Location: Burat division, Isiolo
Postal address: Box 610, Isiolo, Kenya
Manager: Wilson Emillion
Ethnicity: Ndorobo, Turkana, Somali, Borana, Samburu
Land Ownership: Community Land
Core Conservation Area: 34,200 hectares
Main Livelihood: Agro-pastoralism
Key Wildlife Species: Elephant, Grevy's zebra, eland
Year of Registration: 2011
Staff Employed from the Community: 23
Annual Operating Budget: US$ 48,700
Leparua is home to several pastoralist communities. Sharing the same grazing pastures has led to conflict in the past, as competition for natural resources increases. Lepaura seeks to emulate its successful neighbouring conservancies with regards to sustainable land management, peace building and wildlife conservation.
The board of Leparua is comprised of members from each of the communities that call the rangeland home. All ethnic groups are traditionally nomadic or semi nomadic pastoralists and representation on the board is invaluable in getting continuing support and cooperation, particularly when it comes to grazing management. Lepaurua is part of NRT’s ‘GrazingWorks’ programme, a business line of NRT Trading. This an innovative approach to the marketing challenges faced by pastoralists in the region. Herders often trek cattle for days to market, only for transporters to pay poor prices for low-grade livestock. The GrazingWorks programme provides an alternative market, paying fair prices, purchasing directly from the conservancies, and buying selectively to reward good conservancy performance. This market aims to incentivise conservancies to practice effective, transparent governance and sustainable natural resource management by linking local livestock owners in high performing conservancies to ready markets.
One of the most important criteria for the programme is security, and Leparua has 22 rangers who are critical in maintaining stability in the area. The rangers also raise conservation awareness in the communities, gather intelligence, and collect basic wildlife data. Trained with funding from NRT and generous support from the Kenya Wildlife service, the team is equipped with knowledge in discipline, field craft, wildlife law and wildlife monitoring. They also represent the diverse ethnicity within this conservancy, which is vital in gaining the trust of all communities.
Leparua Community Conservancy is a significant wildlife corridor, as it links the community conservancies of Il Ngwesi, Lekurruki, Nasuulu and Mpus Kutuk. As with many of the NRT conservancies, it holds important populations of Grevy’s zebra, one of Africa’s most endangered mammals. 80% of the world’s Grevy population exists in the Laikipia ecosystem, which includes Leparua, and community cooperation is undoubtedly the key to its continuing survival. Leparua is also home to the last remaining populations of eland in Northern Kenya, a species that has been devastated by meat poaching. Plans are underway to implement a grazing management programme in the conservancy, to ensure a sustainable habitat for the Grevy’s and the eland, as well as community livestock. With more careful land management and security continuing to improve, it is hoped that so too will the populations of these two endangered species.
Laikipia is a popular destination for resident and international tourists in Kenya, with stunning landscapes and abundant wildlife. There are many luxury and self-catered facilities in private reserves, and if Leparua continues to improve security operations, infrastructure development and wildlife monitoring, there is no reason it couldn’t host a successful lodge itself.
The Future for Leparua
With assistance from NRT and partner organisations, Leparua aims to achieve the following in the coming years:
- To convene, along with all other NRT community conservancies, in annual general meetings to share plans and progress
- To take part in a livelihood baseline survey, commissioned by NRT, with a view of determining the status and priority of education, health, water, jobs, food security, infrastructure and current availability of government services
- To continue the strengthening of wildlife security and monitoring within the conservancy
- To sign a partnership memorandum of understanding, along with all other community conservancies, between themselves and NRT
- Implement a conservancy constitution, with the aim of building accountability, transparency, equity and effective representation in Leparua
- To develop a conservancy management plan endorsed by the constituent community
- To take part in peace building exercises with surrounding communities