Grevy's zebras in the morning light. Photo by Margaret Kinnaird
Mpala lies beneath the shadow of Mt. Kenya, in the center of Laikipia County. It is home to nearly 7,000 elephants, the world’s 4th largest African wild dog population, and the globally endangered Grevy’s zebra. These large populations of wildlife mingle alongside herds of livestock as they traverse between private and pastoralist ranches.
Within its 200 km2 of unfenced landscape, Mpala incorporates cattle ranching, wildlife, and research all in one. The Mpala Research Centre (MRC) receives hundreds of students, educators, and scientists from around the globe each year, conducting research on everything from parasites to elephants. The unique set up of Mpala allows for researchers to use the land as a ‘living laboratory’ in which to conduct experiments and answer pressing questions on conservation and wildlife.
Mpala is also strongly committed to using this research to benefit the surrounding communities, the nation of Kenya, and global conservation efforts as a whole. Mpala hosts multiple educational outreach programs in order to tackle issues of human-wildlife conflict and thus ensure that both conservation and human-livelihood goals are met. Furthermore, Kenya actively supports the involvement of Kenyan nationals in this process, as Kenyan scientists have become an increasingly vital part of the research conducted at Mpala.
The Mpala properties were purchased by Sam Small in 1952 and bequeathed to his brother George in 1969. George Small focused his energies and resources on conserving the habitats and wildlife of Mpala and providing healthy livelihoods for Mpala’s employees and families. In 1989 George created the Mpala Wildlife Foundation and the Mpala Research Trust to fund the activities necessary to achieve his vision.
In accordance with George Small’s mission, the Foundation supports the wildlife conservancy, a primary school for employee’s children, a community outreach program which includes the Mpala Mobile Clinic, as well as a working cattle ranch that successfully coexists with an abundance of wildlife. The Foundation contributes to the Mpala Research Trust that supports and directs the Mpala Research Centre, a well respected, international research facility located on the Mpala property.
Sam Small - Image provided by MWF
George Small - Image provided by MWF