Why we established the Conservancy

Thank you for visiting this site. This is my first blog (ever) after setting this up with the help of my friend, Emma. Soysambu is the only area of open land left in this part of Kenya’s Great Rift Valley where the wildlife have come to take refuge from expanding human development. The soil is fragile and can only sustain grasses which provide food for the wild animals and cattle. Once an area successfully utilized only for livestock and hay cultivation it now has around 12,000 wildlife competing for the same resources. Lake Elmenteita which Soysambu borders on 3 sides was named a Wetland of International importance by the Ramsar Convention in 2005. This lake now hosts the only breeding colony of Great White Pelican in East Africa. Many populations of lesser and greater flamingo also occupy the lake. It is a birders paradise.  You can’t imagine how important this is to the whole string of Rift Valley Lakes!  Semi endangered Rothschild giraffe are happily reproducing here along with the Colobus monkeys, cape buffalo, eland, gazelles, impala and just about everything else. The Acacia woodlands, the Euporbia groves, the leleshwa bush all add up to areas in need of forestry preservation when everything around us is getting flattened. I could go on forever… How can we preserve this amazing array of flora and fauna and operate in a sustainable way utilizing all the resources available and to help the surrounding communities benefit from their wildlife heritage by developing programmes for poverty reduction and education? These were the questions facing us then and now as we are building the Conservancy. I am not an expert on these things, but learning fast, and looking for every way possible to protect the land, the wildlife and the culture. Any suggestions and comments are greatly welcomed and appreciated. Many thanks, Kat

pelicans are breeding on Lake Elmenteita

pelicans are breeding on Lake Elmenteita

11 thoughts on “Why we established the Conservancy

  1. Mulqueeny

    I can bear witness to the beauty of Soy Sambu. Also the number of babies I saw on my visit is testament to the success of your work. I shall share this site with people I know. Good luck!

  2. Jersey Hall Boy

    what about updating your wikipedia article on “Soysambu Conservancy” as well and then we could add to it and more people could link to this…..

  3. Ann Delamere

    Today we are having one of our twice yearly game-counts. Everyone arrived at the Farm Office at 06.00 for tea and biscuits, and to collect their maps and clipboards. With 10 vehicles, each with at least four people there was quite a crowd. KWS turned out in force to help us, and so did lots of our security people, and tenants who live on the farm, but we got them all safely on the road to their areas by 06.30 – and we are now waiting for them to get back, so that we can tot up their area counts and come up with a fair idea of the number of beasts we have here. Sadly we couldn’t afford an aerial count, so we will probably miss out on some of the giraffe and buffalo in thickly wooded areas, and of course, the nocturnal animals. Monday is a Public Holiday, so we won’t be able to e-mail the result till it is all typed out on Tuesday. We will let you know.

  4. Patrick

    What a wonderful project that deserves full support from abroad and the surrounding community. It is a beautiful experience to fly over the area and I look forward to my first experience of soaring on the Soysambu thermals.

  5. Ann Delamere

    Oh dear, we counted the same big herd of Rothschilds giraffe twice, so reckon we have approx: 50, not 93! And the buffalo were hiding in thick bush laughing at us, so that figure is another “don’t know”.

  6. Ann Delamere

    Soysambu Game Count – October 2008

    Animal Total Previous Count

    Tommies 3,795 2,760
    Impala 3,378 2,833
    Zebra 2,183 2,828
    Grants Gazelle 443 452
    Eland 330 348
    Buffalo 417 764
    Hyrax 2 3
    Waterbuck 403 330
    Dikdik 68 99
    Warthogs 121 93
    Roth. Giraffe 93 46
    Steinbok 3 8
    Rabbit (Hare/ 2 23
    Leopard – 2
    Bat-Eared Fox – 19
    Guinea Fowl (flocks) 102 568
    Baboon 252 182
    Colobus 2 4
    Reedbuck 2 –
    Black-Back Jackals 2 25
    Silver-B Jackals 7 6
    Fracolin – 21
    Crested Crane 3 9
    Golden Jackals 5 12
    Side-Striped Jackals 11 –
    Secretary Birds 10 12
    Ground Hornbill – 3

  7. Ann Delamere

    We had a brilliant idea – we thought that the least-stressful way to move herds of giraffe about would be with camels (both only have bottom teeth, so must be dimly related). The giraffe were fascinated by the camels and didn’t notice their riders, but the camels took one horrified look at the giraffe, turned tail and ran for it!

  8. tanguydb

    That sounds like a brilliant idea indeed to use camels for moving the giraffes around. Had you seen it happen before or was it a totally new experiment? The camels might get used to it with time…
    I also see that 764 buffalos were counted up from 417 before! That is a big increase!
    Great to be able to read some news of the conservancy. Thanks!

  9. njenga

    As a man born and brought up in Gilgil and knows a lot about the settlers including Lord Arthur Cole, the Delameres and others who setteld in my home town of Gilgil, I commend the efforts the Delameres are doing to uplift the living standard of the community. What’s happening now within and around Delamere estate has been brewing since I was a little boy. And its all about poverty. I remember in the 70s when i used to take my to hunt in the sprawling Arthur Cole’s land just to catch a deer to give my poor family some proteins.I hope what has transpired in court today will change the beautiful environs of Lake Elmentaita, Eburru, Mutaita, Kiambogo in days to come. The best way is to start community projects that will have the residents contribute and participate fully, encourage land ownership and other tools to alleviate poverty.I know it can be done.Those colonial days are over and if we change by the times, all will be happy and create a harmonious livelihood for all. I can no longer hunt now but I can participate in fostering a community based project that will elliminate the hate that has been brewing even I became a hunterboy. Good luck.

  10. Valerie Sott

    Best wishes for your success with the fund raising necessary to keep things up and running. We were so privileged to spend an incredible week there back in 2001 and know what an amazing place Soysambu is. Keep the posts coming so we can follow the progress. Thanks for the good work.

  11. Osas

    I come from the forest (as my screen-name indicates), so excuse a more historical question. How far or little were the areas around Lake Elmenteita a woodland in the past? The earliest documentations would likely go back to 1903/05, but earlier oral history should also exist? Am curious whether previous forests have been lost…


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