Tumpes Kamete was in class six at Loigero Primary School in Talek, when we ran our first art competition in 2014. He was among the 100 children from five schools selected to take part in the competition. The participants in the competition were asked to draw wildlife as they perceived them in their minds.
Tempes drew a lion that had been speared. From this, we realized that some of the children in the Mara only encountered or heard about Lions when they came to their homes to predate on livestock and hence develop negative perceptions. They knew that the solutions to Lions raiding bomas was to spear them to death.
In 2015, we initiated Wildlife Clubs in 5 schools around Talek and Aitong. We recruited 150 children and together with the club patrons developed a curriculum to engage children in conservation education. One of the 150 children was Daniel Mpatiany a class five pupil at Mara Hills Academy in Talek. Like Tumpes, Daniel also had negative perceptions towards predators and had never visited any Protected Area to see Wildlife. Most of the other 150 children had never visited any Protected Areas and thus we organized to take them on Game drives into the Maasai Mara National Reserve. This exposure visits brought about positive results as the children started appreciating the value of wildlife.
In 2017, Daniel found an Eland calf that was abandoned by its mother and followed cows back home. Being a Wildlife Clubs member and knowing the importance of Wildlife, he prevented his colleagues from killing the Eland calf and feeding it to the dogs. Instead he borrowed his mother’s phone and called Dominic Sakat (MPCPs Community Outreach Officer) who quickly rushed to their village to intervene. Dominic and Daniel took the calf back to the place where it was first sighted and found a herd of Elands and released the calf and saw it to re-unite with its mother. This story illustrates a change of perception on Daniel’s part influenced by knowledge acquired through the Clubs on the importance of Wildlife in the Mara.