The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (also known as Lewa Downs) is located in central Kenya, south of Isiolo town, north of Mount Kenya. Formed in 1995 from land that was once a cattle ranch, Lewa is a unique wildlife sanctuary incorporating the Ngare Ndare Forest and covering over 62,000 acres. The Conservancy is home to a wide variety of wildlife including the rare and endangered black rhino, Grevy’s zebra and sitatunga. It also includes the white rhino and the rest of the big five (lion, leopard, elephant and Cape buffalo). In fact, Lewa holds over 12% of Kenya’s black rhino population and the largest single population of Grevy’s zebras in the world with over 350 individuals. The area provides a rich wildlife safari experience and incredible views of the famous Mnt. Kilimanjaro.
In late June 2013, the World Heritage Committee extended the boundaries of the Mount Kenya World Heritage Site to include Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and Ngare Ndare Forest . Through this proud designation, Lewa and Ngare Ndare joined other famous international natural and cultural treasures such as the Great Barrier Reef, the Galápagos Islands, the Great Rift Valley Lakes and the Taj Mahal. The site continues to be known as the Mount Kenya National Park/Natural Forest to allow for future nominations beyond Lewa’s boundaries to also be included.
The Conservancy is also home to the Northern Rangelands Trust, an innovative partnership with a number of communities to the north who have given land for the preservation of wildlife. Lewa has its own education program that helps develop schools and students.
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