Across Laikipia County, Kenyan conservation organisations have successfully managed the transition from colonial-era cattle ranches to mixed-use cattle and game systems that have encouraged burgeoning wildlife populations outside formal protected areas. Preeminent amongst these is Ol Pejeta Conservancy (OPC), which holds a Key 1 population of black rhinoceros, and species that are in general decline including African lion and wild dog.

OPC has been conserving rhinos since 1992 and in 2003, OPC was purchased by FFI to support, both financially and technically, their rapidly growing population of black and white rhino by securing 90,000 acres of open Savannah grassland and converting it into a national land trust. Since OPC’s inception their black rhino populace has increased from 22 individuals to an impressive 115, giving OPC the largest population of black rhino in East Africa. In addition to the impressive efforts in supporting the black rhinos, in 2010 FFI also facilitated in the translocation of four northern white rhinos to their new home at OPC.

FFI also provides technical expertise to OPC in the delivery of its community conservation initiatives. Current work includes engaging with six key communities that are dependent on Mutara Conservation Area natural resources. OPC and FFI, together with other local partners, are supporting the delivery of a comprehensive programme of work with local stakeholders across multiple landholdings, to build peace and sustainability by balancing grazing, water and wildlife use.

FFI continues to also support OPC both technically and in a fundraising capacity to manage OPCs day to day conservation programme from Board level engagement through to implementation of specific activities such as rangeland monitoring and endangered species programmes.

We are grateful for financial support from the UK government’s Darwin Initiative and Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors Worldwide.