Sand River Corridor
The Sand River Corridor is a key wildlife corridor between the Maasai Mara, Naimina Enkiyio (the Sacred Forest), and the Great Rift Valley near the Kenya-Tanzania border. A number of corridors are being identified in this area using geographic and elephant collar data collected by the Mara Elephant Project (MEP).
The Sand River Corridor has an altitude variance of 1000 feet, and it links areas with incredible biodiversity. It is part of what keeps the Mara, Rift Valley, Serengeti, and Amboseli Ecosystems connected. 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.
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 wilderness 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 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 have also started to invest in developing alternative sustainable livelihood opportunities for communities, such as beekeeping and grow bags, which help to reduce human-wildlife conflict along the corridor. Moreover, a few of you have already been on safaris in this area with our RAS Partners which have contributed to this project.
We are hoping to do even more and look forward to keeping you up to date as this project progresses.
UPDATE: A team we helped sponsor have just managed to break the world record along this route for the most amount of mammal species recorded in 24 hours anywhere on the planet!
Zarek Cockar and Stratton Hatfield traversed a distance of 100 miles across Kenya’s Maasai Mara ecosystem, into the Sand River Corridor, across the Nguruman-Loita landscape, and down into the southern Rift Valley toward Lake Magadi, and saw at least 66 distinct mammal species (breaking the previous record of 64 set in Tarangrie, Tanzania). It shows how incredibly rich this area is and it really strengthens the case for why it needs to be conserved. We hope it will encourage more people to travel along this route which will bring in more funding to help conserve it and keep it connected!
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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