Conservation fees can add a significant amount to the cost of your safari and we are often asked what are they for?
All National Parks, Reserves and Conservancies in Kenya have an entry fee and this is how the extensive management of these protected areas is financed.
Sosian is no exception and being private land, it is up to us to finance all the conservation work and land management ourselves. So when staying at Sosian your conservation fee goes directly towards the following:
- Anti-Poaching – our team of 41 rangers discreetly patrol Sosian’s 24,000 acres of wilderness on a continuous basis. Your conservation fees contribute to the progressive training of 11 armed rapid response rangers, with 3 designated vehicles, plus another 30 foot-patrol rangers. We employ these men on a permanent salary as well as provide accommodation and life insurance policies. We also kit our rangers out with top spec military grade equipment, so that they are never left vulnerable or under equipped in a crisis situation. Anti-poaching and all it encompasses is by far our biggest outlay in conservation at Sosian and it couldn’t be done without the additional help of the charity ForRangers (forrangers.com) who raise much-needed funds in this area.
- Grass and water management – By looking after our herbivores, the carnivores can look after themselves (to a certain extent!) If left unmanaged, much more of Laikipia would suffer from land desertification, so it is crucial to ensure livestock numbers are managed to an optimum that allows wildlife to also thrive. We have a limit on cattle numbers on Sosian and also work closely with our communities to help carry this forwards into their pastoral lands. We also invest significant funds into water management in the form of dams and boreholes. Prior to man’s influence, Laikipia’s wildlife would have managed quite well with the rivers and natural pools, some seasonal and some permanent. But as water extraction and climate change continue at an unprecedented rate, we can no longer rely on the once permanent natural water sources.
- Large Predator Conservation – Whilst the carnivores will thrive with plenty of prey animals around, they do unfortunately get themselves into trouble at times, when killing livestock. This is no good for anyone, so at Sosian, we work closely with lion and wild dog conservation groups to monitor and keep tabs on where these predators are. Our safari guides photograph and log all sightings on Sosian, which goes into a central database for analysis on population numbers, territories and activity. Additionally, we also invest significant funds into the use of ‘predator proof’ cattle enclosures to negate any possible conflict, giving the lions the best possible chance of being good!
- Infrastructure – in order to see the wonderful wildlife of Sosian we need access in the form of well maintained tracks, especially through thick bush and over rocky ground. We are fortunate to not be restricted to following ‘roads’, like in the National Parks, as we have such a low number of vehicles using Sosian (only our own 3 safari vehicles and our 3 ranger vehicles). However tracks do make life easier (and more comfortable!) and over the years we have created a good network with our grader and tractors, to access all areas of Sosian. But of course, these tracks need constant work to keep them in good condition. For optimum wildlife viewing we have also invested in a rustic tree house giving a raised viewpoint and plans for a hide and a platform are also afoot!
Sosian is just one small piece of the huge jigsaw making up Kenya’s wildlife areas. So please recognize your conservation fees as a much needed contribution to securing wildlife areas for yourself and future generations to witness firsthand. After all, without these areas there would be no wildlife to come and see!