In Kenya this year, Rainforest Trust supported the protection of over one million acres to safeguard the world’s most endangered antelope, the Hirola. This new conservancy will not only safeguard the Hirolas that currently call this region home, but will also help the species recover by re-establishing a free-ranging population between protected areas. Other species that will benefit from this refuge include Reticulated Giraffes, Grevy’s Zebras, African Savannah Elephants, African Wild Dogs, Lions, Cheetahs and several antelope species.
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Rainforest Trust’s local partner is now preparing to compensate community members for the conservancy land by conducting land surveys and studying detailed settlement plans. Obtaining the registration certificate for Bura East Conservancy means community members are now empowered and officially have the legal backing to operate conservation efforts in their conservancy. In partnership with the local conservation organization and the county government, the communities will hold the land in trust for the conservation of wildlife in the area. The communities will act as guarantors for Bura East Conservancy and a future adjacent conservancy, which will both be incorporated into local area development plans. Together, these conservancies will protect 1.2 million acres, the largest conservation area in northeastern Kenya.
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This part of Kenya also gained international attention this year after two white Reticulated Giraffes were seen in the region where Rainforest Trust and its partner are protecting habitat. The white color is due to a genetic abnormality called “leucism,” a condition which affects many species and turns their appearance white. According to the partner’s blog, sightings of white giraffes around the Hirola range have increased in the past few years and recently, these two particular giraffes have been a common sight in the region.
Dr. Sally Lahm, Rainforest Trust’s Africa and Madagascar Conservation Officer explained, “There are fewer than 98,000 giraffes in populations scattered across the African continent. They already appear to be extinct in at least seven countries. Some giraffe populations are increasing while others are decreasing due to threats which vary among regions where they exist. The four major threats are habitat loss, civil unrest, illegal hunting and ecological changes in preferred habitats. [Our partner’s] project to create two new conservancies for Hirola antelope with local communities provides protection and monitoring for all wildlife populations, including giraffes.”
Rainforest Trust continues to support its partner in creating the adjacent conservancy and is excited for the work they will achieve in 2018.
Thank you to the generous support of our friends around the world and the SAVES Challenge, for making this project a success.
For more information on how you can support Rainforest Trust, visit our Conservation Action Fund.