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.

Demostrating how to fix the door

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.

Outside a completed hyena-proof boma

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.

Please keep following us here to get the latest news on what Born Free and its partners are doing to secure the future of lions in Kenya.

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Groundbreaking regulation bans consumption of dog meat in Weixian County, China and promotes the human-canine bond

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n June 2012, Weixian County, in Hebei Province, became the first county in China to adopt a comprehensive regulation that bans both the consumption of dog meat and the slaughter of dogs for consumption. The enactment of the new law, which also requires rabies vaccinations for dogs in the county, came as a surprise in an area where the now-banned practices have long occurred.

While consumption of dog meat is not universally common in China, it has been a culturally accepted practice. Recently, however, there has been a groundswell of demands for protection of dogs against cruelty from within China.

In what animal welfare advocates are calling a sign of changing times, China has had at least three recent high-profile rescues, in which a total of 1,500 dogs were seized from trucks taking them for slaughter.

Evolving public views of the dog meat trade and the use of social media alerts played a role in gathering the hundreds of local advocates who participated in blockades involved with the rescues.

At the time of the three rescues, transport of dogs for the  meattrade was legal everywhere. In order to take control of the dogs, advocates had to negotiate a payment to dissuade traders driving the trucks from continuing with their cargo.

The increased inclusion of dogs as members of Chinese households could be related to growing opposition to the dog meat trade.

Local animal welfare groups have thus far footed the bill to obtain the dogs and transfer them to their shelters, so that they could be re-homed as family companions.

The rescue events gained international attention and have also helped shed light on the often compromised health of dogs bound for consumption, which in turn has raised questions about the safety of the practice for human consumers.

Opinions on the forces behind China’s changing views of dog meat differ. Some believe that a contributing factor could be the growth of the middle class in China, and with it, the increased inclusion of dogs in Chinese households as companions and family members.

Evidence that some companion dogs are being stolen and sold for slaughter could also be fueling the growing disapproval of the trade. While advocates acknowledge that they face an uphill battle in convincing more counties to enact similar progressive laws, Weixian County’s bold move effectively sets an important precedent for dog protection in China. Their action will benefit the future of the human-canine bond across that country.

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Steps to protect animals in Kaziranga during floods

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“Forward planning…I Like that…shame the other zoo had not thought of it, there wouldn’t have been any deaths if they had!”

GOLAGHAT: As flood waters of the mightyBrahmaputra continue to rise alarmingly, authorities in the Kaziranga National Park have taken steps to protect the animals, including the prized one-horn rhinos, there.

Authorities in the Kaziranga National Park have taken steps to protect the animals, including the prized one-horn rhinos, there

“Of the 168 camps in the park, flood water has affected 36 camps. We have set up a special camp in the northern range of the Park where rescued animals would be released”, Park’s director Sanjib Bora said.

He said that the rising waters of the Brahmaputra had forced many animals to cross the National Highway 37 and flee to the southern side near the Karbi Anglong hills for shelter.

“The district authorities have imposed prohibitory orders under section 144 Cr PC along the highway so that poachers and other miscreants do not get an opportunity to harm the animals”, Bora said.

He further added that vehicles plying on the highway would be issued “time cards” so that they did not loiter for long in the area.

The park remains closed from May till October during the rainy season in Assam.

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Ohio punishes animal abusers less severely than most other U.S. states

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – NewsChannel5 investigators have found Ohio’s animal protections laws are more lenient than most U.S. states

In Ohio, animal cruelty is a second degree misdemeanor for a first offense. In 44 other U.S. states, animal cruelty is a felony.

“It seems like you can do horrific things to animals and you’re only going to be met with a slap on the wrist,” said Karen Minton, the Ohio state director of the Humane Society of the United States.

The Humane Society of the United States releases a yearly “Humane State Ranking” report assessing states’ animal protection laws. Ohio ranked 45 in 2010. The ranking was changed to 36 in 2011, after Ohio’s Livestock Care Standards Board adopted new rules to protect farm animals.

Click here to look at the Humane Society‘s animal protection rankings:

Another animal rights group, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, ranks Ohio 31st. The state’s lack of felony legislation for animal cruelty cases is a “substantial flaw” in the law, according to Scott Heiser, the senior attorney and criminal justice program director for the ALDF. Heiser said animal cruelty laws are a large part of the reason Ohio is ranked 31.

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