Just as rising waters of Lake Baringo in the Great Rift Valley pose serious threats to Baringo residents by forcing thousands of people from their homes and submerging hotels, the waters are also threatening diverse species of wildlife.\u00a0 Swollen waters in Longicharo Island in Lake Baringo has resulted in the reduction of space and food for wildlife forcing the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to relocate them to the mainland of Ruko conservancy, a safer ground in a three-day operation, which started on Thursday last week. Among the rescued animals were three impalas, one giraffe, one ostrich and 11 warthogs. But it is the role that the animals play in the conservancy for the surrounding Rugus and Komolion locations that is even more intriguing. The conservancy began operations in 2006 to bring peace between two warring communities: the Pokot and the Ilchamus. For centuries, warriors from the Njemps (Ilchamus) and Pokot always fought over grazing rights and water for their livestock. The Njemps would hide in this island from the Pokot and begin fishing, an activity that was considered taboo among the Maasai community. The elders from both sides met and the conservancy was created as a sign of truce.\u00a0 The vision of the conservancy is \u2018conservation for peace\u2019 and mission to achieve resilient livelihoods, sustainable use of the land, and development for local communities. \u201cThe conservancy was created to end this war with the rangers coming from both sides of the divide to take care of the giraffes that were brought into the island in the 2007. It has transformed the livelihood of the residents by creating jobs as their income comes from the conservation fees,\u201d explains Tambo Mpakany, the conservancy accountant.\u00a0 The island can be accessed using a speedboat from Kampi Ya Samaki, a settlement on the shore of the lake. Entry charges to the conservancy are Sh500 for adults and Sh250 for children under 18 years. It has plenty of animals to view such as zebras, impalas, baboons, waterbucks, buffaloes, hippos, crocodiles and various exotic birds and smaller animals. Rothschild\u2019s giraffe It is said that numerous species of herbivores existed in the Ruko conservancy a few years back, but due to massive poaching, a large percentage of wildlife suffered a massive decline. The Rothschild\u2019s giraffe that is found in this conservancy is the most endangered sub species of giraffe in the world and it was affected the most in the conservancy. Poachers look for their skin and meat. Their tails too are hunted as they are used to make the flywhisk.\u00a0 The lake is the giraffe\u2019s security as it is difficult for poachers to access the island without being noticed. The giraffes here are fed with pellets given to them in the right proportions \u00a0 and are sprayed to prevent ticks during their feeding time. Being that giraffes are sensitive animals, they are given much attention, including being\u00a0 bathed every week, and given medicine to prevent Nagana, a livestock disease characterised by fever, lethargy, and oedema, and caused by trypanosome parasites transmitted by the tsetse fly. Vets are also brought in from time to time to check on them as the loss of one giraffe can be costly. \u201cWe are getting visitors from local, and non-locals coming to Longicharo, the giraffe island to see Rothschild\u2019s giraffe, which is an endangered species, ostriches, warthogs and impalas. We also showcase the rich culture from both the Pokot and Ilchamus communities,\u201d he adds\u00a0 In a year, they would receive a total number of 200 guests from hotels surrounding the island like Island camp, Tumbili and others. The conservancy too has great sceneries and caves, which attract torurists. In the 14 years of it\u2019s existence, the conservancy, through the assistance of Northern Rangeland Trust has created jobs and provided soft loans for the youths and women (microcredit scheme). Around 360 students have also benefited from bursaries schemes and medical assistance has also been granted to the community. It is this economic empowerment that has resulted in peace in the region. \u201cWe managed to partner with other key stake holders, KWS, hotels, county government, and national government to assist the communities. Stolen cattle can now be tracked and recovered and information on raiders can be communicated to the government,\u201d says Tambo\u00a0 This year\u2019s 2020 edition of World Tourism Day, marked on Sunday rode on the theme Tourism and Rural Development celebrating the unique role that tourism plays in providing economic opportunities outside big cities and in essence preserving cultural and natural heritage all around the world. \u201cTourism helps rural communities hold onto their unique natural and cultural heritage, supporting conservation projects, including those safeguarding endangered species, lost traditions or flavours,\u201d says Zurab Pololikashvili, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation Secretary General. Conseravtionists say Lake Baringo has expanded by 60 per cent in the past seven years and is presently 270 square kilometers wide. \u201cThe rising waters have resulted in the closure of conservancy roads as well as\u00a0 limited funding to run other programs,\u201d says Tambo.