Continuing her blogging from the field, in the Maasai Mara in Kenya, National Geographic Big Cats Initiative grantee Anne Kent Taylor reports that to date some two hundred livestock enclosures have been fenced against predators–and thusfar there has not been a single report of a protected animal taken by a big cat.
“This is so exciting for me to report, as the lions are now so much safer from revenge killings and the livestock owners are not suffering from their terrible losses to predation, which are financially and emotionally devastating,” she writes.
By Anne Kent Taylor
From the Field in Kenya’s Maasai Mara–The livestock enclosure “boma” project is progressing very well. As word of the success of this project spreads, so demand for the chain link wire increases.
For those who are unfamiliar with this project, we fortify existing Maasai livestock enclosures (bomas) with chain-link to prevent predation, which has been 100 percent successful to date.
Maasai elder building his boma.
Photo by Marc Goss
In mid-September, the AKTF/CFTW team leader, Elias, drove to the Mara accompanied by Eddie, an intern to Dr. Mordecai Ogada, Zoological Society of London/Wildlife Conservation Society, whose particular specialty is human/carnivore conflict. Accompanied by our team, he spent two weeks gathering data from all the protected bomas. Once this data has been entered and analysed it will be very interesting and I will share it.
I also had 150 more rolls of chain link delivered to the Mara, purchased at a very competitive rate (for which I am grateful!) from my source in Nairobi, Chetan Solanki, of Packhard Ltd, who helps me tremendously in ordering the goods and loading the lorries when I am out of the country.
Local Kenyan Support
It works like clockwork, with lorry owner Mr. Njenga from Trucker Enterprises, allowing me a special rate to drive the chain-link to the Mara (no mean feat as the roads are atrocious). He has it delivered to as many bomas as
possible. This kind of collaboration is heart-warming. It is wonderful to know that so many local Kenyans are supportive of our efforts to conserve the wildlife.
Fifty rolls, making a total of 102 to date, were delivered to the Mara North Conservancy, to assist them in protecting the bomas in this high-risk area.
Big Cats Initiative Grant
Grantee: Anne Kent Taylor
Project: Construction of predator proof livestock enclosures in prime big cat habitats in Kenya’s Maasai Mara region
Geographical Area Served: Africa\Kenya\Maasai Mara National Reserve
Field Work: 7/14/2010 – 7/11/2011
Project Description: Big cat populations in East Africa are crashing due to retaliatory killings by pastoralists. In the Maasai Mara, the problem threatens one of Africa’s most famous and important lion populations as pastoralists are increasingly intolerant of livestock predation. This project expands an existing successful project in the Mara that has effectively reduced human/lion conflict by preventing predation through securing livestock enclosures.
Mara Rianda, which is a small town within the boundaries of that Conservancy, is growing, and as it does, the incidents of human/wildlife conflict increase accordingly. Marc Goss, who manages the Mara North Conservancy, tells me that they have now secured 30 bomas and that more and more Maasai want to be involved in the project,which is in partnership with the Maasai livestock owners.
The Maasai and AKTF, with support from National Geographic, split the cost of the chain link 50-50. The Maasai provide the labour to install these fences and we provide the transport from Nairobi. It is a great collaboration!
The Mara North Conservancy had three predations this month in unprotected bomas, but only one by lion, which occurred outside the boma, which is very hard to control.
While the herds are always accompanied by a boy herder, conflict cannot often be avoided as the cattle press further and further into the Mara Reserve in search of grazing or water.
Marc too, is currently mapping the last few bomas, which will be interesting when completed.
A hundred rolls were delivered to our main area of operation in the TransMara and were accounted for and delivered within a day–with huge demand for more wire by others who have not yet received it. We work diligently from the lists we compiled, taking into account the level of predation in any given area.
Click here to find out more about the Big Cats Intiative.
Photo compilation courtesy of Beverly and Dereck Joubert
I have received no further reports of predation from any of the protected bomas.
This is so exciting for me to report as the lions are now so much safer from revenge killings and the livestock owners are not suffering from their terrible losses to predation, which are financially and emotionally devastating.
Long may it continue and my thanks go to National Geographic and our other supporters who allow us to do this important work.
I will be heading back to Kenya in late November and I am anxious to follow up to see how far we have come with the boma protection–I believe that about 200 cattle, sheep and goat enclosures have now been protected.
Anne Kent Taylor was born and raised in East Africa. Several months a year she resides in the Maasai Mara. During four decades working in the safari business, she has seen growing pressures on wildlife. With the increase of human settlements around the Mara reserve, predator-livestock conflicts have grown in the Maasai bomas (traditional enclosures). Through partnership with the Maasai in community projects and fortifying existing bomas with simple methods of natural and wire fencing, the Anne K Taylor Fund has had a 100 percent success rate at preventing livestock predation and the resultant revenge killings of predators. Anne’s conservation team includes Maasai members who help educate their community to become the protectors of their own wildlife heritage.
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