Borana and Conservation so far...
Borana has been in the Dyer family for three generations. Originally a cattle and sheep ranch, Michael Dyer, the grandson of Will Powys the original owner, alarmed by the dramatic decline of wildlife habitat, made wildlife its primary focus in 1992.
Abundant in plains game, elephant and predators, with unmatched diversity of scenery, the concept was built around the now-renowned Borana lodge built in 1992, as a way to generate revenue through and, most importantly, for wildlife.
Borana acknowledges that wildlife has to hold a value for the local people if it isto continue to exist. Borana and neighbouring Lewa Wildlife Conservancy pioneered sustainable community conservation in Laikipia.
Il N’gwesi was developed – a group ranch of many clans of Maasai that promoted and supported wildlife through their very own lodge.
Tassia Lodge – the people of Lekerruki were helped to follow suit, developing a highly successful eco-lodge of their own, and the subsequent development of sustainable managed habitat for wildlife and the existing cattle there.
The late 1990s and 2000s saw excellent growth in wildlife, tourism and community development in Laikipia, as other private landowners followed suit. Every precious cent earned ploughed back into protecting wildlife, its habitat and the people who live amongst it all. At the forefront were Borana and Lewa. Borana was instrumental in setting up the highly respected Laikipia Wildlife Forum, inviting and engaging large and small landowners to face the challenges of protecting Kenya’s dwindling wildlife on a broader landscape.
Both Borana and Lewa are now flagships in Kenyan conservation, not only in Laikipia but indeed Kenya, holding an abundance and diversity of wildlife comparable to any of the national parks. Critically endangered species, rhino not withstanding, on Lewa, such as the Grevy’s Zebra, the Jackson’s Hartebeest and African Wild Dog had now become commonplace on Borana and Lewa and were significant contributions to their respective populations in Kenya.
A Moral Obligation
The good news is that our neighbours and communities are banding together to provide a contiguous ecosystem and preserving these critically endangered species. The successes of the KWS and the Laikipia Wildlife Forum in Laikipia have shown us that the restoration of a seemingly long-gone ecosystem is attainable – and sustainable. Further, it has done so in a sustainable manner. In a partnership between Borana, Lewa and Kisima, with the help of Richard Branson, we have been able a successful elephant migration corridor between historic elephant migration routes to and from the wooded foothills of Mt Kenya - bypassing precious croplands and villages - an access route that has been cut off from elephants for over half a century. The implications of this are vast and a wonderful reminder of what can be achieved by positive, proactive and imaginative thinking.
We at Borana believe that helping build a legacy, which restores the ecological balance of an ecosystem to its historic state (what it was before people had such a significant impact on it), is the noblest means of giving back to a country that we all love deeply and are heavily invested in.