Born Free recently partnered with Ewaso Lions to help secure a future for lions in the Samburu region of Northern Kenya (link to previous article). This partnership aims to help minimize conflict between people and predators, while engaging Samburu warriors (‘morans’) in conservation through the Warrior Watch project.
Traditionally, Samburu morans do not attend school and spend most of their time in the bush, alongside wildlife. The Born Free / Ewaso Lions partnership aims to supplement morans’ traditional knowledge with conservation awareness by means of informal education.
Since morans are best placed to act as an ‘eye’ for the community, observing and reporting carnivores’ movements, they can help people to avoid grazing their livestock in areas with lions and hyenas, and thus greatly reduce conflict with these predators.
In August, the Born Free team visited the Warrior Watchgroup in Samburu and trained them in the construction of lion-proof bomas which will also help to avoid conflict with hyenas.
Over four days, the team, morans and rangers discussed lion conservation in Kenya, how Born Free and its partners are addressing this issue and how the warriors could help to save the remaining lions in the country. The concept of a model mobile lion-proof boma was examined and the participants watched a very informative film ‘Living with Lions’. The film explains in Maasai/Samburu how to construct a lion-proof boma and its benefits to the community.
A practical session was then conducted, with participants constructing a mock mobile lion-proof boma. The morans then had an opportunity to share what they had learned and have their questions answered.
Following this preparation, the morans put what they had learned into practice under the guidance of the Born Free team – an existing traditional boma was selected by the community and the morans upgraded this to a boma which prevents hyenas, as the main threat to livestock in the area, from gaining entry. In some cases the lions are killed even though the hyenas are the culprits of attacks on livestock, so that adapting the boma design to repel hyena attacks means that lions in the area will also be protected.
To test if the constructed boma was appropriate for the nomadic lifestyle of the Samburu community, the boma was then dismantled and the materials were transported to a different area. So far, they seem to have worked well, and the Samburu morans (in collaboration with Born Free) will monitor and evaluate them as they are distributed to the communities.
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