Launching of Olgulului/Ololarashi-Maasai Preservation Trust (MPT) Predator Consolation Fund on the 15th August 2008

Wed, 2008-08-27 14:12 by ssayialel
Male Lion in Amboseli Bonham intruducing the Coordinator, VO's and Scouts Soila addressing the meeting

The lion population in the Amboseli ecosystem is dwindling at an alarming rate considering the current population of the same in Kenya to be about 2000 only. When one ask a warrior how long it will take them to finish lions, two months is what they say. I hate to imagine the same happening to lions like it did to rhinos in the ecosystem. Lion killing is a tradition deeply embedded in the Maasai culture as opposed to elephant killings, which is mainly due to conflicts.

In April 2008, lions killed two cows, the warriors retaliated by spearing two lions, and the leadership in the ecosystem did not have the mandate to face the community since it was proved that the lions were indeed the culprits. All stakeholders have seen both sides of the coin when warriors engage themselves in hunting sometimes for leisure and sometimes for protection of their livestock. I remember when I was a young girl we never needed the police, Administration Police or Kenya Army, since the Maasai community had a traditional army – The Maasai Murran or Warrior – and their duty to protect and fight for the rights of their tribe.

The Chairman of Olgulului group ranch Daniel Letuesh and his committee members took an initiative to start a kitty to safe the Amboseli lions. It's tough though when you think of what the community generates from the park but something had to be done in order to save lions from disappearing. A board committee was appointed, which comprises of 10 members where the three key members are from the Olgulului group ranch committee – The Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary. Other members are the new Chairman of the Lion board committee, Kirrinkol Ole Musa, a former chief of warrior, Secretary – KWS senior warden for security as the government. I was appointed as treasurer because of the cherished work AERP has been and is doing for the last ten years when we started a consolation scheme whenever elephants kill livestock outside the park. One will wonder why elephants kill livestock and they are well known to be vegetarians? Retaliation – some elephants have witnessed members of their family speared by the Maasai warriors. The other key reason is grazing and drinking points especially during the dry season. The Elephant Consolation Scheme has shown a positive impact for the last ten years, our challenge at the moment is space for elephants, blocking of wildlife corridors and farmland where elephants are threatened. During the launching of the Predator Consolation Fund, AERP was greatly thanked for being the pioneers of consoling the locals for their loss and they termed AERP as the great-grandmother of peace custodian between Maasai, livestock, elephants and now predators in the Amboseli ecosystem.

On 15th August 2008, the Olgulului/Ololarashi predator consolation scheme was launched at the community public Campsite with well over 100 in attendance. The following were employed: seven predator scouts from each clan on each zone to report daily claims, two verification officers (VO) to investigate incidents, and a coordinator to be based at Tortilis camp to liaise between MPT (Maasai Preservation Trust) and Olgulului GR. We all could see the happiness in them and they all supported the new initiative, one old man was quoted saying in maa, "ETANDAMUA IYIOK ENGAI OMASAE" (The God of the Maasai has remembered us). Richard Bonham of ODW Trust initiated a similar scheme at Mbirikani group ranch and has seen much better improvements over the years. Also Kampi ya Kanzi supports a similar scheme on Kuku group ranch. Hopefully the new scheme will eventually be extended to Eselenkei, Kimana and Rombo group Ranches.

No Penalties Lost in the Bush Bad Bomas
Cows 13,500 6,750 6,750 3,375 4,050 2,025
Donkey 6,000 3,000 3,000 1,500 1,800 900
Shoat 2,000 2,000 1,000 1,000 600 600

The agreement was signed by Richard Bonham of ODWT, Daniel Leturesh – Chairman OGR as Chairman, James Moonka – Secretary OGR as Secretary and Soila Sayialel – Amboseli Elephant Research project as Treasurer of Olgulului Predator Consolation Fund. One of the major point made clear is corrupt reporting of losses through nepotism including favoring relatives and members of the same clans and would not be tolerated and the perpetrator would be dealt with as "ILMANGATI" or enemies of the scheme. The locals who attended the meeting vowed to fight enemies of the scheme to ensure its success. The agreement also receives support from the Government of Kenya by the Kenya Wildlife Service in providing security to wildlife. The National Geographic Society and the Maasai Preservation Trust were also thanked for their sponsorship and donation of vital equipment.

The deep and broad support for a scheme of this sort is for sure an historic day for Wildlife conservation by the people of Kenya.

how will it be funded?

Thu, 2008-09-18 11:54 by Tegan

Hi Soila, nice to meet you. Fantastic work, you rock. (Um, locally that means, 'you're amazing'!!)
Yeah this sort of scheme is what will really save lions in this situation it seems to me - I had no idea they were dissapearing that quickly in this region. In 2 months they would all be gone?
So where will the money come from for this?
From local African government bodies? From your organisation...? Do you need donations for this?

Source of Funding

Sun, 2008-10-12 17:19 by ssayialel

Hi Tegan, wonderful to know that people like you are concerned with the work we are doing to protect our predators. Richard Bonham, who runs a similar consolation scheme in one of the group ranches in the North East side outside Amboseli National Park helped to raise funds for predators in Olgulului group ranch, by good luck we got funds from National Geographic. It will be my pleasure on behalf of my team if you can be able to donate or look for friends who are willing to help us conserve lions.

Ashe Oleng (thank you very much)

Predator consolation fund

Tue, 2008-09-09 14:02 by Jan

Soila - I'm so proud of you for the amazing work you are accomplishing.

I wonder if you can explain a little further for me though. I understand elephants will retaliate for previous bad experiences they or their families have encountered, and I understand their having to share the grazing/drinking areas.

However, why is it that you rarely, if ever, see an elephant going after cattle or Maasai in the park? It seems it almost always happens outside the park, yet the Maasai bring their cattle into the park all the time, share the same water sources, etc. Thus in my mind it has to be more than retaliation or sharing water areas, otherwise you would see bad behavior in the park also. Could it be that the Maasai outside the park provoke the elephants more than they would inside the park?

It was wonderful seeing Echo and her family every day for my week in Ambo in August all looking so healthy despite the dry season. Even more exciting was seeing Odile looking so healthy after her spearing several years ago. AERP and Dr. Ndeerah did a super job saving her life. Thank you all!

Excellent work !!!

Thu, 2008-09-04 08:53 by Keith

Soila, thanks so much for posting this very useful, and exciting, report. This hard, yet effective, work you and the team are doing at the grass-roots level is where the action needs to be if conservation is to have a future, in Kenya, Africa and the world. This is really innovative stuff, at the "cutting edge" of conservation, and you are a conservation pioneer.

I am reminded of similar work that has been going on in Namibia, where community conservancies are involved in insurance schemes to offset the costs of wildlife impacts on agriculture or property. Conservancy members contribute to the fund, which can then be drawn upon in the case of incidents. Beneficiaries must be members of the conservancy, and must take preventive actions to try to avoid lion attacks, but then they can expect compensation when they suffer losses.

Is anyone talking about including elephants in this programme in Amboseli? Or do people expect AERP/ATE to continue providing consolation funds for ele damage? I guess it is one step at a time.

It is SO encouraging that AERP is now recognised and respected as a group concerned about people's livelihoods and welfare in the area, linked in with Iconservation. This has established a very solid and positive basis for our role as a key player in conservation in the region and the country.

And finally, as you say, this a great step to have taken, a scheme built and established by Kenyans, with support from committed individuals, private sector operators, NGOs and international partners. There IS hope for the future of elephants, wildlife, people in Kenya!!


Best wishes

Tue, 2008-09-02 12:58 by Anna Martinsson

All the best of luck and well wishes for the future of this program and I hope there will be a distinct lack of any "ILMANGATI's" for the fund to deal with, thanks for updating us.
Anna M

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.