June has been another great month of wildlife sightings at Segera. The removal of many miles of redundant fencing before the Retreat was opened has in turn revived ancient migratory routes, and the herds have been quick to take advantage of this. In their wake have come Africa’s iconic predators, and we continue to enjoy wonderful sightings of lion, leopard and cheetah.
Davey of Segera
Segera and Zeitz Foundation are collaborating with Mpala Wildlife Research Centre on lion conservation throughout Laikipia. Our research aims to measure the impact of lions on endangered Grevy's zebra and other declining ungulates in Laikipia, and to produce a teaching curriculum that engages schoolchildren in the dynamics of predator-prey relationships. Our research will improve our understanding of wildlife trends and help manage the competing needs of predators, prey, pastoralists and ecotourism. Equally importantly, we hope to encourage positive attitudes towards lions and other predators amongst Kenyan children.
In early June, some Segera guests met with lion researcher Dr Laurence Frank, who is the Project Director of Living With Lions. Dr Frank, a research associate at the University of California, Berkeley, since 1984, has studied predators in Kenya for 40 years, including 20 years studying the behavioural ecology and endocrinology of the spotted hyaena, before turning to conservation research.
Through Dr Frank, an incredible opportunity arose that enabled these Segera guests to follow him in the field and witness the collaring of a male lion – one of four dominant brothers that the Segera conservation unit has been monitoring over the past three years. Subsequently nicknamed after one of the guests, data on “Davey’s” movements is now captured on a daily basis and his kill sightings can be analysed and reviewed by both research team and the Segera guides.
One of Segera’s conservation clips, which provides more information about the lion population study and the collaring of a female lioness in 2014, is available to view here: https://vimeo.com/97913037
Sweet like Laikipia honey
Laikipia Honey is understandably popular, famed beyond the boundaries of Kenya for its incredible flavour and scent. Community beekeeping initiatives provide an alternative source of income and help preserve traditional skills. They also help to conserve the environment, as trees holding bee-hives are less likely to be cut down and burned for fuel. Segera and the Zeitz Foundation offer business management training and market access to enable community members in Laikipia to establish sustainable commercial honey production enterprises. This not only helps Kenya’s environmental conservation, but also improves local livelihoods.
Some of our neighbouring ranches are also working to continue the tradition of beekeeping. Due to Laikipia’s diverse landscapes and ecosystem, the different honeys vary greatly in taste, colour and scent. Pollen collected from different types of acacias, flowers and herbs, plus individual honey-harvesting practices, make for a diverse variety of distinctive Laikipia honeys. Segera’s culinary team is currently collecting these honeys in order to provide our guests with a selection of beautiful flavours. We’re all familiar with wine and cheese tastings, but have you ever considered having a honey tasting? Come to Segera and enjoy the Greater Segera honeys!