Ol Ari Nyiro

Year of compilation: 2012

Site description
Its located on the Eastern wall of the Rift Valley, the Conservancy is the most important water catchment area for Lake Bogoria and Lake Baringo among other ecological benefits for the riparian community. Its located on the Laikipia Plateau, lying between Longitudes 36017' and 36029' E and between latitudes 00029' and 00042'N. 

OAN is part of the Eastern Afromontane Biodiversity Hot Spot.

Ol Ari Nyiro is approximately 90,000 acres, its an invaluable remnant of the diverse flora and fauna that once covered vast areas of the Laikipia Plateau and the eastern Rift valley escarpment.

The elevation is from 1260m at the base of the gorge to 2400m in the hills to the south west.The diverse topography supports vegetation from dry marginal forests to semi-arid bushland. Mean annual rainfall has been 790 mm at the conservancy headquarters. Mean yearly maximum and minimum temperatures are approximately 300c and 140C respectively.

Key biodiversity
Besides the presence of a variety of large mammals, very high species diversity of relatively inconspicuous, but equally important biota has been documented in Olari Nyiro Conservancy-comprising of 14 amphibians (i.e. frogs and toads), 55 reptiles, 477 birds, more than 800 vascular plants and 755 macro-invertebrates. Amongst these are globally endangered species of mammals and birds, including the critically endangered Wild Dog Lycaon pictus ,Cheetah, Reticulated Giraffe, Greater Kudu, African Elephant and a large population of Lions. 

Two endemic species - of a plant and an invertebrate, Aloe francombei, and Aslauga gallmannae  and one frog that is new to science- Tomopterna gallmanni have been recorded.

For more records of the Key Biodiversity-Visit the Population of species at the site.

The species inventory is not yet exhaustive as more new records are being recorded/detected. The list has been increasing whenever a new assessment is carried out. Like in the recent 2013 assessment, a total of 59 new species were recorded in the conservancy. These included 1 snake, 7  birds, 43 invertebrates, 2 fish and 6 plants. 

It offers a critical passage and wintering habitat to various species.

The findings from the recent research indicates that its still a highly pristine ecosystem and its enormous potential to contribute to sustainable development and ripple effect of improvement of livelihood in the area. The presence of some highly sensitive aquatic macro-invertebrates like the Stone fly Neoperla kunensis, Water Penny beetle Psephenus sp, and Mayfly Afronurus harrison as well as various Amphibians implied that the water quality was of the highest integrity score. 

There's a vast and remote part of the conservancy that has not been researched yet, hence more research might result in more findings being discovered. Its envisaged that more species will certainly be detected in future surveys.Thus, the already impressive species inventory has been discovered to be far from exhaustive as more new  records are still being  detected in OAN. The total list of species has steadily been increasing with each assessment conducted over the recent years.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Its exclusively dedicated to nature conservation, following the complete eradication of cattle ranching in 1998 as a long term management strategy.

The surrounding landscape is highly degraded due to high population density, leading to deforestation, introduction of  exotic species, non organic farming polluting water courses, and overgrazing by pastoralism-with the recurrent  danger of dry season bush fires.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
Since 1980 there is an active private anti-poaching team, and support  from KWS. The total removal of all cattle ranching-and of the consequent dipping and chemical treatment of livestock, since 1998 has dramatically improved bush cover and species diversity.
OAN is the home of the Gallmann Memorial Foundation, a Trust dedicated to the co-existence of people and Nature, through the protection of the environment, education, community service, the promotion of peace and poverty alleviation. All these integrated activities contribute to creating awareness in the surrounding communities to the importance of preserving the environment.

Protected areas
Its the largest privately protected area in Laikipia. 

Though the surrounding landscape is highly degraded.

Habitat and land use
The habitat includes grasslands, high forest to riverine vegetation and caves. OAN (The place of dark springs in the Maasai language) is known to be a water table for the surrounding regions. With over  sixty permanent  springs (of which some are thermal hot springs and sixty man made water rain catchments-some veritable lakes and all naturally stocked with Tilapia Nilotica, its  on the migratory fly-ways for Palaearctic and afro-tropical migrants.

The land is dedicated to Nature Conservation only.

Land ownership
Its privately owned and its  protected by private rangers and KWS.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Ol Ari Nyiro. Downloaded from on 04/07/2020.