Lewa Wildlife Conservancy
The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is an award-winning catalyst and model for community conservation, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and features on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Green List of successful protected areas.
Lewa is the heart of wildlife conservation, sustainable development and responsible tourism in northern Kenya and our successful working model has provided the framework on which many conservation organisations in the region are based.
The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy works as a catalyst and model for the conservation of wildlife and its habitat. It does this through the protection and management of species, the initiation and support of community conservation and development programmes, and the education of neighbouring areas in the value of wildlife.
Establishment of community conservancies
Lewa is actively involved in promoting conservation both within its boundaries and in the ecologically important community-owned areas to its north. The Conservancy is the founding member of the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT), an innovative partnership that offers support to communities who have set land aside for wildlife conservation and development in northern Kenya.
The NRT community conservancies have emulated Lewa’s successful model. Since formation of the NRT, the amount of land under integrated conservation management has increased from the original 5,000km2 to the present 25,000 km2. This has allowed wildlife to begin to migrate once again throughout their historical natural range. The establishment of community conservation areas has increased the protection afforded not only to wildlife but also to people and livestock, a benefit that is paramount to these nomadic pastoralist communities in northern Kenya.
Provision of technical and managerial expertise
Lewa continues to provide the much needed technical, managerial and logistical support to the NRT conservancies, with collaborative efforts in wildlife operations, security and community programmes. The Conservancy also provides expertise to new and upcoming wildlife sanctuaries, as well as established conservation areas.
The Conservancy is also a founding member of Ol Pejeta Conservancy, the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa. Lewa helped set up Ol Pejeta, equally assisting with technical and managerial expertise. The two conservancies continue to work closely especially in wildlife and security operations.
Lewa as a learning institution
Often, the Conservancy welcomes visitors seeking to learn from its wealth of experience in development and conservation. Guests seeking to establish new conservation areas have visited Lewa from as far as Sudan, Ethiopia and Tanzania.