Community film “Tenkaraki Ilowuarak – Because of the Predators”
When it comes to conservation, all too often local people are excluded from the decision-making process. This can lead to community members feeling marginalised and ultimately resentful, as they feel they bear the brunt of living alongside wildlife, while others reap the rewards.
We were eager to avoid this pitfall as our Mara Predator Conservation Programme became established, and so in 2014, we actively engaged local communities to discuss issues they were facing regarding their co-existence with wildlife, and to explore solutions to these problems.
It was in this spirit that we set about creating a community film, with a balanced view on the people-predator dynamic. Recognising that there are both benefits and costs to human-wildlife coexistence, we wanted to represent both sides of this complex story to encourage discussion and identification of solutions during film screenings.
Although we created the film, it is essentially a film by the Maasai people of the Mara, for the Maasai people of the Mara. It is a film to bring people together to discuss their collective problems and explore ideas for solutions.
Film screening and discussion groups
Once the film was completed, we held 50 screenings with 602 people. During the discussions, people were encouraged to critically address their problems and explore potential sustainable solutions to minimise livestock loss and retaliatory killings. Our participatory approach saw participants identifying problems and solutions and then ranking those solutions in terms of (a) preference and (b) whether or not that would result in not killing offending predators.
The film screenings allowed us to learn some crucial points:
- 100% of participants were concerned about the state of their immediate environment
- Only two groups thought ‘lion lights’ were a good solution to reduce depredation of their livestock
- Nobody was in favour of fences around wildlife areas
Participants thought that the best solutions to reducing livestock depredation were:
- Community awareness
- Herder vigilance / improved husbandry
- Reduced volumes of livestock
We continue to take the learnings from the film screenings and discussions into our community engagement activities today, ensuring that local people are included in our conservation plans and actions.
The creation of “Tenkaraki Ilowuarak – Because of the Predators” was made possible with support from the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF).