TSAVO TRUST - AN OVERVIEW

TSAVO TRUST is a Kenyan not-for-profit organisation, created to facilitate environmental, economic and socio-cultural change for good in Kenya's greater Tsavo ecosystem.

This ecosystem, often referred to as the greater Tsavo Conservation Area (TCA) spans 16,000 square miles (42,000 square kilometres) of arid and semi arid lands in southern Kenya. Half of this expanse comprises three adjoining National Parks (Tsavo East, Tsavo West and Chyulu Hills) managed by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and constituting the country's largest officially gazetted protected area. Around these Parks lies a network of small towns and villages, ranches, rural private and communal lands.

The TCA holds significant wildlife populations, both inside and outside the National Parks, including the country's largest single elephant population, numbering just over 12,000 animals (2011 census). The communities living in the areas adjacent to the National Parks belong to a diverse range of ethnic groups, with differing ways of life, customs and beliefs.

The key challenges faced by the Tsavo region include:

  • Poverty and underlying socio-cultural problems including insecurity in certain areas, poor access to education and healthcare, lack of prospects and general despondency;

 

  • Habitat degradation and ensuing loss of ecosystem services vital to the wellbeing of all Kenya's people;

 

  • Resource-driven conflicts: inter-community and inter-ethnic conflict driven by intensified competition over pasture and water; and escalating human-wildlife conflict;

 

  • Reduction in wildlife numbers and space for wildlife, amounting to the diminishing of a key economic resource for the region and the country as a whole;

 

  • Limited technical and financial capacity to manage wildlife outside the officially gazetted National Parks, resulting in an untapped revenue stream for communities in outlying wildlife dispersal areas;

 

  • Lack of community awareness of the national and global importance of the Tsavo ecosystem, the exceptional biodiversity it contains, the value of wildlife in general and the need to protect these assets for the benefit of all.

To address these challenges, TSAVO TRUST is launching four integrated programmes, supported by an efficient management structure:

  1. Community Wildlife Conservancies Stewardship Programme
  2. Wildlife Conservation Programme
  3. Education and Outreach Programme
  4. Animal Welfare Programme

 

These programmes will work in tandem with each other, to achieve the following key objectives:

  • Through stewardship, to facilitate the creation of a network of community-owned, community-led wildlife conservancies, which will bring manifold benefits to the marginalized communities living within the greater TCA, including the improvement of their safety and wellbeing, enhanced local stability, diversified livelihoods allowing vulnerable communities to transition from dependency to sustainability, formation of robust community institutions, initiation of nature-based enterprises enabling financial independence, the securing of routes to market for local products, and improved access to water, healthcare and education;

 

  • Enhance wildlife conservation through partnership with and direct support to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), the national wildlife authority, for their operations inside the National Parks; and through the Community Wildlife Conservancies, create a physical buffer along vulnerable National Park boundaries, secure wider wildlife dispersal areas, re-open historical wildlife migration corridors and contribute to the enhanced protection of biodiversity and ecosystem services within the greater TCA;

 

  • Use multimedia to create educational campaigns, training films and documentaries to improve access to information about Tsavo and to share TSAVO TRUST conservation enterprise and wildlife management models, allowing these models to be replicated further afield and thereby extending and strengthening the impact of all TSAVO TRUST programmes;

 

  • Increase public awareness of the role wild animal welfare plays in the wider conservation agenda, particularly with a view to enhancing public awareness of the value of wildlife to a country like Kenya and to the world.

 

  • Build a robust, transparent, responsible and responsive not-for-profit organisation, which can make a crosscutting and long-lasting impact in this region of Kenya, for the shared benefit of people, wildlife and habitat.

TSAVO TRUST has been formed by a group of professionals from the conservation, security, wildlife management, not-for-profit, business development and legal fields, who have a long history of living and working in the Tsavo region, and an understanding of its ecological and socioeconomic importance to Kenya.

TSAVO TRUST is committed to working in partnership with governmental, non-governmental, community and private stakeholders, both local and international, to attain a shared vision for a healthy, sustainable and increasingly prosperous greater Tsavo Conservation Area.

 

Map of the greater Tsavo Conservation Area, showing Tsavo Trust's headquarters and its programme areas. (Please click on the map to see a larger version.)

A Wataita homestead bordering the Tsavo East National Park. Poverty engenders wider social challenges, including insecurity, vulnerability to destabilizing external influences and susceptibility to human-wildlife conflict. Participatory conservation and nature-based enterprises can mitigate many of the challenges faced by marginalized communities in the Tsavo region.

A Wataita homestead bordering the Tsavo East National Park. Poverty engenders wider social challenges, including insecurity, vulnerability to destabilizing external influences and susceptibility to human-wildlife conflict. Participatory conservation and nature-based enterprises can mitigate many of the challenges faced by marginalized communities in the Tsavo region.

Small scale farms bordering Tsavo East National Park along the Athi River. Due to low rainfall and poor soils, much of the land surrounding the Tsavo National Parks is not productive, even for small scale agriculture. Wildlife-based enterprises could be far more rewarding for the resident communities in many of these wildlife dispersal areas.

Small scale farms bordering Tsavo East National Park along the Athi River. Due to low rainfall and poor soils, much of the land surrounding the Tsavo National Parks is not productive, even for small scale agriculture. Wildlife-based enterprises could be far more rewarding for the resident communities in many of these wildlife dispersal areas.

The development of community conservancies, while not a straightforward task, has proved to be one of the most effective ways of ensuring that communities derive benefits from wildlife on their lands, and that these areas remain available for wildlife
— Kenya Wildlife Service - Tsavo Conservation Area Management Plan 2008-2018
Wildife, such as these Fringe-eared Oryx photographed in Tsavo West, have evolved over millennia to thrive in harsh arid environments. In many cases, conservation-based enterprises can provide diverse livelihood options for communities living with wildlife adjacent to the National Parks.

Wildife, such as these Fringe-eared Oryx photographed in Tsavo West, have evolved over millennia to thrive in harsh arid environments. In many cases, conservation-based enterprises can provide diverse livelihood options for communities living with wildlife adjacent to the National Parks.

Tsavo is the best place in the world to see the great tuskers - bull elephants with enormous ivory. Not only do these magnificent animals represent an important gene pool but they also represent a valuable economic asset to Kenya through the wildlife tourism industry. TSAVO TRUST's Wildlife Conservation Programme seeks to provide extra protection for Tsavo's extraordinary diversity of wildlife and wild places.

Tsavo is the best place in the world to see the great tuskers - bull elephants with enormous ivory. Not only do these magnificent animals represent an important gene pool but they also represent a valuable economic asset to Kenya through the wildlife tourism industry. TSAVO TRUST's Wildlife Conservation Programme seeks to provide extra protection for Tsavo's extraordinary diversity of wildlife and wild places.

Education of the current and future generations helps secure the sustainability of community-managed conservation initiatives, helping to raise awareness and build capacity and skills. TSAVO TRUST is developing a partnership with the African Environmental Film Foundation to provide conservation education through film on a wide scale across the Tsavo region.

Education of the current and future generations helps secure the sustainability of community-managed conservation initiatives, helping to raise awareness and build capacity and skills. TSAVO TRUST is developing a partnership with the African Environmental Film Foundation to provide conservation education through film on a wide scale across the Tsavo region.