Research & Monitoring
Rhino and Grevy's zebra monitoring
The Conservancy is broken down into blocks patrolled by field rangers who report back to the operations room on rhino and other animal sightings. These rangers report on new rhino births, territorial changes, missing rhino, injured or sick wildlife and any unusual incidents.
The Research Team monitors Lewa's Grevy's zebra population by maintaining a database on individual animals. Did you know the Grevy's rump pattern is as unique as human fingerprints? Visitors are encouraged to take pictures of the rumps to help update the database.
Foal patrol on Grevy's zebra is conducted monthly to establish the number of newborn foals and the survival rate into the juvenile and adult stages.
Lewa’s Predator Research looks to determine and monitor the movement and population dynamics of predators across the landscape, specifically lions and hyenas. The team also monitors the impact of lion and hyena predation on the endangered Grevy’s zebra and other ungulates on the Conservancy, as well as human-predator conflict in the neighbouring communities.
In order to improve the quality and biodiversity of Lewa's rangelands, the Conservancy carries out a grazing programme where herds of cattle from different communities graze on Lewa each day, and are confined to moveable holding pens at night. Having cattle graze and trample on the rank grasses helps create favourable conditions for seed germination, because of the combination of manuring, urination, and the breaking down of hard, crusty earth. Once the grass is completely grazed the pens are rotated to different areas.
The researchers’ system has proven successful. The high biomass and moribund grass on grazed blocks has gone down, and the regeneration of nutritious vegetation has attracted plains game back into the area.
Lewa conducts a game count every year, an extremely vital exercise that determines the wildlife populations' trends and patterns. The game count ascertains survival success of newborns of the various species, especially of the critically endangered Grevy's zebra foals. It also helps determine preferred habitats by different wildlife species and ecosystem balance.
Research into Diseases
There's an ongoing filariosis study on the impact, causes and distribution of the problem in white and black rhinos in Meru National Park and Lewa.