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The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and Ngare Ndare Forest Are Designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site

June 26, 2013

Thursday, June 27, 2013
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International Recognition for Northern Kenya’s Iconic Wildlife and the Landscapes They Inhabit

The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and Ngare Ndare Forest Are Designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site

(Isiolo, Kenya) – The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and the Ngare Ndare Forest Trust in Kenya are honoured to announce their recent inclusion to the Mount Kenya UNESCO World Heritage Site. Under this unique designation, Lewa and Ngare Ndare are joining other famous international ecological and cultural treasures such as the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef, the Galápagos Islands, the Taj Mahal, Fort Jesus, Lamu Old Town,the Grand Canyon and the Acropolis.

World Heritage status is a prestigious recognition for places of outstanding universal value to humanity that, as such, have been inscribed on the list to be protected for future generations to appreciate and enjoy. The World Heritage Committee considered Lewa and Ngare Ndare Forest for their outstanding natural beauty, as well as their varied and impressive ecosystems and biodiversity. 

Lewa and Ngare Ndare Forest are connected to Mount Kenya via the pioneering elephant corridor that serves as a route for landscape connectivity,stretching from the mountain through Lewa and onwards north into the wide expanse of Samburu region.The groundbreaking corridor was made famous two years ago when a bull elephant named Tony was the first of his species to use a man-made highway underpass.  Now this underpass is used every year by hundreds of pachyderms, along with a range of other species of Kenyan wildlife, as they follow the corridor along this historical migration route. 

Lewa and Ngare Ndare Forest Trust work closely as partner organisations, committed to effective and sustainable management, and sharing security forces to protect the threatened elephant and rhino that move freely between the two areas.  The Kenyan government, who submitted the nomination for UNESCO’s consideration, is also closely involved in these conservation efforts through the offices of the Kenya Wildlife and Kenya Forest Services.

It is the hope of all involved that the resulting prestige of joining the World Heritage list will raise awareness and generate international recognition, promoting local and national pride and commitment to the perpetuation of conservation in these iconic areas. It is Lewa’s fervent belief that the World Heritage Site status will raise already high levels of national and overseas tourism, creating employment opportunities and income for local communities; as well as positive international involvement in habitat and species management, and sustainable social development for local communities. 

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Founded in 1995, the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy spans 61,000 acres and serves as catalyst for conservation across northern Kenya. Lewa holds 11% of Kenya’s black rhino population and 20% of the world’s Grevy’s zebras.  Through the protection and management of endangered species, the initiation and support of community conservation and development programmes, and the education of neighbouring communities in the value of wildlife, Lewa has become a model in Kenya for wildlife conservation on private land, a favoured destination for low impact tourism, and a leading catalyst for development centric conservation in northern Kenya. The Conservancy is also home to the Northern Rangelands Trust, an innovative community conservation partnership whereupwards of 25 communities, spanning over three million acres of land to the north of Lewa, have embraced wildlife conservation as part of their vision for development of the people and land on which they live. Visit  

Ngare Ndare Forest Trust is a small but highly effective organization comprised of local stakeholders whose primary goal is to ensure the survival of the 5,300-hectare indigenous Ngare Ndare Forest. The Trust was officially registered in December 2001 with the assistance of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and today proudly stands on its own, having made remarkable achievements in the forest’s conservation. Since the Trust’s founding the forest canopy has increased,, utilization of the forest’s resource by the local community is now planned with a strong emphasis on sustainability and wildlife numbers remain stable and secure.