In exercise of the Wildlife Act the Minister for Wildlife and Forestry has declared Soysambu to be a wildlife sanctuary. Our director, Kat Combes, has worked on this for the last five years so that we can get UNESCO nomination for a World Heritage Site.

We would also like to ask ask those residents and stakeholders on and around Lake Elmenteita to support GLECA (Greater Lake Elmenteita Conservation Area). There will be a meeting soon to discuss the management of the Lake with the Kenya Wildlife Service. There is a draft management plan.

The declaration of Lake Elmenteita Wildlife Sanctuary is a step forward in the nomination of the Kenya Rift Valley Lakes World Heritage Site. It will provide national protection to this incredibly fragile lake. Soysambu borders the Lake on the west. We look forward to working with our neighbors in protecting this valuable part of Kenya’s heritage.

Soysambu’s newest arrivals!

Spring has definitely sprung on Soysambu, and with it has come the next generation of wildlife. Baby Gazelles, Impala, Baboons and Zebra can be seen running and dancing around on the fresh (albeit short) but never the less, green grass! Three new arrivals in particular have everyone talking excitedly, three brand new Rothschild’s Giraffe! Three giraffe calves playing We are not sure exactly when they were born, but signs all point to sometime in the last week. The three calves are in a group of about 12 other adults and sub-adults living in the sanctuary around the lake sure. There is also another heavily pregnant female who looks ready to have her calf any day now! Mother giraffe stands over her calfSoysambu Conservancy currently has a group of volunteers monitoring the giraffe and their habitat daily. The group from Africa Venture Volunteers is working on an ongoing identification project for the giraffe on Soysambu, taking pictures and monitoring movements and social groupings of the giraffe. The volunteers are also studying the habitat destruction that seems to occurring in areas of the Conservancy that the giraffe graze heavily. Acacia xanthophloea, or Yellow Fever Tree, is the primary food source of the giraffe, and in addition browsing the foliage, the giraffe are also stripping bark from the trunks and branches. This practice in some areas is leading to ring-barking and death of a number of the trees. Two calves sharing a secret… Giraffe expert, Julian Fennessy of Kenyan Land Conservation Trust visited with a prospective PhD student Zoe Muller to see the giraffe population as well as to meet with the volunteers and offer them guidance in their researching. There has been surprisingly few studies done on the Rothschild’s giraffe, so with the help of Julian, Zoe and the volunteers we hope to gain a better understanding of the giraffe on Soysambu as well as add to the information bank of the Rothschild’s giraffe. A happy familyGiraffe calf stares with curiosityThanks to Zoe Muller for the photos.

“The land of the graceful Giraffe…”

My name is Jenny and I recently had the privilege of spending two weeks at Soysambu Conservancy in Kenya. Soysambu, geographically nestled in the Great Rift Valley, is home to a teeming abundance of beautiful wildlife. While I was there I came to realize just how special this place was. It’s not often that people get to experience these animals in their natural habitat. Most of these animals are only viewed in Zoo’s or National Parks.

Cape Buffalo on Soysambu

In Soysambu, animals are free to come and go as they please. It is a credit to the Conservancy that even with their freedom these animals choose to make their homes on Conservancy land. While I was there I saw Cape Buffalo, Impala, Thomson’s Gazelles, Grant’s Gazelles, Rothschild’s Giraffe, Waterbuck, Dik Dik, Burchell’s Zebra, Eland, Flamingos, Pelicans, and numerous African birds. I also was fortunate to be able to participate in a bi-annual Wildlife Census for the Conservancy. After gathering the data is it clear that wildlife is prospering there. Great things are in store for Soysambu in the future. Kat Combes, of Soysambu Conservancy told me her dreams of bringing the once present Black Rhino back onto Conservancy land. To see this dream come to fruition will be a wondrous site. It might take many years of fundraising and planning but I have no doubt that she will reach her dream. She certainly gives her whole heart to this Conservancy. After observing her over the two weeks it is clear that Soysambu is her heaven on earth.

Kirk’s Dikdik on Soysambu

I feel fortunate to have been able to experience everything that Soysambu has to offer. I have come home feeling well rested and knowing that these majestic animals are being well cared for. I know that in the future if I am having a bad day I will be able to close my eyes and be transported back to a land where the graceful Giraffe are “dining” with their family, and the Gazelles are swishing their tails while frolicking with their friends. All the while the beautiful sound of the African Dove can be heard boasting of what a special place in the world this is.

Eland on Soysambu

Soysambu Wildlife Census, September 27th.

Twice a year a Game Count is conducted on the entire of the Soysambu Conservancy, to give an idea of animal numbers. It is impossible to get an exact count on most animals, however using particular techniques a general idea can be established!

Rangers, staff, volunteers and residents assembled at the head office at 6am to collect counting sheets, binoculars and vehicles. The property was divided into 11 sections and groups of 3-6 people designated to each section, plus an aerial count of larger animals, like Giraffe and Buffalo, over the entire property.

The count took most groups about 3 hours, but the last group didn’t finish until 11am after scrambling through the dense scrub of the Lake Sanctuary!

Rangers counting animals near the Lake

Some of the notable sightings included a Leopard, 4 Hyena, 4 Bat-Eared Foxes wrestling across the plains, and 3 Ground Horn Bills. 63 Rothschild’s giraffe were counted, including quite a few newborns! There were only 7 Colobus Monkeys seen, which adds to suspicions that the population size has dropped.

Over 200 Eland were seen, and 67 warthog were counted, both numbers having increased since last count in MayThese figures are very encouraging as both these species are targeted heavily by poachers. And last night I saw my first Aardvark on a night drive! Very exciting stuff!

Rangers on a lookout hill counting wildlife