LEWA Wildlife Conservancy: 2018/2019 Year in Review

Our partners at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy recently released their 2018/2019 Impact Report, which once again demonstrates the amazing work of this leading conservation organization. While the partnership between Lewa and Borana conservancies has allowed them both to thrive in the years since they removed their border fence, they have succeeded primarily because of their unique focus on the people at the heart of their conservation mission.

Working together, Lewa and Borana have made incredible strides in the fight to protect Kenya’s most vulnerable creatures and renewed Lewa’s spot on the IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas. Most notably, last year marked the birth of the 100th black rhino rhino calf at Lewa, solidifying it as a Key 1 black rhino population. This designation indicates that the Lewa-Borana black rhino population, which is just the third Key 1 designation in East Africa, is stable, increasing, and has achieved continental importance. It is truly remarkable that the Lewa-Borana black rhino population has increased by 25% in just 4 years and now comprises 13% of all Kenyan rhinos.

But it’s more than just rhinos who are thriving on Lewa:

  • Grevy's Zebras: There are 2,800 Grevy's zebras left in Kenya, a population that has suffered one of the most significant population declines on the continent. Foal survival rate on Lewa has increased to nearly 20%, making it one of the only landscapes in the country that has increased in the past four years.

  • Lions: Although habitat loss and human conflict have led to a steep decline in the lion’s population, Lewa’s lion cub survival rate is at 70%, which is higher than much of the country.

  • Elephants: The elephant population across northern Kenya has increased 12% over five years due to the promotion of a peaceful human-elephant coexistence. Last year, nearly 800 elephants used the Mt. Kenya underpass, which is a man-made pass made to restore the migration route disrupted by human development.

  • Hyenas: These misunderstood predators are also the most abundant large carnivore. Rather than dirty scavengers, they are skilled hunters that live in highly organized, matriarchal societies that are critical to ensuring a balanced ecosystem. The hyena population has increased by 34% with more than 100 hyenas living on Lewa-Borana.

All of these wins for wildlife would not be possible without the people at the center of the Lewa mission. Lewa prides itself on ensuring its conservation efforts are inclusive, participatory, and beneficial to the livelihoods of its neighboring communities:

  • Conservation Tourism: Their sustainable model offers guests an experiential trip of a lifetime with minimal environmental impact and exponential impact on their conservation work.

  • Education: Last year, Lewa invested over $1.6 million to support government schools through the construction of new classrooms, dormitories, laboratories, and more. They provided scholarships, trained students on digital literacy, and hired teachers to advance nearly 100 students to universities and colleges.

  • Health & Lifestyle: Lewa and Borana provided more than 50,000 people with healthcare services, and Lewa treated more than 16,000 students during school outreaches, and worked on 11 water projects to ensure clean water supply for at least 20,000 people.

  • Enterprise & Employment: Lewa distributed $15,000 to new members of the micro-enterprise program, helping to employ 1,300 people across the Lewa-Borana landscape.

To celebrate its successes and gain support for its future, Lewa hosted an Inaugural Ball on November 1, 2018. More than 400 people from three continents gathered in London to support Lewa and Borana’s evolving partnership at the Inaugural Lewa-Borana Ball and raise just over $670,000 of the organization’s $5.7 million budget. While we are incredibly proud of Lewa’s successes, we know they need our support to continue and improve. Please join us in supporting Lewa with a print from our collection, which contributes 20% of each purchase toward Lewa’s initiatives.

All images captured by KT Merry at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. 

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