• Conservancy, with community support, will protect wildlife and the environment and attract eco-tourists.
•It will also create jobs, improve livelihoods and increase county revenue. It is expected to reduce disputes over pasture and water
A wildlife and wetlands conservancy has opened in Mochongoi, Baringo South, to resolve land disputes, save wildlife and create jobs.
It will also promote ecotourism and increase county revenues.
The 7,000-acre Kiborgoch Community Conservancy opened on Friday.
It is a kilometre from the main Lake Bogoria Game Reserve and covers Sandai, Kapkuikui and Loboi locations.
“It will help resolve boundary disputes and improve the livelihoods of the community” Conservancy association chairman Peter Kandagor said.
The area has been the site of frequent land and border disputes between the warring Ilchamus and Endorois marginalised pastoral communities. They fight over limited water and pasture.
“It is a new dawn for the communities because the facility will create employment opportunities and reduce joblessness among the youth,” he said.
The conservancy is home to zebras, flamingoes, ostriches, greater kudu antelope, the sitatunga, which is a swamp-dwelling antelope; waterbucks, hippos, warthogs, crocodiles, pythons and more than300 species of birds.
“It is one of the few conservancies in Kenya where you will see wildlife freely mingling with domestic animals like cows, sheep and goats," Kandagor said.
John Kandie, a community leader, said, saying, "It is our own and we ought to embrace and protect it."
He urged partners and well-wishers to support the project so it can transform the community in a big way.
During the launch, Northern Rangelands Trust representative Mading Duncan praised the Baringo County Conservation Association for conserving the environment, the water catchment and protecting wildlife.
Baringo is among the four counties in Kenya that have benefited from European Union funding under the EU Ranger Programm.
Baringo tourism director Evans Kipturgo said the symbiotic relationship between wild animals and domestic animals is a rare global phenomenon.
Mochongoi MCA Kipruto Kimosop said the conservancy will help open up the area and increase revenue.
He urged residents to allocate funds to the conservancy so infrastructure like roads can be improved.
Chief officer for tourism, environment and natural resources Richard Ruto said that the county will inject funds to make the conservancy among Kenya's best.
He advised the conservancy committee urgently to come up with a management plan and a strategic plan.
Kiborgoch Conservancy is also supported by the UNDP Global Environment Facility, Small Grants Programme (UNDP-GEF/SGP) and the Phase VI project for Lke Bogoria Landscape.
The funding is used to sensitising the community on the benefits of protecting wildlife and the environment, thus improving their own lives and incomes.
(Edited by V. Graham)