To determine the distribution and availability of potential poisons, we visited 111 shops in 10 centres around the Mara. We found that pesticides created for agriculture and livestock purposes were being sold in all of the 24 agro-vet shops. The cost of pesticides varied from 80Ksh to 1,250Ksh for 100g (80 cents to $12.50), depending on the manufacturer. The results clearly indicated that potentially deadly poisons were affordable and readily available around the Mara.
Following our research, we moved to raising awareness about the severity of using poison to kill predators. By creating a stage for people to discuss issues of livestock depredation, we surmounted literacy challenges (literacy levels in these areas are low) and found an effective medium to convey the message. We worked with registered performing arts group The Buffalo Dancers to convey our messages using songs, dances, choral recitals, role play and speeches, all in Maa language. Together with our community team, the Buffalo Dancers created a unique performance about poison.
The joint team performed at seven different locations around the Mara to address the effects of poison as a response to human-wildlife conflict. Locations included markets, community meetings (barazas), schools and churches. We selected five market venues (based on market days) and organised two community barazas where the message was passed to a wider audience.