Enonkishu Conservancy is committed to sustainable rangeland management that allows space and resources for all people, cattle, and wildlife. To achieve this it seeks a balance between conservation of the ecosystem and appropriate enterprise for the resident Maasai communities. Enonkishu is adopting a unique approach to conserving land by creating a viable livestock enterprise through a Holistic Management (HM) Approach. Through HM, Enonkishu intends to improve productivity of the livestock in the region, improve livelihoods and maintain heritage.
Enonkishu is a locally led initiative employing a triple bottom line approach; People (Social-Community), Profit (Economics-Business), Planet (Land, Water, Wildlife) with Holistic Management (HM) as the basis of the initiative. All components are interlinked and have an adaptive management style of thinking that uses a learning by doing culture within the conservancy.
Enonkishu Conservancy, on the northern boundary of the Mara-Serengeti Ecosystem has developed a strategy for a culturally relevant context to apply to conservation. Right on the edge of human settlement and arable farmland, the conservancy is used as a demonstration site for sustainable rangeland management.
Over the last five years, cattle have been utilised as a tool to rehabilitate degraded grassland and progress has been monitored. The resilient ecosystem of Enonkishu has responded well to the implementation of mobile bomas, additional artificial water points, efforts to control erosion and a stringent grazing plan designed to maximize available forage for wildlife and livestock.
Wildlife monitoring includes vehicle transects, foot patrols, waterhole and hilltop surveys, and a camera trap grid.
Fourteen vegetation transects are monitored quarterly and scored according to nineteen parameters. Livestock is counted monthly and attended to daily. Adhering to an adaptable but stringent grazing plan has improved vegetation, livestock, and wildlife abundance in Enonkishu.
Vegetation has improved 38% since the project began and livestock health has improved drastically. The first impala was observed on a game drive in the conservancy in 2014. In June 2019, a vehicle transect counted 658 individual plains game with nearly daily predator sightings by visitors and staff.
With increased abundance of predators, human-wildlife conflict has become a challenge that is being addressed by implementing mitigation strategies. The livestock have been upgraded by introducing Boran bulls into the herd with a vision of diversifying the conservancy’s revenue ensuring a sustainable model in which Maasai members realize the benefits of conservation in a tangible way.
Encouraging multiple revenue streams and utilizing cattle as a business venture demonstrates relevant conservation benefits where humans, wildlife, and livestock can coexist.