Wildlife Conservation as a viable land use
Ol Jogi comprises a land area of 58,000 acres that includes two rivers (Nanyuki and Ewayso Nyiro), open savannah, mountains, rocky hills ‘kopjes’ and acacia scrubland. We host thousands of head of indigenous wildlife including over seven species that are globally recognised as being critically endangered, vulnerable and threatened.
At the same time Ol Jogi runs and operates as a working cattle ranch. Managed holistically for the purpose of regenerating and sustaining the rangeland. There is solid evidence that this method of land regeneration will lead to a broader population of suitable grass species, a more fertile soil with improved water retention and significantly improve the quality of the livestock. Ol Jogi has a large healthy herd of cattle of over 2,500 head successfully cohabiting with the wildlife.
In addition, over 1,300 head of Community Cattle graze on Ol Jogi. This is a benefit to the community as it not only supplies good graze but also allows the surrounding community land to recover and therefore increase that land potential. Educating the local communities and ranches to rebuild their own livestock carrying capacity through rangeland management and holistic grazing not only gives a better livelihood but is a living example to encourage acceptance and cohabitation with wildlife. Wildlife and Livestock can coexist sustainably and without conflict.
It is a fact that Kenya’s wildlife is under tremendous threat and it is said that total wildlife numbers in Kenya have declined by more than 40% since the late 1970’s. On the reverse side of the coin, tourism generates almost 100 billion Kenya shillings (US$1,176,470,200.00) and is the second biggest foreign earner after agriculture. The predominant driver of our tourism industry is the wildlife; no wildlife, no tourism!
In addition, the National “Conservation & Management Strategy for the Black Rhino in Kenya 2012 – 2016”, identified that lack of available space with the capacity to protect the animals is one of the single largest threats that face rhinos in Kenya today. Ol Jogi is one of the few private land rhino sanctuaries that have not reached carrying capacity and have the space and resources to expand our population.
With Kenya’s human population being approximately 40 million people and forecasts of 60 million by 2030, the demand for land is on the increase. Landowners are required to “justify” their land use and the question being asked; “Is conservation a viable land use in Kenya?” Ol Jogi employs more than 300 people and invests millions of dollars into the local economy. The fact that our core business is to protect Kenya’s wildlife on behalf of the people so that tourism continues to support Kenya’s economy and so that our children can enjoy “their right” clearly shows conservation is truly a critical land use in Kenya.