Sand River Corridor
The Sand River Corridor is an area near the Kenya-Tanzania border that keeps the Maasai Mara, Naimina Enkiyio (the Sacred Forest), and the Great Rift Valley connected. A number of elephant movement corridors are being identified in this area using geographic and elephant collar data collected by the Mara Elephant Project (MEP), and it is also used by many other wildlife species and the semi-nomadic pastoralist Maasai communities who live in this area.
It has an altitude variance of 1000 feet, and it links areas with incredible biodiversity. In fact, in 2021 some of you helped us to sponsor the team that travelled a 100 mile stretch across the Mara, Sand River Corridor, Sacred Forest and into the Rift Valley, and broke the world record for the most number of distinct mammal species seen in 24 hours anywhere on earth. Proving how biodiverse this area really is, and just how important it is to preserve it.
Keeping corridors like this one open is critical because it allows wildlife and communities to access different resources at different times of the year and maintain ecosystem health and resilience to changes in climate. It is also part of what keeps the Mara, Rift Valley, Serengeti, and Amboseli Ecosystems connected.
The area has traditionally been communally owned rangelands belonging to semi-nomadic pastoralist Maasai communities, but recent government policy changes mean the landscape is being subdivided and shared out into small individual titles. Parts of this area have already been fenced and converted into patchworks of small farms, which restrict connectivity and increase human-wildlife conflict.
Together, we are helping to keep the part of this corridor closest to the Mara open by supporting Cottars Wildlife Conservation Trust (CWCT – founded by RAS Partner Calvin Cottar) to lease 7600 hectares of land for wildlife from the Olderkesi community so that wildlife remains the best land-use option for them. In addition to this, we and our partners CWCT, MEP, MMWCA and the Forest Guardians are working in partnership with communities in the area to develop effective land use plans that benefit them and keep a corridor open for them and for wildlife. With your help, we are also investing in creating alternative sustainable livelihood opportunities for communities, such as beekeeping and grow bags, which don’t conflict with wildlife or restrict connectivity.
A few of you have already been on safaris in this area with our RAS Partners which have contributed to this project, and some of you have very generously donated to the project in addition to this! We are so grateful for your support, and we look forward to continuing to keep you up to date as this project progresses.
You can donate to this project through our Royal African Foundation. 100% of your donation will go to the project you choose. Please contact us if you have any questions.
Photo credits www.georginagoodwin.com, MEP, Indi Bilkhu, Rob and Sara O’Meara and Uhuru Daniels
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