Location: Isiolo West, Isiolo Central Division, Isiolo Disctrict
Postal address: c/o Northern Rangelands Trust, Private Bag, Isiolo
Manager: Isaiah Epuri
Contact: E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 0723 654 804
Ethnicity: Samburu, Turkana, Somali, Borana
Land Ownership: Community Land
Core Conservation Area: 34,900 hectares
Main Livelihood: Pastoralism
Key Wildlife Species: Elephant, Grevy’s zebra
Year of Registration: 2011
Staff Employed from the Community: 13
Annual Operating Budget: US$ 60,800
Nasuulu’s history, like so many other conservancies around it, is tainted with unrest. With so many pastoralist tribes sharing the same grazing pastures, incidents of inter-tribal conflict have been common as competition for natural resources increases. Nasuulu serves as an important buffer for the Buffalo Springs National Reserve, and the communities had the support of the local council and the Kenya Wildlife Service in their bid to join NRT. The tried and tested initiatives for regenerating the land, easing ethnic tensions and conserving wildlife that have proved effective in other community conservancies are being embraced in Nasuulu, and the communities here are working hard to rewrite their history.
Nasuulu elected a conservancy board in 2012, which includes of members from each of the four tribes that call the rangeland home. All the 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. With funding from USAID, a new conservancy HQ was completed in 2014. This provides the management and security teams with a base from which they can more effectively conduct their operations. Over the last three years, cattle rustling has been a major challenge affecting the region, but as the communities embrace a unified approach to managing their conservancy, the number of incidents continues to reduce.
The 12 scouts employed in Nasuulu represent the diverse ethnicity within this conservancy, which again is vital if they are to manage conflict and raise conservation awareness in the area. They were trained with funding from NRT and generous support from the Kenya Wildlife service, at the Manyani Training School in the famous Tsavo National Park. Passing with flying colours, the team emerged with knowledge in discipline, field craft, wildlife law and wildlife monitoring.
Nasuulu is part of the Laikipia ecosystem, which contains important populations of the endangered Grevy’s zebra as well as being home to vast numbers of elephant and other herbivores. The Ewaso Nyiro River runs along part of its northern border, providing a vital and constant water supply to communities and wildlife alike.
Recently however, insecurity, easy access to firearms and the high demand (and price) for ivory has fuelled a devastating rise in elephant poaching here. An emergency plan is being put in place with support from the neighbouring conservancies, increased activity from Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and NRT’s joint anti-poaching team.
Ultimately, the long-term security for elephants, Grevy’s and other wildlife of the northern rangelands rests in the hands of communities empowered to take responsibility and derive direct benefits.
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 Nasuulu continues to improve security operations, infrastructure development and wildlife monitoring, there is no reason it couldn’t host a successful lodge itself. Nasuulu is strategically placed to benefit from tourism in the Buffalo Springs and Samburu Reserves, and NRT will negotiate with partners in the region to develop tourism within Nasuulu and ensure the communities are able to derive direct benefits from conservation.
With assistance from NRT and partner organisations, Nasuulu 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
- Implement a conservancy constitution, with the aim of building accountability, transparency, equity and effective representation in Nasuulu
- To develop a conservancy management plan endorsed by the constituent community
- To take part in peace building exercises with surrounding communities
- Obtain training for members of Boards and Committees in roles and responsibilities