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Community wildlife sanctuary hosts unique fundraising event

Date Published: 22 Oct, 2010
Community wildlife sanctuary hosts unique fundraising event

One of the Eye Go Game Spotting teams at work in the Lumo Community Wildlife Sanctuary neighbouring Tsavo West National Park. Part of the proceeds from the edvent will be used to equip a community eye clinic in Mwatate as well as support the management of the sanctuary.

Little-known Lumo Community Wildlife Conservancy in the expansive but popular Tsavo area will from Friday, October 22, 2010 host a unique event in which participants will sight wildlife and win prizes for it. 

Riding on the feel-good mood after the first Mashujaa Day celebrations held on Wednesday, the Tsavo East National Park, Lumo Community Wildlife Sanctuary and local tourism industry players have jointly organised the first ever wildlife spotting competition dubbed ‘Eye Go Game Spotting’ (EGGS) running from Friday dawn to Saturday noon. 

Vehicles will be flagged off from the campsite at 6am on Friday and will have 30 hours (until midday Saturday) to find and photograph as many of the biodiversity indicated on the organiser’s checklist list as they can. 

The fun-cum-fundraising event is aimed at raising money to equip a local dispensary and eye clinic in Mwatate, and support the management of the Lumo Community Wildlife Sanctuary.

Competitors, their friends and fan clubs have been invited to stay in the Lumo Community Wildlife Sanctuary, one of Kenya’s least experienced yet promising community sanctuaries. Some guests will camp while others will stay at the Lion Bluff Lodge with stunning panoramic views over the golden green savannah rolling away to the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, the North and South Pare mountains and the Taita Hills. There are 12 exclusive, traditionally-built en-suite bandas from whose verandahs you can literally see wildlife, going about their daily life undisturbed.

Various entertainment activities have been lined up for children, including a kiddie pool, face-painting, kid game walk and treasure hunts.   Raffle tickets for the competition at Sh200 are still on sale at the sanctuary and Tsavo East National Park. 

The event offers families unmatched fun-filled quality time in the bush, away from the hustle and bustle of urban life.  

Participants will be involved in a competition of sighting and taking pictures of various species of wild animals and plants in teams, within the 30-hour time limit. The checklist includes animals, birds, trees, prints and turds within the sanctuary. The teams will compete in finding and photographing as many animals as possible within the prescribed time.  The more difficult the challenge, the more value in points the teams will earn. For instance a leopard is worth 100 points, a lion 70, ostrich 10 and a kongoni five.

The event has been billed as being one of its own for anyone looking for fun, socialisation, adventure and something different to do over a weekend away from the beaten safari tourist circuits.  The site of the event is 50 km from Voi Town.   

The Lumo Community Wildlife Sanctuary lies at the heart of the Tsavo ecosystem, surrounded by Tsavo East and West.  It includes Lake Jipe and the Taita Game Sanctuary. It is composed of three group ranches ( Lualenyi, Mramba and Oza), all of whom have chosen to pool their natural resources in the interest of sustaining this unique wilderness area.

The area is a vital wildlife corridor for the animals of Tsavo East and West, an ancient elephant migratory route and an important breeding site for lions. It is home to abundant and diverse wildlife species, spectacular landscapes, and enjoys the rich cultural heritage of the Taita people.
The little known 125,000 acre Lumo Community Wildlife Sanctuary is situated between the Taita hills Sanctuary and West Tsavo , only 50 km from Voi on the Taveta road.

The three group ranches joined together to form the Lumo Community Wildlife Sanctuary as a way to use natural resources on their land. By investing the earnings from tourist activities, the community plays an integral role in conserving the biodiversity of the area by fighting poaching and the bush meat trade and creating awareness of invaluable wildlife. 
The sanctuary is a model of how local people benefit from the union of conservation and enterprise in a sustainable to help to alleviate poverty and conserve wildlife for this and future generations.
For the first time local ranchers and farmers living in the area surrounding the expansive Tsavo are making choices about grazing their animals and cultivating their land taking into account impact felt as far away as 40 miles. They understand that they are part of a larger ecological system and that the health of the system directly benefits their families and communities.
Fact File on Lumo Community Wildlife Sanctuary

Altitude: 150-1,800 metres above sea level.
Area: 125,000 acres.
Year formed: 2001
Number of members: 2,250

Location: South-west Kenya, inland from the coast, 50 km from Voi town off Mombasa-Nairobi Highway.
Distance from Nairobi: 360 km south of Nairobi, 200 km North West of Mombasa
Vegetation: The area features over 1,000 plant species and a mixed habitat of bush, grasslands and acacia woodlands dotted with baobab, ivory palm, saltbush, doum palm, tamarind and fig trees.
Climate: the area has a typical savannah climate.
Fauna: lion, leopard, cheetah, serval cat, civet, bat eared fox, buffalo, giraffe, elephant, baboon, waterbuck, Coke's hartebeest, eland, gazelle, zebra, mongoose, hyrax, dik dik, porcupine, and oryx, the unusual aard-wolf, and both striped and spotted hyena
Birds: The prolific bird life features 600 recorded species.
Roads: The roads are well graded, maintained and signposted. Drivable all year with little black cotton.
Locality: The area is surrounded by the North and South Pares Mountains (70 km distant), Kasigau ( 50km) Mount Kilimanjaro (80 kms away), the West Usambara Mountains and the Taita Hills.
The landscape:  The landscape is composed of rolling savannah and remnants of ancient highland tropical rainforest.

A Vital Lion Breeding Area: The habitat includes the Mwashoti, Mwakitau and Ndola Hills and Lion Rock, all of which are important breeding sites for lion. 


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