Status of registration
Nonprofit, with certificate of exemption from registration (Kenya)
Governance and management structure of the group
WCK is a nongovernmental, nonpolitical, charitable organization formed in 1968 with the government’s mandate to empower the young people of Kenya with conservation knowledge. WCK is run by a national secretariat, backed by a 20-member governing council and an executive committee of specialists in conservation education, business and public administration. The organization uses schools and other learning institutions as an entry point into communities to advance environmental education. WCK promotes diverse ecosystem awareness-raising and conservation empowerment in Nairobi National Park, Ngong Forest, Mombasa Marine National Park and Reserve, Lake Victoria and Lake Nakuru National Park, in addition to other major donor-funded projects.
Exact location, including geographic coordinates
The proposed land purchase lies at the base of Mount Longonot National Park in the Great Rift Valley, 90 kilometres northwest of Nairobi. S 0°54′48′′, E 36°29′11′′
Short description of the area and the land to be purchased
The proposed land purchase lies at the base of Mount Longonot and is visited by wildlife from Mount Longonot National Park and from other parts of the Lake Naivasha basin in the Great Rift Valley of Kenya. Mount Longonot is a young stratovolcano, rising 2,776 meters above sea level, and has a savannah ecosystem. Its sides are steep and sparsely vegetated but the crater itself is densely forested. The vegetation is mainly grassland and shrubs, dominated by camphor bushes (Tarchonanthus camphoratus) and several varieties of acacia trees. More than one hundred species of birds have been recorded, including the Near Threatened bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus). Other threatened species found in the area include hippopotami (Hippopotamus amphibious), ungulates such as Thomson’s gazelle (Gazella thomsonii), leopards (Panthera pardus), cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), Naivasha mole rats (Tachyoryctes naivashae) and mountain reedbuck (Redunca fulvorufula). The basin is rich in biodiversity and has become a major tourist attraction. There are three national parks (Aberdare, Mount Longonot and Hell’s Gate), several private wildlife sanctuaries, protected forests and a fertile farming zone supporting a rich variety of wildlife, including zebra (Equus burchelli boehmi), impala (Aepyceros melampus), and Kirk’s dik-dik (Madoqua kirkii). The land around the mountain is privately owned. Maasai pastoralists are selling their land to small-scale farmers, who in turn are cutting down vegetation to create land for farming and settlement.
- Losing species of conservation concern: Mount Longonot National Park is only 52 square kilometres in size. Acquiring an additional 3.3 hectares for wildlife habitat will signal the need to create more protected habitats for endangered species. Species we are particularly concerned about include the leopard, which is Near Threatened according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. The rarely seen mountain reedbuck is also a species of special concern in this area because it is rarely found in other parts of the Longonot-Hell’s Gate ecosystem.
- Diminishing wildlife dispersal area: Wildlife in Mount Longonot National Park is under threat from surrounding small-scale farmers. The park’s wildlife is dependent on the adjoining ranches, especially Kedong Ranch, for periodic dispersal to Hell’s Gate National Park. The immediate challenge is the conversion of land from ranching to horticulture, which reduces the wildlife dispersal area and leads to an increase in human-wildlife conflict. Our project will mitigate this challenge in two ways: First, the purchased land will act as a wildlife dispersal area and sanctuary for wildlife outside the protected areas to prevent poaching and mitigate other dangers to the wildlife. Second, a conservation education/information centre will be constructed to initiate educational programmes intended to lobby, create awareness and educate schools, community groups and landowners about land use activities that are compatible with wildlife conservation.
- Spoiling existing protected habitats: Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) has new geothermal generation sites in the nearby Hell’s Gate National Park. The development of new sites, disturbance, noise and waste disposal may render Hell’s Gate National Park unsuitable for wildlife, and many species may seek refuge in nearby Mount Longonot National Park. The only way to safeguard wildlife habitats in this conservation hotspot is through land purchase and land-lease programmes. Acquiring this parcel of land will therefore be an ideal example to showcase the way forward to protect the Longonot-Hell’s Gate ecosystem.
If this land is not purchased for conservation, it will most likely be converted into land use activities that are unfriendly or incompatible and destructive to wildlife, such as small-scale farming, horticultural farming, and the construction of private homes and settlements. KenGen is also searching for more sites for geothermal generation and some areas near Mount Longonot National Park have been earmarked as potential sites for future geothermal generation.
Estimated value ($) of a single hectare (average)