Securing Wildlife

  • securing wildlife on Ol Pejeta
  • securing wildlife on Ol Pejeta

Protecting wildlife is an expensive business.

Convention has it that the cost of protecting wildlife habitat literally doubles with the presence of black rhino, such is the security requirement to counter the poaching pressure upon these animals. While we aim to develop the majority of this funding from our tourism operations, tourism is a “fickle” business and these revenue flows can be susceptible to periodic downturns. To that end, we consistently work to develop the funding and partnerships necessary to guarantee the security of our wildlife. Throughout its operation, the Ol Pejeta Conservancy has come up with various ways to protect and safeguard the Conservancy as well as the surrounding communities.

  • Tracker Dogs and Aircraft: The Conservancy currently has two tracker dogs, St. Hubert hounds (more commonly known as bloodhounds). These canines, with extraordinarily keen noses combined with a strong and tenacious tracking instinct, are bred specially to follow human scent and are used to follow-up any incidents of insecurity. Most of their work is done in the surrounding communities. In addition, the Conservancy operates a Piper Subercub, a small, light aircraft. This is used predominantly for security surveillance, rhino monitoring and game counts across the Conservancy & surrounding wildlife areas.
  • securing wildlife on Ol Pejeta
  • securing wildlife on Ol Pejeta
  • airplane on Ol Pejeta
  • Armed Teams: We currently operate a number of highly trained armed teams. These are self-sufficient, mobile teams able to spend extended periods of time in the field. These teams have been trained to operate day and night and to respond to incidents, not only within the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, but in conjunction with local authorities outside of the Conservancy.
  • Rhino Patrols: We currently work to a coverage rate of one rhino patrol team to 3,500 acres within the core conservation area. The key objective of the patrol teams is to monitor black rhino. There is one patrolman per 1,000 acres and every rhino is seen at least once every 3 days. Each rhino is individually identifiable using ear notch patterns that are unique to each animal.
  • General Security: General security teams operate in areas outside the main conservation area. These areas still carry valuable concentrations of wildlife such as the endangered Jackson’s hartebeest. The monitoring of wildlife and the security of Ol Pejeta’s logistics teams, which operate within these areas, is essential.
  • Cattle Herders: The Wildlife & Security Department works in close collaboration with the Livestock Department in the monitoring and reporting of key species and incidents relating to security. As cattle herders are stationed in the field they provide eyes and ears and have proved extremely useful when it comes to the monitoring of black rhino.
  • Fence: The Ol Pejeta Conservancy’s fully electrified perimeter fence, not only demarcates the Conservancy’s boundary but also, importantly, prevents human-wildlife conflict. Through the prevention of human-wildlife conflict relations with communities have been strengthened. Another benefit of the fence is the huge reduction of incidents in cattle rustling. Historically, Ol Pejeta has been a transit point for cattle rustlers from the North. However, since the construction of the new electric fence, incidents have been reduced dramatically. Ol Pejeta currently has a fence attendant for every 7 kilometers of fence who conducts maintenance and provides security in the form of insurgence detection. The fence is monitored 24 hours with a response team based at the control offices to respond to any incidents at night.
  • Communities: The Ol Pejeta Conservancy works closely with surrounding communities on incidents related to insecurity through the provision of tracker dogs, transport and close relations with local authorities. This close working relationship with our communities, in return, provides security to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in the form of information gathering and recruitment opportunities.

For more information on Ol Pejeta's Wildlife & Security Programme, please contact Batian Craig at batian@51degreesltd.com.

securing wildlife on Ol Pejeta
Photo credits: Martin Krestow, Batian Craig, Teeku Patel / www.sokomoto.com (x2), Juan Pablo Moreiras / FFI