Fuzz Dyer is not only one of the founders and Directors of The Safari & Conservation Company (SCC) but also a third generation Kenyan whose family have been living and working in Kenya for over 100 years – the Dyer’s passion and dedication to conservation can be seen on the highly successful Borana Conservancy. Fuzz spend 19 years, previous to his role as advisor at the Northern Rangeland Trust – Coastal Region, creating the Ngare Sergoi Rhino Sanctuary, now known as Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. This sanctuary collected the final rhinos left living in remote areas of Northern Kenya and allowed them co-exist in peace, allowing for them to thrive in a safe environment and eventually breed. Fuzz is also the co-owner and manager of Manda Bay is Lamu, as well being an excellent bush pilot.
As a thank you for your time today, SCC will be making a donation to NRT to protect Big Cats in Kenya for future generations, in Fuzz’s name. If you want to do the same, donate through SCC website here.
Question 1: Fuzz, you have been involved in conservation projects your whole life. How did you first become interested in conservation? What is your proudest achievement in the field of conservation?
Fuzz: I am very privileged to have grown up in North Kenya, surrounded by wildlife and pristine habitat. From a child I have always been keen to help preserve this; my first real job was building The Ngare Sergoi Rhino Sanctuary. I am very proud of the fact that I have been a part of the success of taking the Ngare Serigoi Rhino Sanctuary from its inception to formation of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. More recently, I played a very active role in the amalgamation of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Borana Conservancy [Fuzz’s family home] and the Ngare Ndare Forest, making it one of the most successful conservation initiatives in Africa.
Question 2: You are and advisor for Norther Rangeland Trust – Coast Region. What work does NRT – Coast Region do to help communities and wildlife in the region?
Fuzz: NRT-Coast has seven member conservancies in this region, in a landscape that is an important biodiversity hotspot with dozens of globally endangered animals and plants, one of the most intact forest ecosystems still remaining in East Africa, 60% of Kenya’s mangroves, as well as coastal wetlands, coral reefs and beaches. Despite its biodiversity importance, this region has received little conservation investment and the role of local communities in managing and protecting these resources has been overlooked.
Community Conservancies are relatively new to this region, the first having been established by NRT in 2007. Significant and long-term investment into these conservancies, however, has been difficult to secure largely due to insecurity, which has plagued the region for decades, and has been heightened since 2011, due to its proximity to Somalia. However, NRT is committed to supporting and developing these conservancies as a proven approach to bringing peace and stability, good conservation, economic and social development that has been demonstrated elsewhere in Kenya.
Question 3: Most people will think that the NRT – Coast Region’s work consists completely of marine work; however this is not the case. Tell us more about the coastal conservancies that are under NRT protection?
Fuzz: The NRT – Coastal landscape covers parts of Lamu, Tana River and Garissa Counties. It includes the northern part of the East African Coastal Forest complex, an area considered one of the world’s top 25 biodiversity hotspots. The landscape includes the indigenous dry coastal forests, adjacent forest-grassland mosaic, wetlands, estuaries and coastal swamps, mangroves, beaches and coral reef ecosystems; a diverse, vast habitats that continue to support high numbers of wildlife, birds and marine animals. Some of the wildlife in these conservancies are extremely rare and endangered such as the Hirola Antelope, the Tana River Red Colobus and Tana Mangabey monkey.
Question 4: We have discussed how some of Kenya’s most rare animals can be found in the coastal conservancies, including the Ishaqbini Hirola, but also leopards, cheetahs and lions. How do these Big Cats fare in these environments? What are the kind of threats do they face?
Fuzz: For the most part the Big Cats, especially lion and leopard, are thriving in the costal conservancies. However, in the areas that we have a lot of cattle, owned by nomadic pastoralists who live in the region, they do come under pressure from the human-wildlife conflict, especially if these Big Cats start killing livestock. In recent times, just like all over other parts of Africa, we do have incidence of poisoning and shooting.
Question 5: What can visitors to Kenya do to protect and support Big Cats in these hard to reach regions of the world?
Fuzz: Some of the conservancies in the Coastal Region are not on the tourist circuit at the moment due to inaccessibility and security, although we hope this will change in time. However, it is possible to do a scenic flight over the conservancies, which I often do for guests. It is all about supporting organisations, like NRT, who are able to operate in these hard to reach areas. NRT is entirely dependent on the goodwill of individuals and organisations to keep working on these important projects.
Thank you Fuzz for your time and insight into the fascinating region of Kenya, that so few visitors get to see or hear about!
As a thank you for your time today, SCC will be making a donation to NRT to protect Big Cats in Kenya for future generations, in Fuzz’s name.
Feeling inspired by Fuzz, the work of NRT and want to learn more about how you can protect and conserve Kenya’s most marginalised Big Cats? SCC can organise a scenic flight, with Fuzz as your pilot, from Manda Bay, in Lamu, which Fuzz is co-owner and manager of, to see the coastal conservancies that come under NRT – Coastal Region, such as Pate, Kiunga, Awer, Lower Tana Delta, Ishaqbini, Hanshak-Nyongoro and Ndera. You can also donate to NRT via the SCC website here.