Indigenous weather forecasting techniques, practiced by traditional rainmakers in most Kenyan communities are helping scientists develop reliable systems for predicting the weather based on a combination of natural phenomena; observing the migration and behaviour of certain birds, insects, reptiles, the flowering of certain trees and other plants.
A project in Laikipia County developed to explain seasonal forecasting to local farmers has demonstrated that building bridges between traditional and scientific knowledge can provide valuable impact when it comes to climate adaptation. Both approaches have much to offer and can benefit from each other. In an effort to put climate information into farmer’s hands, the metrological department from Laikipia in conjunction with traditional weather forecasters and organisations working in Natural Resource Management have come together to look at ways of integrating both conventional (scientific) and traditional methods of predicting weather. The delegates meeting in Nyahururu that brings together the Agricultural Sector Development Support Programme (ASDSP), Meteorological Department, NGOs and traditionalists is working on ways of integrating weather information in the various value chains within the county which include beef, mutton, dairy and chiffon. This according to officials will help to predict whether the region is likely to receive long or short rains during this period.
Dry times and drought-like conditions are putting tremendous strains on Laikipia’s river systems. Upstream and downstream water users must collaborate and coordinate their water use if river systems, wildlife, livestock and people are to survive.
ON 10TH Feb 2015, the Laikipia Wildlife Forum (LWF) together with Lower Ewaso Narok Water Resources Users Association and Water Resources Management Authority Rumuruti office organized a meeting of stakeholders and water users to discuss the continuous depletion of water in the river. The WRUA had reported on 26th January that there was almost zero flow of water at the regular gauging station 5AC8 near Loisaba ranch. Alerts were put out by downstream communities about the risks of conflicts arising as a consequence of lost water flow.
LWF facilitated the meeting that brought by all the water users within the sub catchment and other WRUAs managing watersheds that drain into Ewaso Narok River. LWF led the discussions and action planning that resulted to help regulate and control water usage within the catchment in accordance with the Water Act 2002.
The Act clearly states that water prioritization is first used to satisfy basic human needs and protect aquatic ecosystems and domestic use ahead of all other waters uses from that body of water.
The meeting was attended by over 100 water users within the LENWRUA. Upper Zone WRUAs, namely Melwa, Nyahururu, Oraimutia, Lake Olboisat, Pesi, Ndivai and Equator represented the upper watershed of the Ewaso Narok River. Attending were also representatives from the Laikipia County Government, the Ministry of Internal Security, the Provincial Administration, and the Ministry of Fisheries. The information sharing and discussion sessions were aimed at the current water situation, and we developed a way forward with the aim of conserving and safeguarding the river reserves.
Theme: Tourism Sustainability - It's Our Time to Lead
Ecotourism Kenya will be hosting the Ecotourism & Sustainable Tourism Forum on 22ndand
The Ecotourism Forum seeks to build the capacity of tourism businesses in Kenya and individual professionals through training in standards and best practices for the promotion of sustainable tourism. The themed two day forum's prime objective is to provide easy access for a wide range of stakeholders involved in ecotourism to exchange experiences and voice their comments. It is envisioned that a tour operator’s certification program and a CBTE standards framework might be two definite outcomes of the forum.
The following comments were gathered by the Laikipia Wildlife Forum from the Members and public in response to the first draft and reading of the Tourism Bill for Laikipia County.
The Draft Bill would benefit from a preamble that includes , at least, the following:
The Laikipia tick project – what we study and what we aim to achieve
A group of Scientists from the University of Illinois is looking at the role that ticks play in land use and land management economics in Laikipia. Through a partnership with the Laikipia Wildlife Forum, the team of scientists hopes to further explore the biology and socio/economics of ticks in the Laikipia landscape.
Laikipia is one of the most diverse regions in Kenya. The area has a wide choice of people and cultures, landscapes and land uses. When the landscape is healthy and functioning well, this can result in a variety of benefits upon which humans depend, including clean water, forage for livestock, erosion protection, tourism opportunities, regulation of infectious diseases, and a many other products and experiences. However human activities can interfere with or damage the capacity of the ecosystem to provide such services, resulting in erosion, drought, and conditions under which diseases can thrive. Ideally, the correct management and monitoring of ecosystem services in the Laikipia environment will yield benefits for the region’s productivity, the general health of the population, and increase the region’s economic strength in the long-term.
Ticks that infest wildlife, livestock, and humans are key links for natural and human systems in this region and elsewhere. Ticks are not picky creatures - many species of ticks will readily feed on all types of animals. They can transmit pathogens which cause diseases in their hosts, severely compromising health, and - in the case of livestock - they cause significant economic losses from weight loss and death. The East Africa region is a global hotspot for ticks, with over 40 species found in some areas. These ticks inflict heavy costs directly through parasitism, and also indirectly, by serving as the vectors for a diverse array of infectious pathogens, such as anaplasmosis (tick-borne or pasture fever), babesiosis, rickettsiosis (also known as tick fever or tick bite fever), and theileriosis(East Coast fever). (East Coast fever).
Two of the species common to the Laikipia region – the blue tick (Boophilus decoloratus) on the left and the zebra tick (Rhipicephalus pulchellus) on the right (photo credit: Sharon Okanga).
In Laikipia, most ranchers and farmers treat their cattle with many tropical and subtropical savannas, cattle must be treated with acaricides (tick-specific pesticides; dipped or sprayed) to maintain healthyviable production. Although wildlife and cattle share parasites, our research has shown that dipped cattle can serve as “traps” for ticks, by killing so many ticks that total tick abundance is reduced in the areas that are grazed. These results suggest that regularly dipped cattle are , and potentially generating beneficial impacts on wildlife and associated tourism as well as for human health.
Dear Laikipia Tourism Stakeholders,
In this regard, and in follow up to the Tourism Network forum held in Laikipia on 27th November, 2013; we wish to cease this opportunity to invite you to a stakeholders meeting prior to the County Tourism Bill Public Hearing. The agenda of the meeting will be to collectively discuss issues on the proposed Laikipia County Tourism Bill, and chart a way forward on how to engage the county government on this and other advocacy issues.
Proposed date: Thursday 29th January, 2015
Proposed venue: Mt. Kenya Safari Club or Kongoni Camp (to be confirmed on availability)
Starting time: (with lunch at )
The Laikipia Wildlife Forum and the Anthony King Conservation Leadership Trust are happy to announce their partnership in service to conservation leadership in Laikipia. The first two recipients of this important tribute to the late Anthony King ensures that elements of his philosohpy and strong commitment to conservation and sustainable management of Laikipa's rich natural resources persist.
EELP concluded well this year with a tree planting activity at Kihato Primary school. Following an invitation by the school environmental patron, I met with the company of LWF monitoring officer a team of parents, teachers and students who participated in a tree planting activity in the school. We managed to plant 400 trees within the school compound. The school environmental patron also took-us round the school where he had planted together with students a woodlot of about 600 trees earlier in the year. The enthusiastic teacher who I have known for years envisage that this developments (tree planting) will transform the school to an Oasis located in the arid-lands on the periphery of Solio Ranch. The few students who turned-up for the tree planting activity are members of the school wildlife club. The club will be responsible for taking care of tress and later establish birds feeding tables when the school re-opens. As the program officer EELP, I take this opportunity to thank LWF team (staff) both office and field officers whose efforts ensured the smooth running of the program. I also wish to thank our partners; Ol Pejeta conservancy, Laikipia Nature conservancy, Muggie Ranch, Segera conservancy and Ol Jogi wildlife conservancy for specifically supporting our environmental education bus program. Your efforts in conservation education cannot be ignored. I look forward to a more cohesive working relationship with you as we tackle 2015.
Happy holidays to you all
We are happy to announce that we have finally moved to our new office premises located off the Nanyuki – Timau road approximately 1.2km from Nanyuki town – just behind the Nanyuki Sports Club Rugby pitch and adjacent to the BATUK/ASK Showground. (see map)
Our offices can be accessed by turning left immediately after crossing Likii River Bridge if you are coming from the Timau side or by turning right just before Likii River Bridge if you are coming from Nanyuki town center. Take the dirt road that goes up between the river and the Batuk/ASK Showground mabati wall and turn right after a distance of about 160 meters.
Our office operating hours remain the same that is 8am- 5pm, Monday to Friday.
We sincerely appreciate our members, supporters, and donors, in particular the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherland and USAID for making this possible.
For more images of the new office please visit our Facebook page by clicking here
The contribution of the rural economy to the development of the County is not well documented. By increasing understanding of its strengths and weaknesses, opportunities for the County Government to harness and maximise its potential to achieve the desired future for Laikipia can be identified.