Ian Craig, Strategic Advisor of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy & the Northern Rangelands Trust
The Amazing Success Story of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya
October 02, 2008
Ian Craig is world renowned for his work in creating and directing The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy www.lewa.org, both for Lewa's phenomenal conservation achievements and its community development success. Lewa is the leading sanctuary for black rhinos and Grevy’s zebra in east Africa, and provides a secure environment for a host of other endangered or threatened species. The Conservancy is also famous for its provision of health clinics, schools, and water supplies, and for providing advisory assistance in agriculture, livestock management and reforestation to its surrounding communities.
The Lewa model’s phenomenal success in integrated conservation and community development has been adopted by the recently created 90,000+ acre Ol Pejeta Conservancy (Lewa now manages this conservancy), and by the 15 communities that have created their own conservancies in forming the 1.5 million acre Northern Rangelands Trust in the large region to the north and west of Lewa (see below).
During the past year, Ian was nominated for the Indianapolis Prize (awarded to the world's leading conservationist) and for the King Baudouin International Development Prize (for contribution to development in the southern hemisphere).
Additional Background Ian’s involvement with communities goes back thirty years and comes from a common background in livestock management and an unrivalled passion for Kenya, its people and wildlife.
After completing secondary school in Ireland, Ian Craig returned to Kenya to manage the family cattle ranch until the Ngare Sergoi rhino sanctuary was established on Lewa in the early 1980s, at which time he took over all aspects of wildlife management and conservation.
In 1995, when the entire ranch became The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (Lewa), Ian became the Executive Director. In early 2004, Ian pioneered the establishment of the Northern Rangelands Trust, the community led initiative that develops the capacity and self sufficiency of its constituent members in Northern Kenya in the areas of biodiversity conservation, natural resource management and natural resource-based enterprises.
Ian served as Lewa’s Executive Director until early 2008. In the spring 2008, Ian became the Strategic Advisor to Lewa, the Northern Rangelands Trust and to Ol Pejeta.
Ian is a very experienced pilot with over 6,500 flying hours and carries out all the radio-tracking and aerial surveillance of wildlife within Lewa, and the community conservation areas north of Lewa.
As an honorary warden, Ian also undertakes all veterinary aspects of wildlife capture and treatment in conjunction with the Kenya Wildlife Service. He received formal training in the capture and immobilization of wildlife in Zimbabwe.