Why Keep Livestock in a “Wildlife Conservancy”?
At Ol Pejeta we believe that cattle can be used as an “ecological tool” to manage the rangelands, maintaining heterogeneity and maximizing biodiversity . In other words, our managed livestock systems have improved our wildlife “productivity”. Here are some of the ways it is done:
- The Ol Pejeta Conservancy has an annual rainfall of over 700mm per year, received in two main seasons, often with no prolonged dry season. This enhances good growth of grass , which if not grazed, becomes rank, stale and therefore unsuitable for all grazers, including wildlife
- Cattle can be used as a tool to intensively graze such areas to improve the quality. The trampling effect and controlled grazing of cattle can improve the quality of grass very quickly Something that simply cannot be done with wildlife;
- The cattle are held overnight in mobile, predator-proof structures, which then create ‘hot-spots’ of nutrient- rich grass (Cynadon sp.) favoured by all wildlife
- The cattle are sprayed against ticks regularly, thereby reducing the tick burden on wildlife and the tick population as a whole
On Ol Pejeta, controlled grazing of cattle has resulted in an increase of wildlife numbers . In addition, it makes economic sense , as with the two enterprises it is possible to increase overall profit per acre. An integrated system of cattle production and tourism provides more income and better margins than an “either, or” situation. Furthermore, it is politically important to be seen to be maximizing land productivity. Finally, our integrated system has allowed for more employment and reduced risk to business in times of poor tourism. For additional information on Ol Pejeta’s integration of livestock with wildlife, click here.