A first success in Eastern Afromonatane Hotspot

* BirdLife International, together with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society (BirdLife in Ethiopia) formed the Regional Implementation Team (RIT) for the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) investment in the Eastern Afromontane Hotspot (2012 -2017). The investment supported civil society in applying innovative approaches to conservation in under-capacitated and underfunded protected areas, Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) and priority corridors in the region.

** The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, through its Regional Implementation Team in the Eastern Afromontane biodiversity hotspot, started providing ‘rapid response fund’ grants of maximum USD 10,000 in July 2014. These grants were issued to fund projects that aimed to protect Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) under immediate and urgent threat. The main idea behind these grants was “to support the role of civil society organizations in the application of site safeguard policies and procedures in order to avoid or minimize / mitigate ongoing and emerging threats on critical biodiversity habitats”.

See the interactive map of all projects implemented under the CEPF Eastern Afromontane hotspot programme here.


Kenyan mongoose escapes from lions

This 13 March 2018 video says about itself:

Mahendra Jain captured this beautiful moment of fun and games in Kenya and told how it all played out: “It was a stunning drive. We were ready to go out and do some game viewing, I was admiring the splendor of the vast landscape surrounding me.”

“I happened to notice that there was a pride of very young lion cubs hanging around a bushy mound and wondered what they were up to…” “Seconds later, shrill screams could be heard filling the air and I could see that one of the cubs had managed to capture a mongoose.”

“The mongoose was most distraught and decided to put up the fight of its life. This little one was determined not to become anyone’s dinner, never mind chew-toy. Whilst warding off its enemy, the mongoose managed to get his lucky break and ran over to another mound giving himself an opportunity to half fly into one of the burrow openings.”

“It was very funny to watch as the cubs were most perplexed as to where their newfound toy had just disappeared off to. I can only imagine their disappointment of having a game ended before it ever really began.”

Mongeese are commonly known to be vicious fighters and extremely fast. They have no fear in standing up to any potential danger, no matter what the size. Many a hyena, leopard, lion or even snakes have been sent fleeing from the sight when they try and take on this little beast. Mongeese are incredibly clever animals, hence why their crazy David vs Goliath tactics always seem to put them in the winning seat. Dynamite, most definitely, does come in small packages here.

Leopards in Kenya, video

This video from Kenya says about itself:

Evasive leopards of the Maasai Mara

18 January 2018

Just a short highlight showing the most seen and famous leopards of the Mara, showing their beauty, speed and skill.

Hyenas and lion in Africa

This video from Maasai Mara national park in Kenya says about itself:

When hyenas see a male lion

3 January 2018

Amazing sighting showing yet again how feared a male lion is, and this one is just a young juvenile lion.

Also featuring hippos and jackals.

Lion tries not to get wet

This video from Maasai Mara in Kenya says about itself:

Male lion hilariously trying not to get his paws wet

19 nov. 2017

Clearly this lion knows nothing about physics nor was he thinking ahead!! He jumped into position to quench his thirst. Then he realized when he finished drinking that it was going to be a problem to get back without getting his feet wet in the puddle he had avoided in jump stretching into position in the first place. Hilarious!! He looked very embarrassed slinking off afterwards.

White giraffes seen in Kenya

Young white giraffe, 'normal' giraffe and white giraffe mother. Photo by Hirola Conservation Programme

From the Hirola Conservation Programme blog in Kenya:

Sunday, 06 August 2017 12:58


Early june this year, reports of a white baby giraffe and its mother were reported to us by the rangers who got the report from one of the villagers adjacent to the Ishaqbini conservancy. We hurriedly headed to the scene as soon as we got the news. And lo! There, right in front of us, was the so hyped ‘white giraffe’ of Ishaqbini conservancy! They were so close and extremely calm and seemed not disturbed by our presence. The mother kept pacing back and forth a few yards in front of us while signalling the baby giraffe to hide behind the bushes – a characteristic of most wildlife mothers in the wild to prevent the predation of their young.

While observing the magnificent long-necked animal looking at us, I could not but help see the fading reticulates on their skin! It was evident that the coloration especially on the mother giraffe was not as conspicuous as on the baby. The question that lingered in my mind was if the fading on the skin was something that happened at birth or thereafter in the adult giraffe life? This is because the baby giraffe had very conspicuous reticulates but with a small tinge of the white coloration that seemed to continue fading away leaving the baby white as it approaches adulthood.

White giraffe sightings or leucistic giraffe as they are better known have become more frequent and common nowadays. In fact, the only two known sightings have been made in Kenya and Tanzania. The very first reports of a white giraffe in the wild was reported in January 2016 in Tarangire National park, Tanzania; a second sighting was again reported in March 2016 in Ishaqbini conservancy, Garissa county, Kenya.

As a matter of fact, these sightings have become a common occurrence in the hirola’s geographic range that the communities in these areas (especially within our conservancies) have become so excited to a point where everybody has been participating in reporting the sighting of these magnificent animals! But the question that lingers in the minds of many is, is the giraffe white or what’s up with its coloration? Experts have explained that the condition is known as leucism, which results in the partial loss of the pigmentation of the giraffe’s original color. In this very sighting, in Ishaqbini, there was a mother and a juvenile. The communities within Ishaqbini have mixed reactions to the sighting of this leucistic giraffe and most of the elders report that they have never seen this before. ‘This is new to us” says Bashir one of the community rangers who alerted us when they sighted the white giraffe. “I remember when I was a kid, we never saw them” he added. “It must be very recent and we are not sure what is causing it” he said.

An extremely rare white giraffe and her baby calf were spotted in Kenya.