Lewa Wildlife Conservancy: Year in Review

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy has been a conservation leader for over 30 years and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 2014, Lewa combined with Borana Conservancy to partner in expanding its safe refuge for rhino, elephant, zebra, and a variety of Kenyan wildlife species. Together, Lewa and Borana have established almost 100,000 acres of suitable wildlife habitat and created a sustainable ecosystem in which humans and wildlife thrive alongside one another.

A pioneer in conservation, Lewa-Borana is home to 14% of Kenya’s Black and Southern Rhinos and 12% of the world’s endangered Grevy’s zebra, all of whom can roam freely on the land where there have been no poaching incidents for 4.5 years. Hoping to inspire other conservancy collaborations between state, private, and community organizations, the Lewa-Borana teams work with local law enforcement, farmers, and forest rangers to foster a formal relationship that enables the joint management of this shared ecosystem. In 2017, the partnerships equipped the team to perform 215 wildlife treatments, rescues, and other interventions while contributing to a 22% reduction in PIKE (Proportion of Illegally Killed Elephants) across the NRT-Supported Community Conservancies compared to 2016. Additionally, the dedicated Wildlife Guardians recovered 23 illegal ivory pieces and arrested 26 suspected poachers last year. Together, these groups are working to promote its holistic approach to community conservancy.

Lewa-Borana is unique in that it supports the community surrounding the conservancy as fiercely as it cares for the animals on its land. Lewa’s sustainable tourism model creates unmatched conservation-focused safari experiences, generating valuable revenue for the organization from its more than 10,000 visitors each year. One of its most significant areas of impact is on local education programs. In 2017, 69 teachers’ and librarians’ salaries were furnished by the Lewa-Borana partnership along with over 11,000 children and teachers from over 29 schools who received bursaries for higher education and benefited from its Conservation Education and Digital Literacy Programmes. Another 45,683 people received access to healthcare through Lewa and Borana’s programmes, 186 women joined the micro-enterprise programme to improve their livelihoods, and 13 local water projects provided access to clean water.

The inspiring work of the Lewa-Borana team has made a lifelong impact on the animals and community it serves, but they need our support to continue their work. In June, Lewa hosted its 19th Safaricom Marathon, raising $673,000 with over 1,400 runners from all over the world. You can continue to support their work by registering for next year’s race, planning a visit to their conservancy, or by purchasing a print from our collection. Lewa prides itself on its commitment to the local community—imagine the impact they can make with the support of our global community.

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