Zoos Victoria is proud to be working with the Melako Community Conservancy in northern Kenya to protect wildlife such as the endangered Grevy’s Zebra and Beisa Oryx through innovative conservation and community development initiatives.
We’re telling the story of the people in Melako at our zoos through two unique campaigns:
Melako Conservancy covers 330,000 hectares of arid rangelands and savannah and is one of 26 Kenyan conservancies coordinated by the Northern Rangelands Trust created to help communities live alongside their incredible wildlife
The conservancy in home to the Rendille people who rely on livestock for food, income and trade but it’s also the cornerstone of their culture. Ongoing drought and increased demand for grazing and water for livestock is bringing people into conflict with wildlife over depleting natural resources. These conditions combined with changes in culture, unsustainable development and illegal poaching are putting more pressure on local communities and wildlife populations.
We’re currently working in partnership with this community-run conservancy in many ways to help approximately 20,000 people live in balance with some of the world’s unique wildlife such as Grevy’s Zebra, oryx, giraffe, elephant and lions.
The Melako wildlife scouts are at the frontline of protecting both wildlife and communities from any external threats such as poachers and cattle rustlers. The scouts also patrol the conservancy to monitor wildlife populations and create distribution maps to assist in informing future management decisions. Zoos Victoria pays the salaries of the rangers along with funding equipment and key infrastructure.
Melako hopes to release Beisa Oryx, endemic to northern Kenya, back into the conservancy in the next five years. Zoos Victoria is assisting in this process by developing a conservation education and communications strategy to assist the community to understand why this release program is important for both the communities and wildlife.
Zoos Victoria has also helped employ a local Conservation Officer to spread the word of the importance of wildlife and the roleof the conservancy to the communities. This role also coordinates any eco- social (community centred conservation programs) within Melako.
Zoos Victoria is working closely with the teachers of 15 schools in the Melako area, to integrate conservation education into the school curriculum while also building the capacity of the teachers to teach conservation and the importance of wildlife to people, the livestock system and the rangelands.