The conservation issues in and around our protected areas are getting more and more complex. In the Maasai Mara, the community members have been made aware of the importance and need for conserving their biodiversity. However, socio-economic (cultural) issues, among others, are still a major challenge to conservation interventions.
According to the traditional Maasai culture, aboy (moran) must kill a lion as part of rites of passage to manhood. In recent times, the practice of morans killing wild animals has greatly reduced, but not completely. Over the past few weeks, there have been rumors of morans having killed a lion and a few confirmed cases of animals killed with poisoned arrows.
For sustainable conservation, we should maintain our efforts, especially to try and change the attitude of people.
A sustainable project:
The AKTF have been working with communities in the Maasai Mara to establish and institute sustainable interventions to human wildlife conflicts. A participatory assessment of the cases was done involving the communities and the AKTF team. It was noted that most predation cases took place when livestock was in the stockades. To mitigate this, the AKTF and the community members agreed to try wildlife proof bomas. A simple technique of fortifying the bomas with chain link fencing wire was suggested. Through the generous support from Anne K. Taylor, the director of the fund, communities received a few wires to try. The trials were very successful with all the bomas showing no predation incidences at all.
The project grew bigger with subsequent phases. Most community members were willing to install the fortifying wires. The project received more support from National Geographic “Big Cats Initiative” to continue and expand the project. So far, more than 200 households in Transmara and Narok districts have received the support and put up wildlife proof animal stockades (bomas). More than 900 rolls of 18M by 8ft wire have been given to the pastoralists in the area. This is not a complete donation like many donor funded projects. It is a partnership between the community and the AKTF. The communities contribute 50% of the wire costs, pay 100% of the construction costs and AKTF pays 50% of the wire costs and 100% transport costs to the Maasai mara. This has been a successful project considering all the challenges of working with a rural Maasai community.
Now there is a huge demand for wire from the remaining community members. Some members have even decided to go it on their own in financing full costs. There has been a reduction of human wildlife cases and people have started appreciating wildlife even more.