Since yesterday’s update a major police operation has commenced on Sosian to remove pastoralist groups occupying that property. Unfortunately this operation led to further vandalism including the burning of 3 director’s houses on the property. It is hoped by all of us that the ongoing operation is completed as quickly as possible to restore a sense of normalcy in north and western Laikipia.
The situation in western and northern Laikipia remains tense with pastoralists still in occupation of Sosian, Suyian, Ol Maisor and parts of the Laikipia Nature Conservancy. However the Kenya Police have commenced a major operation to restore order in these areas. This operation is ongoing as of today’s date.
In the meantime Ol Pejeta Conservancy remains unaffected. We are continuing to support local pastoralist communities living around us with grazing access for cows with calves to permit recovery when the current dry period is over. We are also working closely with the National Drought Management Authority and the Laikipia Wildlife Forum to find ways of supporting all our neighboring communities pending the onset of the long rains which should – hopefully – commence towards the end of March.
A black rhino with its calf on Ol Pejeta.
On a positive note we have had 2 black rhino births in the last month and a good number of females in the population are heavily pregnant meaning that we can expect a significant number of new arrivals as the year progresses.
The situation in western and northern Laikipia remains tense. Suyian, Sosian and Mugie remain occupied by pastoralist groups. There has been some killing of wildlife reported in both Mugie and Sosian. In other parts of Laikipia pastures remain in short supply; some pastoralist groups are now reportedly moving back to Isiolo and up to Mount Kenya to seek forage for their cattle.
A meeting of local and senior government with landowners and stakeholders on Wednesday resolved to clear all ranches of illegal grazers, with progress to be reviewed again on the 8th March.
Government and the Kenya Wildlife Services have made it clear that incursions into rhino sanctuaries will not be permitted under any circumstances.
Ol Pejeta remains unaffected at the current time.
There has been little change since the last update. Mugie and Suyian in northwestern Laikipia remain the 2 worst affected properties. The Laikipia Wildlife Forum (LWF) are now working with the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) on drought mitigation measures and Ol Pejeta will play an active role in supporting these
For the last few days there has been little apparent change in the status quo. Mugie, Laikipia Nature Conservancy and Suyian continue to struggle with massive influxes of pastoralist livestock, albeit without any violence or destruction of property. The situation on Kifuku Ranch appears to have resolved somewhat, primarily because whatever grass remained has now been finished. There is increasing evidence that senior government is now applying significant resources to try and resolve the issue. Over the weekend the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment and the Director General of the Kenya Wildlife Services toured the affected areas. Furthermore, the police have clearly ramped up efforts to remove the criminal elements that sit behind the search for grass by desperate pastoralists – this is welcome and strongly supported by the Laikipia community, from large land managers through to small scale farmers.
Ol Pejeta Conservancy remains unaffected by some of pastoralist related issues in northwestern Laikipia. There is increasing evidence that the government is now beginning to address the problems facing some other properties with the seriousness they deserve.
The situation today remains very similar to that reported yesterday, 8th February. There is an emerging push for multi-stakeholder dialogue brokered by government to formulate a plan for managing the current drought situation.
A number of ranches in north and west Laikipia including Mugie, Suyian and Kifuku remain fully occupied by pastoralists and their cattle. Last night, in a very unfortunate incident the OCPD (Officer Commanding Police Division) of Laikipia West was injured in a confrontation with herders on Kifuku. He will make a full recovery. However the situation remains tense on that particular ranch even as negotiations begin to bear fruit in other areas. Ol Pejeta, located to the south of Laikipia, remains unaffected.
Matters have not changed much since yesterday. Negotiations continue to seek amicable solutions.
From various stakeholders in the region, here are some personal updates that we gathered in the last 24 hours:
From Josh Perrett, General Manager, Mugie Ranch: “We still have huge numbers of cattle, sheep and goats on Mugie, today we hear quite large groups are heading out the south apparently to Suyian and from the west back to LNC and some to Suyian.
We are constantly working very hard on dialog, KWS have been very helpful and join in with all our meetings. We have now had 4 days where no shots were heard and no wildlife killed which is great. Police have not been involved in any of our meetings, I am trying to get them involved but little seams to be happening.
On the whole things are peaceful and we are making good progress from where we started.”
From Tom Silvester of Loisaba: “All calm and operating normally here at Loisaba.”
From John Elias of Ol Lentille: “All quiet and beautiful here.”
The situation in Laikipia is the same today as we reported yesterday. No new developments.