The Ol Pejeta Conservancy is a 360 km 2 (140 sq mi) not-for-profit wildlife conservancy in Central Kenya's Laikipia County . Situated on the equator west of Nanyuki , between the foothills of the Aberdares and Mount Kenya. The Ol Pejeta Conservancy works to conserve wildlife, provide a sanctuary for great apes and to generate income through wildlife tourism and complementary enterprises for re-investment in conservation and community development.
The Conservancy boasts the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa , and in 2013 reached a population milestone of 100 black rhino. It also houses the two remaining
northern white rhino in the world, who were moved here from Dvůr Králové Zoo in the
Czech Republic. The Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary is situated here, and provides a haven for orphaned, abandoned and rescued chimpanzees. It is the only place in Kenya where these great apes can be seen. The Conservancy is host to the " Big five game " among a large selection of other African animals, which makes it a popular safari destination. It also operates a successful livestock program, which serves to benefit local pastoralists and wildlife. Through the conservancy's community development programme, Ol Pejeta provides funding to surrounding communities to aid health, education, water and infrastructure projects. They also support the provision of agriculture and livestock extension services and the development of community-based conservation tourism ventures.
During the colonial era, the Laikipia Plateau was used as an extensive cattle ranching area. Lacking the rainfall required to successfully cultivate crops, cattle ranching was seen as the next best way to utilise the land. In the past, wildlife was perceived as having little or no value to landowners.
John and Jane Kenyon took over the management of Ol Pejeta in 1949 when it was owned by Lord Delamere and together they spent the next 15 years developing the ranch. When the Kenyons first took on Ol Pejeta, they were joined by Delemere's school friend and business partner, Marcus Wickham Boynton. Together they organised the then 230 km 2 (57,000-acre) ranch into a successful beef producing company. Over the next few years they expanded the farm to cover an estimated 360 km 2 (90,000 acres). The Kenyons left Ol Pejeta for a year in 1958, then returned for a further ten years, before finally retiring to run their own cattle ranch to the north. Since then, the ranch has had a number of owners, all entrepreneurs in their own right. They included Marcus Wickham Boynton, Adnan Khashoggi, a billionaire arms-dealer and businessman considered one of the richest men in the world in the early 1980s.
Over time, cattle ranching became less and less profitable. Elephant populations, which previously used the ranch as a transit area from the north to Mount Kenya and the
Aberdares , increasingly took up permanent residence on the property. As a result, the fences required to maximise cattle productivity were destroyed, and became impossible to maintain cost-effectively.
In the face of declining wildlife populations elsewhere and as a means to effectively utilise the land, the land has seen increasing emphasis placed upon wildlife conservation. In 1988, the Sweetwaters Game Reserve 9,700 hectares (24,000 acres) was opened by another of Ol Pejeta’s previous owners, Lonrho Africa. Primarily started as a sanctuary for the endangered black rhino , wildlife populations (including the " Big Five") have steadily increased since that time.
In 2004, the ranch and surrounding land was purchased by the UK -based conservation organisation Fauna and Flora International with the financial backing of the Arcus Foundation , a private international philanthropic organisation founded by Jon Stryker .  The land purchase was wholly funded by a $15 million donation from the Arcus Foundation , which worked in tandem with FFI and the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy to secure the 360 km 2 (90,000 acres) of open Savannah grassland and convert it to a national land trust.  The
Arcus Foundation also gave $12 million to fund capital and institutional development costs at the conservancy, which allowed Ol Pejeta Conservancy to fulfill its business model as a Kenyan-owned operation benefiting local community development and economic growth in addition to its impact on conservation. 
All members of the " Big five game " ( lion , Cape buffalo , African elephant , leopard and
rhinoceros ) can be found on the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. Both black and white rhino thrive here. In 2013, Ol Pejeta recorded the birth of its 100th black rhino. This means the Conservancy is now a "Key 1" black rhino population on the IUCN African Rhino Specialist Group categorization. It is one of only eight sanctuaries in Africa with this distinction.
Other rare animals that can be found on Ol Pejeta include the endangered African wild dog , oryx , Jackson’s hartebeest , Grevy’s zebra ,
serval , cheetah and bat-eared fox . The more common African wildlife can, of course, be found here too, including giraffes, vervet monkeys , baboons , hippos , impala , eland,
Grant's gazelle, dik-dik , plains zebra , silver backed jackal , hyena. There are also over 300 bird species on the Conservancy.
All animals are free to move in and out of the Conservancy by way of specially constructed "game corridors" that only restrict the movement of rhinos. Knee-high posts in the ground, situated very close together, present no challenge for elephant, antelope and carnivores, who are easily able to jump or step over. Rhinos, however, are unable to do this, and as a result are restricted from moving into areas where they are in danger of being slaughtered for their horn.