Shompole Group Ranch lies on the floor of the Great Rift Valley at the Kenya/Tanzania border. It embraces the majestic plains, volcanic mountains and lush green wetlands of Kenya, and is bordered by Lake Magadi to the east, Lake Natron to the south, Nguruman Escarpment to the west and Olkiramatian Group Ranch to the north. This lush grassland, set amidst a semi-arid savannah, abounds with splendid wildlife and is grazed by healthy livestock. The Shompole Group Ranch is an important migratory corridor and dispersal range for wildlife species resident in the Nguruman Escarpment and Olkiramatian, including the majestic African Elephants which migrate between Shompole and Loita Hills.
The area is one of the biodiversity hot spots in the South Rift region since it lies in between greater ecosystems of international importance – Maasai Mara National Reserve and Amboseli National Park.
Lake Natron, a Ramsar Site on the other hand is home to over 2 million Lesser Flamingoes being the 3rd place globally and accounts for 25% of world’s population.
The Shompole Group Ranch was registered in 1979 under the Group Ranches Act. It is owned by the Loodokilani Maasai of Magadi Division, Kajiado District and covers an area of 62,689 hectares. The ranch consists of 2,000 registered members and over 10,000 dependants who are mainly pastoralists.
With a low rainfall of below 500mm per year, most of the ecosystem is unsuitable for cultivation, but an ideal habitat for biodiversity conservation.
The 25 000 acres (10,000 ha) Wildlife Conservancy run by the community still remains a management challenge. Game Scouts are vital to wildlife conservation in the Shompole Group Ranch. They control the movement of the local communities cattle, and ensure that no poachers come into the area. In the last three years 100,000 elephants have been killed by poachers in the whole of Africa. In the same period Shompole has lost only one elephant to armed poachers.
It is quite an achievement and it’s very important for the game scouts to continue patrolling the area.
Mwitu na Watu has been paying the salaries of two rangers and will continue this funding.