Thursday, July 4, 2013

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy added to the World Heritage List

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy  (Image: Lewa Wildlife Conservancy Facebook page)

The Mount Kenya –Lewa wildlife conservancy is to be listed as one of the world heritage sites, a positive global recognition that will boost Kenya’s tourist attractions.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has announced that conservancy, will be added as an extension to Mount Kenya National Park which was designated a World Heritage Site in 1997.
Lewa and Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve were inscribed as an extension to the Mount Kenya World Heritage Site towards end of June following Kenya’s proposal to expand the boundary of the world heritage site.
The World Heritage status is a prestigious recognition for places of outstanding universal value to humanity. Lewa and Ngare Ndare were considered for their outstanding beauty and their varied and impressive ecosystems and biodiversity.
The expansion and extension of the criteria for listing will enhance the protection of the property as a world heritage site and improve the conservation status of the mountain.
The Kenya Tourism Board  (KTB) Managing Director, Muriithi Ndegwa applauded the achievement which he termed as  a confirmation of the Kenya’s amazing landscape that has continued to attract many tourists to the country.
“It is also an assurance to the world that Kenya is keen on sustainable tourism and community involvement in tourism activities and we shall endeavor to do even more” says the Managing Director
It was on the slopes of Mount Kenya that the duke of Cambridge Prince William proposed to his wife now the duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton.
The two sites are connected to Mt Kenya via the pioneering elephant corridor that serves as a route for landscape connectivity and will join other Kenyan ecological and cultural treasures such as Fort Jesus, the Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley and Lamu Old Town, Kenya and other global sites like the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef, the Galápagos Islands, the Taj Mahal, the Grand Canyon and the Acropolis.
Lewa Wildlife Conservancy was founded in 1983, when David and Delia Craig set aside 5,000 acres of their cattle ranch and converted it into a rhino sanctuary. Today, the sanctuary encompasses some 60,000 acres.  It is home to 10 percent of Kenya’s black rhino population and 14 percent of its white rhino population, not to mention the world’s largest population of Grevy’s zebras.
Lewa’s mission is not only to conserve wildlife, but also to alleviate poverty in the local community, which is why the conservancy also engages in community healthcare, water management, micro-lending and other social programs.
The conservancy recently held its annual fundraising marathon that took place on the 29th of June drawing 1,200 runners from around the globe.
Ngare Ndare, Maa for "goats’ water, is a gazetted forest used to promote peace and co-existence among the different communities in the area - the Meru, Maasai, Borana and Kikuyu. The forest is maintained primarily by the local communities as the Ngare Ndare Forest Trust, under the supervision of Kenya Forest Service (KFS).
Being an extension of the Mt. Kenya forest, it has a variety of indigenous plants and is a migratory corridor for elephants and other wild animals to and from Mt. Kenya.
It is also favoured as a sanctuary by animals such as the elephant, rhino and buffalo, where they reside to give birth, nurse their injuries, recuperate or die. 

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