IFAW Secures 29,000 Acres of Wildlife Habitat in Kenya With Community Support

 

Image: Fernando Anuang’a via Wikimedia Commons

By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor

A joint effort between the Olgulului Ololarashi Group Ranch (OOGR) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is proving that conservation benefits everyone. On Wednesday, the groups announced that they had secured 29,035 acres of land for wildlife habitats in Amboseli, Kenya, with the participation of 3,598 landowners who will benefit from future lease fees and eco-tourism.

 

Why This Matters: Humans and animals are conflicting more as habitat loss and human development drive populations closer together, forcing them to compete for resources like water that are quickly declining due to climate change. “To mitigate the situation while promoting biodiversity and lessening the effects of climate change, the need to actively secure spaces for wildlife and people to coexist is paramount now more than ever before,” said IFAW in a statement.“These areas not only provide for the keeping of livestock, which is the economic mainstay of the community but also ensure connectivity for wildlife is maintained.”

 

Space to Coexist

The new agreement expands the total area that local landowners and IFAW have secured for conservation to 54,035 acres. The land will remain in the ownership of individual landowners, who will work with OOGR and IFAW to attract investors in eco-tourism and other markets. “By allowing the lease of an additional 29,035 acres, the local community in Amboseli continues to actively demonstrate the commitment they have made to securing space and coexisting with wildlife for which I am grateful,” said Azzedine Downes, the President and CEO of IFAW. “IFAW is committed to our continued partnership to enhance the livelihoods of people and save wildlife and is honored the community shares our vision.” The organization also hopes not only to protect the region’s wildlife but also to address the degradation of the landscape and restore overgrazed areas.

 

In addition, IFAW has also expanded its all-woman community wildlife ranger unit, Team Lioness. The current team of eight rangers, which patrols and gathers data across OOGR’s community lands, will grow to 16, funded by the German foundation Margarete-Breuer-Stiftung. “The rapid growth of Team Lioness is a testament to the need for gender equity in conservation and the community’s acceptance and willingness to support this initiative,” said Downes. IFAW also supports the now 85 Olgulului Community Wildlife Rangers with logistical and operational support including, food, medical insurance, vehicles, mentoring, capacity building, and more.

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