The Ol Pejeta Conservancy currently holds the largest single herd of pure Boran cattle in the world: 2,000 top quality Boran breeding cows.
On the Ol Pejeta Conservancy livestock ranching and wildlife conservation are not considered mutually exclusive. Ol Pejeta has pioneered the use of its livestock to manage the land, making us a “Model for Modern Wildlife Conservation.”
Ol Pejeta will continue to push the envelope with its Livestock Programme. A small proportion of the Conservancy has been set aside as a predator-free breeding centre, incorporating the 300 registered cows and their followers, and all the breeding bulls. A new quarantine center with facilities to collect embryos and semen has been up and running since early 2011.
Here are some of the historical steps that were taken to make Ol Pejeta the model for modern wildlife conservation that it is today:
- In the 1950’s and 60’s Ol Pejeta was developed as a very successful beef ranch – with a basic stock of Boran, crossed with Charolais and Simmental. Excellent infrastructure was put in place including substantial internal fencing and an impressive water reticulation system, ideal for cattle ranching. Wildlife was not tolerated. Over 120,000 acres were grazed with at least 12,000 cattle, each herd ranging free within its paddock, day and night. Predation was strictly controlled and all other game discouraged
- The1980’s saw a more wildlife- tolerant management, allowing the wildlife to re-populate Ol Pejeta. This, and increasing human settlement to the South, increasing elephant poaching to the North and a ban on wildlife hunting caused elephant herds to begin taking up more permanent residence on Ol Pejeta and overall game numbers to increase. This resulted in all internal fences being lost (it is not possible to maintain normal ranch fencing in the presence of large elephant populations). Predators, though kept under some control, began to build up necessitating a herding system, and night kraaling (night “bomas”) similar to that used by pastoralists
- Between 1984 and 2005, the Sweetwaters Rhino Sanctuary was fenced off removing 22,000 acres from the grazing equation. In addition the increasing wildlife population directly competed with cattle whose numbers consequently dropped to 7,000
- Since 2005, by integrating our livestock operation successfully with our wildlife population we are now able to graze our cattle over the whole Conservancy. All crossbreeding ceased in 2004, creating the largest herd of pure Boran cattle in the world at 7,000 head
- 2005 - 2007 saw the introduction of other indigenous African breeds, including the Ankole from Uganda, and the “Jiddu” Boran from Somalia. The Ol Pejeta Conservancy could play a part in conserving these old breeds which are now disappearing as they are replaced by often less efficient new breeds. These breeds have existed for generations and have evolved to be productive in their particular environments, and should be preserved at all costs
For more information on Ol Pejeta's borans and our Livestock Programme, please contact our Livestock Manager, Giles Prettejohn at firstname.lastname@example.org.