INSPIRATION

Borana Conservancy: Where Conservation Thrives Alongside Community

Witness the magic of Borana Conservancy in Kenya. Learn how they're empowering locals & protecting rhinos

Nestled in the shadow of Mount Kenya lies the Borana Conservancy, with sprawling plains teeming with Africa's iconic wildlife. This haven isn't just about protecting Africa's incredible creatures (though they do that in spades!). Borana goes above and beyond, fostering a tight-knit relationship with the surrounding communities. We recently had the pleasure of catching up with Lawrence, the Assistant Manager at Borana Lodge in Kenya who has some inspiring stories to share.

Lawrence, the Assistant Manager at Borana Lodge, embodies the spirit of this remarkable place. Having joined the team in late 2013, just after the reintroduction of rhinos, he's witnessed incredible progress firsthand. "Conservation has become second nature here," he beams, reflecting on the thriving rhino population. As someone who started off being a guide and has now become Assistant Manager, we'll definitely take his word for it! 

Borana's success story is undeniable.  From a mere 21 rhinos introduced in 2013, the population has more than tripled to a healthy 63, with a mix of 10 white rhinos and 53 black rhinos.
A key turning point came with the removal of the fence between Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (to the East) and Borana, creating a vast, continuous landscape now known as the Lewa-Borana Landscape.  This sprawling expanse of over 90,000 acres of pristine African wilderness offers critically endangered species like rhinos, elephants, lions, reticulated giraffes, and Grevy's zebras the freedom to roam and thrive.

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But Borana's commitment extends far beyond wildlife.  Lawrence highlights their deep involvement in the surrounding communities:

  • Mobile Clinic: Bringing healthcare directly to the people, the mobile clinic provides essential services like immunizations, family planning and malnutrition treatment, visiting 10 remote communities on a two week rotation. 
  • Education Program: Investing in the future, Borana supports 10 primary schools and a secondary school with infrastructure improvements. They empower the community by employing 11 local teachers and offering over 60 bursaries to deserving students.
  • Livestock Marketing: Understanding the challenges faced by local communities, Borana offers a helping hand. Cattle from neighbourhoods surrounding Borana Conservancy are brought on to the conservancy weighed and vetted. Six to eight months later, after grazing on Borana and under Borana management, the animal is sold to market and the owner is paid the original entry value of the animal plus 80% of the weight gain value. Borana retains 20% of the weight gain value to cover grazing, veterinary and dipping costs. This not only helps generate income but also encourages good animal husbandry and quality of livestock over quantity.
  • Mazingira Yetu Program: Nurturing the next generation of conservationists, this program mentors young children twice a week, sparking a passion for protecting their environment. The Mazingira Yetu Centre holds education days for local children and adult groups and well as running the Mazingira Express, a large game drive vehicle which can hold up to 30 students.
  • Local Employment: Borana recognizes the importance of inclusivity. Remarkably, over 80% of their staff are employed from neighbouring communities, filling roles from mechanics and housekeeping to interns learning the ropes of guiding and culinary expertise.
  • Gender Equality: Taking a stand for inclusivity Borana boasts a 15-member ranger team comprised entirely of women, a pioneering move towards gender equality in conservation efforts.

Borana is part of a global community called The Long Run, which champions a holistic approach to conservation. This translates into Borana's dedication to the "4C's": Conservation, Community, Culture, and Commerce. By allocating 24% of its revenue towards these initiatives, the conservancy is able to create a sustainable ecosystem that benefits both the animals and the neighbouring communities.

Lawrence's enthusiasm for Borana Conservancy is infectious.  It's a place where wildlife flourishes alongside thriving communities, a shining example of successful conservation built on collaboration and a deep respect for both nature and people.
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PS. Who wouldn't want to see a rhino up close while also contributing to a brighter future - a safari with purpose, anyone?

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