Zoos Victoria partners Melako Community Conservancy in northern Kenya. The Conservancy is community-run and aims to help people live in balance with wildlife through local development programs and sustainable use of natural resources. Melako Conservancy is one of 20 Kenyan conservancies coordinated by the Northern Rangelands Trust.
Melako Community Conservancy covers 45,00ha of arid rangelands and savannah and supports approximately 6,000 people. It is also home to the critically endangered Grevy’s Zebra, Equus grevyi, and other threatened arid-zone species such as the African Elephant, Loxodonta africana, and Beisa Oryx, Oryx beisa beisa.
The Conservation Issue
Traditionally, the Rendille people of Melako Conservancy are nomadic pastoralists, relying on livestock (camels, cattle, goats and sheep) for food, trade and income. A balance between livestock and wildlife numbers is essential for the health of the rangelands. However, ongoing drought and human conflict over livestock have increased demand for grazing and water resources. These conditions, combined with illegal poaching, are putting further pressure on local wildlife populations.
Key program objectives
Melako Community Conservancy aims to:
- Restore the rangelands of northern Kenya and secure habitat and resources for Grevy’s Zebra.
- Build the capacity of its community members by developing good governance systems, alternative income enterprises and supporting health and education programs.
- Develop sustainable livestock markets and rangeland management systems to support communities and wildlife.
Zoos Victoria ’s role
Zoos Victoria funds the Melako Scouts to conduct wildlife monitoring, security and anti-poaching patrols. Their work results in increased protection for Grevy’s Zebra and engages communities with the plight of the rangelands. ZoosVictoria also directly supports the women of Melako by selling their beadwork through our retail outlets – the Beads for Wildlife campaign. This alternative income stream reduces people’s reliance on livestock – this decreases livestock numbers, which increases access to water and grazing for wildlife.
- Five hundred women employed to supply products for Zoos Victoria’s Beads for Wildlife campaign.
- As of October 2011, almost 50,000 pieces of beadwork sold through Zoos Victoria, generating more than AUD $190,000 for women and their families in Melako.
- Increased wildlife sightings in the Conservancy, including Grevy’s Zebras.
- Radio-tower installed, increasing the scout’s communication and patrolling capability and anti-poaching effectiveness.
- Greater wildlife security due to increased frequency and extent of wildlife patrols.
Melako Community Conservancy
Northern Rangelands Trust
Grevy’s Zebra Trust