Category Archives: Conservation Efforts

Kipini Update

Hi guys. Sorry we have been out of touch for a while.

But Kipini is back. Just wanted to touch base and let you all know that we are still hard at work in the fight for the protection of our natural resources.

Will keep you posted on what we have been up to of late.

Kipini Lumshi Forest Destruction in Pictures

The pictures you are about to see disturbed me. This is a trend not only in the Kipini Region but all across Kenya. And there seems to be no end in sight to this problem.

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One of Kipini Scouts surveys an area damaged by illegal logging.

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What was once a mighty tree is now rendered useless having loss its footing as it were.

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Again, the damage goes on and on…

_Device Memory_home_user_pictures_IMG00548-20100224-1014A logging site discovered by our scouts and the logs left behind by the loggers.

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Very disturbing images like i mentioned earlier. On the plus side, we are currently in talks with the government mandated forest protection agency in the country to aid us in protection and forest management in the region!

Forest Use and Conservation of Biodiversity in Witu Forest, Kenya

This project was conducted by the Danish Zoological Society (DZS). DZS was formed in December 2004 by a group of biologists from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark working on a voluntary basis. The mission of DZS is to support and conduct projects and research that contributes to conserving wild animals and their habitats and increases the knowledge of threatened species ecology, distribution and status. DZS has a strong focus on the Eastern Arc Mountains and costal forests of Tanzania and Kenya.

The project was planned in cooperation with Farouk Sherman, protector and initiator of the Kipini Wildlife and Botanical Conservancy (KWBC). The KWBC is centered on the Kipini ranch which boarders the Witu forest and part of the forest extends into the ranch. The Witu forest proper is considered within the wider zone of the conservancy’s interest by the KWBC trust.

Partnership was also established with Nature Kenya and an affiliation was established with Kenya Wildlife Service.

The project was aiming to deal with these issues:

  • Conduct a survey of mammals in Witu forest which included birds. Reptiles, amphibians and insects.
  • Evaluating the intensity of natural resource extraction (originally focusing on bushmeat hunting and non-timber forest products). During the project it was adjusted to include timber as the intensity of extraction the two original forest products appears to be minimal whereas illegal logging in Witu forest was extensive.
  • Training local people as nature guides which included training local people as nature guides for ecotourism and providing them with animal field guides and binoculars. Due to difficulties in identifying local people possessing both the necessary language skills and knowledge about the forest simultaneously it was decided to focus on educating young people on the global importance of conserving biodiversity Seminars was therefore conducted at two primary schools in communities directly bordering the forest. Animal field guides and binoculars were handed over to the schools.

A seminar were similarly conducted with three local interest groups and a lecture was held by a member of a PFM association from the Arabuko-Sokoke forest. Equipment in terms of a tent, mattresses, mosquito nets, binoculars, GPS etc. were handed over to one conservation oriented NGO upon project completion.

Kipini Conservancy Logo

What were the successes?

Three transects of a total length of 5 km were established within the Witu forest proper. Eight camera traps were placed in the forest at animal holes and on animal trails crossing the transects.

A total of 1224 hours of camera trapping were conducted. Transect surveys were conducted and observations of animals were recorded. Bird censuses were conducted on each transect by identifying species from calls and visual observations and by mist netting. Reptiles, amphibians and insects were recorded through random observations and through bucket pitfall trapping. Ten buckets were used for a total of 445 trap hours.  Threatened species and potential indicator species of disturbance and forest quality are identified.

During  surveys all signs of logging, use of fire, bushmeat hunting and harvesting of other non-timber forest products were recorded along the transects. Based on this an index of human disturbance were established. The effect of the disturbance is evaluated.

The species lists, relative mammal densities and index of human disturbance make baseline for monitoring and evaluating trends in the status of the forest and the impact of conservation initiatives and Kenya’s new forest act.

Results are presented in the report “Conservation and Use of Witu Forest, Kenya”.

Seminars were conducted in two primary schools for respectively 3 and 2 classes with approximately 25-30 students each. The importance of ecosystem services derived from the forest were illustrated and discussed. Animal field guides and binoculars were handed over to the schools for use in lectures and projects.

Equipment in terms of a tent, mattresses, mosquito nets, binoculars and a GPS were provided to the NGO Witu Conservation Group. This contributes to build their capacity to conduct patrolling in Witu forest and monitor the status of natural resources in agreement with their mandate.

Elephant Collaring Program in Kipini

In February of this year, Save the Elephants (STE), Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Kibodo Trust and Kipini Conservancyembarked on a joint effort to put GPS collars on the elephants along the north coast of Kenya, north of Lamu and along the Tana River.  This project aimed at increasing on the already existing knowledge on the remnants of elephants in this biological hotspot. The numbers of coastal elephants is unknown, but we estimate they may be less than a thousand. They may also be part of overall elephant population migrating in the broader coastal and inland area.The vastness of the area in combination with the low estimated number of elephants in the areas, made location of target individuals difficult. In addition, the dense vegetation made spotting very hard. Therefore only two of the three project collars were deployed and none of the additional collars offered by Save the Elephants were used. No fresh signs of elephants were detected in the main area of Dodori and Boni forest and collaring efforts was therefore concentrated within the three other selected areas. Two of the three additional collars showed signs of potential problems with battery voltage and need to be properly tested before any potential future deployment.Two collars were successfully deployed on elephants, one in Kipini Conservancy and one by the Tana River Delta. The collars were deployed in areas selected prior to the operation although none were deployed in the core area due to no current signs of elephants in this area. It is likely that the elephants normally residing in these areas have migrated away due to the current drought and drying of the majority of water sources Data is now streaming in to the STE server and is accessible for project partners. This constantly updated information is especially valuable for KWS as the near real time data can be used on a daily basis for security and operational planning in the area.The day to day monitoring of elephant movements will increase security and help anti poaching efforts. Additionally the movement data will provide information about connectivity between habitat segments as well as help raise awareness about the unique coastal ecosystem.The collaring operation was a collaboration involving Save the Elephants and KWS with further input from the Kibodo Trust, and could not have been achieved without the availability of the helicopter provided by Halvor Astrup on site, including the donation of three hours flying time. Easy access to the data is provided through Google Earth from the server operated by STE, and funded by Safaricom Foundation.It was a difficult exercise as the number of elephants in the area was low. And due to the vegetation, aerial spotting also proved difficult. There were a total of 3 collars that were to be used in this exercise. Only 2 managed to be deployed. One of the collars was deployed in Kipini while the other was deployed in the Tana River Delta area. Data on the movements and locations of these elephants is available on the Save the Elephants server and is accessible for all project partners.This exercise has resulted in the production of near real time data on the movements and locations of elephants in the area.

Support Kipini Conservancy

Do you love nature? Do you love conservation of said nature? Would you like to be part of the wonderful work being done in Conservation around the world?Kipini Conservancy invites you to support the work it is doing in the conservation of nature and natural resources. Located along the coast ofKenya, Kipini offers a unique mix of wilderness and a taste of the coast. Kipini is simply beautiful, and being in Kenya, a country endowed with incredibly diverse landscapes and unique geographical features all teeming with wildlife and home to more than 50 cultural communities, it is indeed a luxury to be experienced by the most deserving residents. Kipini is uniquely positioned between marine, forest, woodland andgrassland ecosystems. There are white sandy beaches, ancient sand dunes as well as seasonal and permanent wetlands and lakes most of it undisturbed and rich in plant diversity.Situated at the northern end of the Eastern Arc Mountains and Coastal Forests biodiversity hotspot, the KWBC area of interest is embedded in a zone of internationally recognised importance to a rich assembly of globally threatenedplants and animals. KWBC Nairobi Ranch shares direct boundaries with two acknowledged sites of importance to the hotspot, and five other important hotspot sites are present within the larger zone of KWBC interest. 18% of large mammal species observed or expected in the Kipini area alone are considered threatened according to IUCN 2003 Red list criteria KWBC controls relatively large blocks of unspoilt coastal habitats in a natural mosaic at Nairobi Ranch.But to run and keep such a beautiful and unique environment intact, work is needed.Kipini currently employs 16 scouts whose job it is to make sure the conservancy is kept clean, free of poachers, and running.These scouts require uniforms, transport, and utilities to enhance their productivity and efficiency. Each scouts has a weekly allowance of $50 thats caters for feeding and basic expensesIf you would like to assist the conservancy in its efforts, feel free to donate whatever you can to aid in this work.The conservancy requires at present a motorcycle to aid in patrols, two way radios for the staff to enhance and improve communication, tents and uniports for the scouts to be able to monitor and patrol varying places in the conservancy.A very generous donor, who would like to remain anonymous has graciously offered to provide the conservancy with fuel for the vehicles and transport for a whole month.What will you get in return for your generous contribution?Apart from being a direct contributor to the conservation of nature and natural resources, you will be free to visit the Conservancy at any time of your choosing and enjoy the unique environment for yourself.Your donation could be monetary or it could also be in kind. Whatever you are willing and able to donate will be greatly appreciated.