Apr. 3, 2015
Similarly to the community protecting Amu Ranch, the group ranch members of Witu Livestock wanted to secure their land and natural heritage from illegal encroachment and habitat destruction whilst sustainably utilizing the land for livestock and other income-generating projects. The Lamu Conservation Trust offers the skills and support needed by these group ranches in order to achieve their goals and in turn protect the wildlife and diversity of the area.
Since establishing a partnership with the LCT, Witu Livestock has been successful in preventing further poaching activities whilst averting fires set deliberately by encroachers and deterring deforestation. The team heading the Witu Livestock program has also been active in community outreach initiatives, working together with the communities of Pandanguo, a ranch near the North West of Witu Livestock. Several discussions have taken place with community elders with agreement to collaborate fully in the environmental conservation programs proposed by the LCT.
Each month the team including DSWT-funded community rangers take part in a number of joint patrols throughout the greater area with Kenya Wildlife Service rangers. Many of these patrols take place with tip offs from local informers concerning illegal activities. Two poachers were caught by the team red handed with fresh buffalo meat. They were prosecuted and found guilty by the District Magistrates court and sentenced to three years behind bars or a fine of ksh 200,000 each. However a week later the offenders seemed to have been set free contrary to the court verdict. An offender was also arrested for mass indigenous trees destruction with possession of 243 pieces of timber and a brand new power saw, he was arrested and escorted to Witu police station and subsequently charged in court with the case still continuing at the District Magistrate Court at Witu.
With such security measures in place Witu Livestock Cooperative Group Ranch is experiencing positive results in terms of a significant decrease in unmanaged livestock grazing, logging and bush-meat poaching whilst experiencing an increase in wildlife numbers.