Under the supervision of project coordinator Joseph Lendiy, help from HSI - Humane Society International (Australia) - and with Born Free’s support since 2000, the West Kilimanjaro Conservation Project has trained 12 local Maasai pastoralists. The fieldmen patrol 700km² of the greater Amboseli basin, which straddles the Tanzania-Kenya border, monitoring all wildlife and human activities in the area. Their presence has proved a key deterrent to poachers – one of the greatest threats to wild animals.
With the cooperation of a range of stakeholders, including the AAPU (Arusha Anti Poaching Unit), AERP (Amboseli Elephant Research Project), and local tour operators, illegal trophy and bushmeat¹ poaching have been virtually eliminated, elephant and giraffe populations have risen sharply and data gathered on the abundance of lion and cheetah. However, such encouraging trends will only continue as long as the patrols are sustained and the local community continues to benefit. Two Conservation Clubs in local schools provide youngsters with a fresh perspective on conserving the basin’s wildlife. In addition, Born Free’s Wildlife Consultant, Winnie Kiiru’s recent training course encouraged farmers to protect crops and reduce conflict with hungry elephants. With specific benefits for people and wildlife the Project is a prime model for sustainable conservation successes.
Now, following Born Free’s sponsorship of four more fieldmen plus radios, bikes and boots for the entire team, the Project plans further expansion. This would ensure patrolling of the entire 2,000km² of West Kilimanjaro’s recently instituted ‘Wildlife Management Area’.
You can help If this project has caught your imagination, please help make their expansion plans a reality by sending your donation to Born Free. Many thanks!
¹Meat from wild animals; commercial trade is decimating wildlife