Location: Tarasaa and Kipini Divisions, Tana Delta District, Tana County
Postal address: C/O NCC P.O Box 450 80500 Lamu
Manager: Kuso Idi
Contact: E:Kusoahmed@gmail.com T: 0711 818 835
Ethnicity: Orma, Pokomo, Giriama
Population: 10,000
Land Ownership: Community Land
Core Conservation Area: 50,000 hectares
Main Livelihood: Fishing, farming, livestock
Key Wildlife Species: Elephants, buffalos, crocodiles, hippo, sea birds, red colobus
Year of Registration: 2004
Staff Employed from the Community: 13
Annual Operating Budget: US$ 30,000

Background

The Lower Tana Delta Conservation Trust was established as an independent organisation in 2004, set up by the local communities to protect and manage their rangeland. They developed a governance structure much like that of existing NRT conservancies, and operated with much the same goals in mind.

LTDCT joined NRT in April 2012, through the support of Flora and Fauna International. Their democratically elected conservancy board was trained by NRT soon after they joined. The Trust is now part of  NRT-Coast, a satellite NRT support centre with a headquarters in Lamu. Its focus is solely on the priorities of the 6 coastal NRT conservancies, who face different challenges than their inland cousins.

The People

The mighty Tana River has defined livelihoods for millennia. The Pokomo are pastoralists, farmers and fisherman, and have traditionally lived a subsistence lifestyle along the banks of the Tana. The Orma are semi-nomadic pastoralists, and for them the Tana represents a consistent source of water and grazing they can rely on.

Violent clashes between the two tribes arising from political tensions and conflicts over natural resources has dominated their recent history, and even made international headlines. Securing peace in the region is fundamental to conservation and improving livelihoods. The Pokomo tribe have representatives in a council they call the ‘Gaza’ council of elders, who deal with community and conservation issues and are the main point of contact between the community and NRT. It is hoped that by brokering dialogue between the warring tribes, agreements can be reached to benefit everyone involved, and the wildlife they share. Similar peace meetings have been tried and tested in other NRT conservancies, such as Biliqo-Bulesa, with huge success. In fact Biliqo-Bulesa now host an annual peace marathon with contestants from several tribes, who, a few years ago, would never have been in the vicinity of one another.

Ecosystem

The Lower Tana Delta C.T benefits from a unique range of habitats within its borders. Not only does it contain part of the Tana river (the largest water course in Kenya) but also the spot where this almighty river meets the Indian Ocean. It boasts sand dunes, salt water creeks, palm forests, mangrove forests and fresh water floodplains, each with its own ecosystem. The fish and bird life here is astounding, and elephant herds can also frequently be seen taking advantage of the plentiful water and forest cover. The endangered Tana River Red Colobus inhabits the riverine forests on the banks of the Tana, and is found no where else in the world.

The Trust’s 12 community rangers are an invaluable part of protecting these precious ecosystems; and conduct regular patrols that serve as everything from poaching deterrents to wildlife monitoring to community conflict response. 6 of these scouts are now undergoing training at the Manyani Training School in the famous Tsavo National Park. With generous assistance from the Kenya Wildlife Service, they are being trained in discipline, field craft, widlife law and wildlife monitoring. Soon after they graduate, their team mates will be able to undergo the same training.

Visiting the Lower Tana Delta Conservation Trust

The Lower Tana Delta Conservation Trust is home to Delta Dunes lodge, that sits high atop windswept dunes overlooking the mouth of the Tana river. The driftwood cottages look out over a lush, wild and utterly unique landscape.

Delta Dunes also supports a community-run lodge on the main Tana River; Mulikani Community Bandas. The bandas are managed by members of the LTDCT, and offer much the same activities as Delta Dunes. Guests at both lodges pay a conservancy fee, which is split between the operating budget of the Conservation Trust and community projects. Together with the community, Delta Dunes is also setting up a cultural center to share information about the fascinating and very different cultures of the two tribes that live here.

The Future

With assistance from NRT and partner organisations, the Lower Tana Delta Conservation Trust 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
  • To register as not-for-profit
  • To develop a conservancy management plan endorsed by the constituent community in the Lower Tana Delta