Vincent Abere, Ol Pejeta Conservancy Kenya
*-Organization name: Ol Pejeta Conservancy
*-Organization address: Nanyuki, Private Bag, 10400
*-Organization address, if different:
*-Work phone with country and area code: +254707187141 :
*-Main email: email@example.com
*-Scholar email: firstname.lastname@example.org
*-Organization Web site URL if any: www.olpejetaconservancy.org
Ol Pejeta Conservancy (OPC) is a non-profit NGO based in Nanyuki, Kenya. Ol Pejeta has a unique history where it started out as a cattle ranch in the colonial period before being turned into a conservancy. The mission of OPC is to conserve wildlife, provide a sanctuary for great apes, and to generate income through wildlife tourism and complementary enterprise for reinvestment in conservation and communities. OPC has a vision of becoming an innovative and sustainable development model that conserves biodiversity (particularly endangered species) and contributes to economic growth and the improvement of the livelihoods of rural communities. Through its conservation efforts and partnerships with other local and international NGO’s, today OPC is the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa, and home to three of the world’s last remaining northern white rhino. It’s also the only place in Kenya to see chimpanzees who have been rescued from the black market, and now given a second chance in the sanctuary
OPC has for many years now worked with the local communities living around the conservancy by providing support in many ways to ensure that its wildlife conservation efforts translates to better education, healthcare and infrastructure for the next generation of wildlife guardians. OPC has also developed working relationships with a number of local groups and NGO’s working together in many ways so as to ensure the conservation efforts they make is not in vain. Internationally, OPC is recognized as a role model for conservation so much that it earned an IUCN Green List status in 2014, one of the only two conservancies in Africa. OPC has many international working partners including the Fauna and Flora International, Earthwatch Institute, African Wildlife Foundation, Save the Elephants, Save the Rhino just to mention a few.
. In 2015, OPC launched its 2020 management plan, which was developed by the staff with consultations from stakeholders and other working partners. This plan seeks to outline the major projects that will help the conservancy deliver its vision. Among these projects, developing a GIS based rhino information system is a key major project (Photo Above: Ol Pejeta Wildlife Rangers at a Patrol Briefing)
your personal role in the organization: I currently hold the position of a GIS and Remote Sensing analyst, under the EcologicalMonitoring Department. The EMD is charged with monitoring the welfare of all wildlife and vegetation in the conservancy. As a GIS and RS analyst am charged with maintaining the conservancy’s geospatial database, mapping of all kinds of data, spatial analysis, remote sensing applications, report writing and production of maps. I have been involved with a number of projects done by OPC itself and by visiting researchers. Am currently involved in OPC’s Lion project, which seeks to map out the core areas of lions through GPS fitted collars. My role includes downloading GPS fixes, mapping the fixes and spatial analysis of the same (see attachment). Other projects that I have been involved with include 2016 Intensive pasture monitoring and mapping, Mapping of Euclea divinorum encroachment in OPC through a remote sensing approach and OPC vegetation mapping 2016 through supervised and unsupervised classification in GIS. Main role in these projects was spatial analysis and filed work collecting data and ground truthing. Apart from that I am responsible for staff training on how to use GIS and so far I have been able to successfully train some staff on the basics of GIS and using mobile applications to collect data in the field. I also facilitate for the distribution of data, maps and reports to the other staff that I work with. (Photo Above, Lion Relocation work in collaboration with Kenya Wildlife Service.)
I have also been able to create a story map for one of the department activity and was published online. Other activities that am involved with include servicing of camera traps, camera trap image analysis, lion tracking, engaging visitors through demos and community meetings (see attachment).
In line with the OPC 2020 plan, I want to implement the GIS based rhino information system and that is why am applying for this years
scholarship program because I believe the training will be a key asset in terms of making the project successful. (Photo Above: Ol Pejeta Rangers at Patrol Briefing before searching for a lost rhino)
history of your personal work in conservation and GIS: My passion for geography influenced my decision to apply for a course in Geospatial engineering at The University of Nairobi. Learning GIS has both been fun and challenging for me. My passion for the wild and animals encouraged me to set my career path towards matters that deal with the environment and conservation. And with GIS I can now be able to share my story the best way I can, through maps and mapping. In my final year project, I used GIS to spatially locate the most suitable sites for locating a recreation park. With limited number of recreation parks in the city, I choose Nairobi city as my study area and my final results was very promising. Before I joined OPC I had an opportunity to work with a local NGO at Save the Elephants, in their Samburu national reserve research center. This was just after graduating from the university. Save the Elephants are working to secure a future for elephants and protect the environment they live in. I was involved with a number of their projects, the main one being the Human-footprint project. This project involves mapping out the human settlement along major wildlife corridors and visualizing how it affects the migration patterns of elephants including mapping out human-elephant conflict zones in GIS. My main work here involved digitizing human settlements on Google Earth with subsequent uploading of the KMZ files on ArcGIS. By overlaying this files with elephant movement data from fitted GPS collars, we can therefore easily visualize its effects and know what exact actions to take. I also participated in community outreach programs designed to educate the native communities about the importance of conservation and to encourage them to desist from engaging in wildlife poaching. I have also participated in a number of walks creating awareness about elephants and rhinos both in Samburu and Nairobi. In 2015 I volunteered with one of the youth groups and participated in cleaning of Nairobi National Park. Here in OPC I have also engaged with a number of visitors and demonstrated how GIS is used in carrying out our daily activities and more importantly how conservation works. Am currently involved in the setting up of a Geo-tourism project, in partnership with guys from National Geographic, for the conservancy in an effort to reach out to many people and share our success story. (Photo Above, Ol Pejeta wildlife kill survey)
*-Abstract/summary of the paper you will present: This paper seeks to show how GIS is used in monitoring pasture and its utilization. Since Ol Pejeta has an integrated livestock and wildlife program, its paramount that we know the changes in pasture biomass throughout the conservancy and is usually done in a quarterly basis. By mapping out the movement of wildlife and determining biomass at different sampling points, we can therefor use this information to determine suitable areas for grazing livestock. This therefor ensure that there is effective and sustainable utilization of pastures in the conservancy without the risk of overgrazing or environmental degradation.