Ruko Community Conservancy

Project LocationBaringo District, Kenya
Project TypeWildlife and habitat conservation, Community conservation initiatives
Endangered SpeciesElephant, Rothschild giraffe
Land Area Protected77 km2
Benefiting Locally32 directly, 8,000 indirectly
Project Websitewww.nrt-kenya.org

Ruko Community Conservancy

The Ruko Community Wildlife Trust is situated on 19,000 acres on the eastern shore of Lake Baringo, an area of semi-desert in the northern Rift Valley. The freshwater lake is an oasis the arid landscape and is home to large populations of hippo, crocodile and over 400 species of bird. The Trust was formed to unite the two tribes of Rugus and Komolion area, the Njemps and Pokot, to bring peace and prosperity to their environment and communities.

Ruko is the eastern most conservancy of the Northern Rangelands Trust. It is unique from the others in that its foundation for wildlife conservation is peace keeping.

Conflict Resolution

Historically conflict has existed between the Njemps and Pokot people over grazing rights and access to water for their livestock. By ensuring equal participation from both communities in the Trust it is believed that areas of conflict between the two tribes will be resolved allowing them both to benefit from the region and create a sustainable future for their people, livestock, environment and wildlife.

Although the Trust has only recently been set up, a conservation area has been established and members from the Njemps and Pokot tribes are undergoing security training so that they can safeguard the Conservancy. Plans are also underway to reintroduce Baringo giraffe (Rothschild giraffe) to the conservancy. In time the project hopes to translocate black rhino, oryx, eland and gerenuk back into the area as well. In order for the communities to benefit from the presence of wildlife on their land, the project is going to build two community-run eco lodges on the conservancy. Equal distribution of income from the lodges and other planned income generating activities will ensure the standard of living for both communities is greatly improved.

Tusk Support

Tusk has already secured funding for this fledgling initiative with grants to employ and project community officer and translocate Rothschild giraffe to the region. Tusk is now seeking further funding to purchase a Sesse canoe and outboard engine for the project which will be used by the newly appointed game guards and community liaison officer. £2,500 has already been raised for the canoe through Tusk’s 2007 Safaricom Marathon.

Notes from the field
The endangered Rothschild’s giraffe made a spectatcular return home after 40 years in an unprecedented and daring ferry ride across Kenya’s Lake Baringo. Funded in part by Tusk, this unique joint operation between Kenya Wildlife Service, Northern Rangelands Trust and the Ruko Conservancy moved eight Rothschild’s giraffe by lorry from Soysambu Conservancy and then by barge to the community owned sanctuary on the shores of Lake Baringo. This landmark translocation reestablished the Rothschild’s giraffe into an area where it once existed. The return of the giraffe is symbolic of the communities’ commitment to conservation and will boost tourism revenue to the local people.
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