Exploring Ol Pajeta Conservancy, Kenya (Part 1)

In cased you missed it, please refer to my previous blog about Ol Pajeta titled, The Rhinos Of Ol Pajeta Conservancy, Kenya.

A Brief History

Ol Pajeta Conservancy is a great wildlife conservation story.  It is a former cattle ranch established in the 1940s and later converted to a wildlife sanctuary.  Ownership of the ranch changed several times over the years, before it was converted to a sanctuary in 1988.   In subsequent years the sanctuary was expanded to over 90,000 acres.  In 2003, the sanctuary was purchased by Fauna and Flora International with the help of benefactors.  It operates as a non-profit and relies on donations and tourism to help cover operational costs.

About The Sanctuary

They have a population of over 100 black rhinoceros, and the last two living northern white rhinoceros in existence.  They have the entire ‘big five’ animals, which includes elephants, rhinoceros, leopards, buffalo, and lions.  In addition, they have impala, Thompson’s gazelle, hartebeest, hippos, waterbuck, jackal, among other mammals. Also, they have a dozens of species of birds, including my favorite the crowned crane.

In this post we’ll explore what I discovered at Ol Pajeta in addition to its wonderful rhinoceros conservation efforts.  Unfortunately, we didn’t see any lions or leopards this time.  When going on a wildlife safari, it’s important to realize that you are not going to a zoo.  What you see in terms of wildlife is completely random, which is the way it should be.

This male olive baboon is just hanging out on this sign for a nearby bridge. The bridge crosses a ravine to the more remote areas of the park. The sign states the maximum capacity for the bridge, and warns elephants to only cross two at a time. It’s a good thing elephants know how to read!

Another female olive baboon passes by along with her baby. Baboons are plentiful in the park, and were actually the first animal we saw upon passing through the gate. I rather like baboons with their deep set eyes and great cheekbones.

Ol Pajeta is also home to the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary, which was established in 1993. None of the resident chimpanzees are native to Kenya. Many chimpanzees were transferred from a sanctuary in Burundi which was closed due to the civil war there. The sanctuary continues to accept chimps rescued from many situations, including former pets and victims of abuse.

The sanctuary has two family groups that are kept separate. New additions are socialized in an attempt to determine which family group they fit best. We came upon this particular male just hanging out in a tree, munching on some leaves.

We watched him for a few minutes before he decided to relocate.

He found a spot to sit down and started assuming all kinds of entertaining poses.

Ol Pajeta is home to two types of zebra, the plains zebra(pictured here), and Grevy’s zebra. Grevy’s zebra have narrower stripes which do not wrap around their white bellies. Grevy’s zebra are endangered, and the park has a specific predator-free zone to help preserve their numbers.

A plains zebra passes behind this sign marking the equator. As you may have guessed, Ol Pajeta Conservancy sits right on the equator, which is the imaginary horizontal line between the earth’s two poles.

A bachelor group of impala grazing. Single males form these groups because herd of females are controlled by a single male. This bachelor groups practice their fighting skills in the hope of some day taking control of a group of females.

A male impala(center), and a couple of females are interspersed with some plains zebra. You will often see different grazing animals close together, as they instinctively know the others are not a threat. This includes some naturally aggressive animals like cape buffalo and hippos.

Thanks for dropping by!   Please consider donating to Ol Pajeta Conservancy to help support the preservation of these magnificent animals.  I hope that you enjoyed my travel photos and commentary, and will return for more travel content in the future.

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