The Covid Effect on Conservation19/01/2021
“Borana Conservancy is built upon a unique sustainable conservation funding model that relies on a combination of visitors paying conservation fees and a shareholder commitment to underwrite budgeted short falls for conservation costs. The shareholders share a commitment and commonality of purpose and the overall objectives are to secure Borana Conservancy’s natural capital in perpetuity, ensure that Borana acts as a stabilising influence within the wider landscape and secure support locally nationally and internationally. Borana is also alongside Lewa a catalyst for expanding connected wilderness areas and with Northern Rangelands Trust we now nurture over 42,000 sq km of habitat. Borana Lodge is a member of The Long Run a global organisation who collectively preserve over 5 million Ha of land and marine based ecosystems and tourism is the principal economic driver supporting our collective endvours.
Our wildlife product on Borana and Lewa is becoming year on year more extraordinary and more diverse, in fact Laikipia hosts more biodiversity than anywhere on the planet. We have launched the work on attaining UNESCO World Heritage Site Status and we will continue to pursue the highest standards in green listing etc.
It can be argued that there is a feel good factor to making a more significant contribution to the maintenance of the underlying natural capital. Provided of course the fees charged are transparently accounted for and the positive impact on biodiversity, in our case land based, but can be marine based, along with communities is highlighted to suppliers, guests and staff through a media platform that is clearly understood.
The travel industry and indeed all of humanity need to urgently recognise that it is our integration with nature that will enable or prevent future pandemics. Every recent pandemic or event has been a result of misguided and exploitive interactions with nature from Ebola to Covid 19 and many other infectious diseases in between.
So perhaps it should be our belief, and hopefully the belief many others will and should share, that a steady increase in investment in protecting natural capital should become the new normal and we should celebrate higher contributions to this effort. If recent events become a reason for cheapening the product and contributing less to the costs of conservation, then we have as a species learned nothing.
2021 gets off to a shaky start with new variations of Covid -19 but of course conservation never stops and indeed we have so much to be grateful for here in East Africa, where early restrictions on travel and social interactions have also ensured that we currently enjoy more freedom. In 2021 we will launch a new project the Africa Range Lands Management and Leadership school. Along with a new landscape level management company Africa Nature Investors providing management support to ecologically distressed landscapes. ”
Michael Dyer, Director of Borana Conservancy
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