Theme 4: Wildlife--Oral Sessions

Description

Conservation efforts have often been designed without the benefit of the long-term, local knowledge held by pastoral people about rangelands and wildlife. Here, we present a case study of a rapidly changing pastoral landscape in Maasailand of Kenya, just south of Nairobi National Park. We will focus on pastoral innovations that both support pastoral livestock production and conserve wildlife at the same time, through biodiversity payment schemes (through land leasing), education, policy and appropriate technology.

The community described here established a land leasing program in 2000, to pay pastoral land owners to keep fences down and remove poaching snares to support migrating wildlife. This program has been a major success, but struggled to maintain payments to many community members over many years. Recently, the community established a wildlife education center, which provides a sustainable source of income to support the leasing program. Center staff have training programs for student research, local education on conservation and women’s beadwork.

Another big threat to livestock is predator attack. This community has widely adopted an innovation of solar powered “lion lights”, invented by one of pastoral youths from the community. These lights consist of small LEDs that surround livestock enclosures, which turn on automatically at night, thus deterring predators and reducing attacks significantly. The new Wildlife Act (2013), which our community advised on, also provides much higher compensation for injury and death of livestock.

At a broader scale, our community has been at the forefront of promoting Kenya’s first land-use master plan for a rangeland. We support this effort because we have seen waves of urban people buying pastoral land and developing properties. Our new land-use plan and government incentives give us hope that our pastoral land will remain open for livestock and wildlife in the future. Recently we strengthen these initiatives by establishing the Narentunoi Conservancy, which is recognized as a legal entity by the Kenyan government.

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Wildlife Conservation Innovations in a Rangeland under Rapid Change in Maasailand of Kenya

Conservation efforts have often been designed without the benefit of the long-term, local knowledge held by pastoral people about rangelands and wildlife. Here, we present a case study of a rapidly changing pastoral landscape in Maasailand of Kenya, just south of Nairobi National Park. We will focus on pastoral innovations that both support pastoral livestock production and conserve wildlife at the same time, through biodiversity payment schemes (through land leasing), education, policy and appropriate technology.

The community described here established a land leasing program in 2000, to pay pastoral land owners to keep fences down and remove poaching snares to support migrating wildlife. This program has been a major success, but struggled to maintain payments to many community members over many years. Recently, the community established a wildlife education center, which provides a sustainable source of income to support the leasing program. Center staff have training programs for student research, local education on conservation and women’s beadwork.

Another big threat to livestock is predator attack. This community has widely adopted an innovation of solar powered “lion lights”, invented by one of pastoral youths from the community. These lights consist of small LEDs that surround livestock enclosures, which turn on automatically at night, thus deterring predators and reducing attacks significantly. The new Wildlife Act (2013), which our community advised on, also provides much higher compensation for injury and death of livestock.

At a broader scale, our community has been at the forefront of promoting Kenya’s first land-use master plan for a rangeland. We support this effort because we have seen waves of urban people buying pastoral land and developing properties. Our new land-use plan and government incentives give us hope that our pastoral land will remain open for livestock and wildlife in the future. Recently we strengthen these initiatives by establishing the Narentunoi Conservancy, which is recognized as a legal entity by the Kenyan government.