LIVESTOCK FOR WILDLIFE & COMMUNITIES
A SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIP
Over the last 10 years, Ol Pejeta has proven that wildlife/livestock integration can not only work, but is actually beneficial to the grasslands. The beef herd spend their days enjoying natural, wild pasture, and at night, are corralled in a predator-proof enclosure. Following the principles of holistic planned grazing, it is essential to intensively graze and then properly rest rangelands. By using cattle to graze in the bushy areas of the conservancy, which wildlife is less keen to to utilise, we are able to ensure that all our grass is continually mowed down and then allowed to recover, thus maintaining exceptional quality.
Bunched grazing and corralling of cattle also breaks up the hardpan soil in times of drought, and fertilises the ground. This allows for a rejuvenation of grass in these areas, which attracts herbivores from all over the Conservancy.
Ol Pejeta’s Ecological Monitoring Unit (EMU) have set camera traps up in these livestock-grazed areas, and recorded significantly more herbivores in these areas than others. They continually monitor soil and pasture health, so we can manage and place our herds where they are needed most.
Ol Pejeta employ 180 people in the livestock business, including 120 cattle herders; one for every 60 head of cattle. The herders know the terrain well, and spend all day out in the bush with the livestock, herding them to water points, pasture and back to the enclosure at night.
Farming in the wild carries its risks - predation from big cats, and tick-borne diseases from wildlife (particularly buffalo) are our biggest Challenges. Ol Pejeta loses around 1% of its livestock to predators each year, but this figure is considered sustainable in such an environment.
PASTORAL COMMUNITY SUPPORT
Ol Pejeta also support pastoral communities in the north of Kenya by fattening and marketing 1,500 cattle a year as part of the NRT Trading GrazingWORKS business.