We strongly believe that communities living alongside wildlife are the key stakeholders in conservation. Based on this belief, our team organises community meetings (barazas) around the Mara, to give local people an opportunity to discuss emerging issues affecting them, relating to human-wildlife coexistence and conservation.
Recent discussions have focused on:
- The use of less toxic chemicals to control pests and counter wildlife poisoning
- The use of plastic poles instead of cedar to construct predator-proof livestock bomas (to reduce deforestation, a significant conservation threat due to indigenous cedar felling in the Mau Forest)
The barazas have been received well by community members, with healthy turnout in all areas we have visited. Most recently, participants have shown willingness to:
- Switch to plastic poles to build their bomas
- Find alternative pesticides that are not harmful to livestock or predators
Our community engagement work is a huge part of what we do at the Mara Predator Conservation Programme, as it is crucial for us to earn the support and endorsement of local people, while seeking their input as we face emerging challenges across the ecosystem.
Through Michael Kaelo’s leadership as our Community & PR Manager, our local engagement activities can lead to significant changes in attitude and behaviour towards conservation and predators, helping us to achieve our overarching programme goals.