Slowly slowly Laikipia is rebuilding… both the ranches and smallholder farmers have been busy with crops and the County Government, together with the Police have worked extremely hard to stabilize the area and our lives are slowly returning to ‘normal’ !!
Here, on Kifuku, we have had no incidences of illegal grazing for a while. Although, relatively big herds of livestock are close by grazing illegally on Lombara. Over the last +/- 8 weeks we have had a couple of incidences of neighboring staff being threatened and shots fired over their houses, but thankfully nothing more serious. With each full moon, and Christmas approaching, incidences of stock theft have increased on the small holders around us but all our security teams are still on high alert. We are still constantly patrolling both the boundary and internally as well as keeping up with training and improving the security.
Almost all our cattle are back on the farm and looking good. There is lots of weaning and branding going on to catch up with from while the herds were off the farm. We seem to have almost controlled the ECF outbreak but are still spraying all the cattle every 4 days to try get rid of the ticks which are inevitable as we graze the new grass.
With our perimeter electric fence vandalised beyond immediate repair, the elephants have had a field day… with well over 100 elephants spending time on Kifuku As a result, a lot of our Eucalyptus plantation as well as indigenous trees have been damaged. The elephants have also been crop raiding at night on the small holder farmers in the area which has caused big issues but we hope with time they will return further north.
An elephant-proof short electric fence is almost complete around the land below the big dam. A huge ‘first’ for us on Kifuku has been to cut and bale some of our grass and we hope to expand this aspect – very exciting to be able to store the grass and watch the next cut grow!
We still have a huge amount of rebuilding to do- boreholes to repair and recommision, houses to rebuild and repair and adapt to new ways and hopefully soon the crop land will be securely fence and replanted.
It has been an a crazy time but we are stronger and maybe wiser, but importantly still smiling and laughing !!
Huge huge thanks are due to so many people who have helped with so much over the last year and a half – from looking after herds of cattle, bringing us supplies when we couldn’t leave, flying in to help follow stolen cattle and aerial patrol, delivering hay and cattle feed, and the huge amount of moral support – we couldn’t have done it without you and will never be able to thank you enough !
Here’s wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and hopefully 2018 will be a positive amazing year for the tourism operators, ranchers, conservancys, small holder farmers and business people putting Laikipia back on the map and in the news for good reasons.