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Location Kenya, Central Province
Central coordinates 36o 24.00' East  0o 35.00' North
IBA criteria A1
Area 90,000 ha
Altitude 1,260 - 2,400m
Year of IBA assessment 2014


Summary Ol Ari Nyiro (OAN) which was also called Laikipia Nature Conservancy (LNC) stands out among other conservation areas in the greater Laikipia region for two main reasons. First, it remains the largest privately protected area in the area covering 400 km2, encompassing the most diverse habitat types from grass lands, high forest to riverine vegetation. Secondly, its the only conservancy in Laikipia without livestock, exclusively dedicated to nature conservation following the complete eradication of cattle ranching in 1998. A remarkable improvement in biodiversity richness has been witnessed since then, with significant increase in vegetation cover.

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.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus resident  2008-2014  50-249 individuals  good  A1  Endangered 
Rüppell's Vulture Gyps rueppelli resident  2008-2014  50-249 individuals  good  A1  Critically Endangered 
Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus resident  2008-2014  50-249 individuals  good  A1  Near Threatened 
Martial Eagle Polemaetus bellicosus resident  2008-2014  < 50 individuals  good  A1  Vulnerable 
Hooded Vulture Necrosyrtes monachus resident  2008-2014  < 50 individuals  good  A1  Critically Endangered 
White-backed Vulture Gyps africanus resident  2008-2014  50-249 individuals  good  A1  Critically Endangered 
White-headed Vulture Trigonoceps occipitalis resident  2008-2014  50-249 individuals  good  A1  Critically Endangered 
Bateleur Terathopius ecaudatus resident  2008-2014  < 50 individuals  good  A1  Near Threatened 
Denham's Bustard Neotis denhami resident  2008-2014  250-999 individuals  good  A1  Near Threatened 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Ol Ari Nyiro Ranch Private Reserve 41,115 protected area contained by site 41,115  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Caves and subterranean habitats (non-aquatic) Caves  2%
Grassland Grassland - montane  8%
Forest Woodland - mixed; Woodland - riparian  10%
Shrubland Bushland & thicket - evergreen; Bushland & thicket - montane; Scrub - woodland; Shrubland - Montane  72%
Wetlands (inland) Artificial wetlands; Rivers & streams  8%

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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research 90%

Protection status Its the largest privately protected area in Laikipia. 

Though the surrounding landscape is highly degraded.

Acknowledgements National Museums of Kenya especially the Directorate of Research and Collection and Collections and the Gallmann Memorial Foundation


  1. Fourth Biodiversity Assessment Report of Olari Nyino, Northern Kenya.

  1. Check-list of Vertebrates of Ol Ari Nyiro, Laikipia Nature Conservancy-Western Laikipia, Northern Kenya-East Africa. April 2012.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Ol Ari Nyiro. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife