AFRICA’S BIGGEST BOMA BUILT TO MARK WORLD LION DAY 2021
With Kenya’s wild lion population under threat, Born Free’s new ‘mega boma’ in Amboseli, a lion stronghold, will protect livestock, promote co-existence with local communities and save this iconic species for future generations.
On World Lion Day 2021, we are celebrating this iconic species with the successful completion of the world’s largest Predator Proof Boma, which will protect up to 300 livestock animals from night-time attacks by lions, and the resultant retaliatory killings which have decimated the species.
Three times bigger than other bomas, this mega boma’s vast 5 acres will securely protect over 300 people along with their livestock – often their only source of food and income. At 500m in circumference and with an area of 20,000m, it’s bigger than Lords cricket club and would enclose an entire US city block!
Born Free has been working with the local Maasai community and Amboseli National Park in southern Kenya, to reinforce traditional bomas and introduce eco-friendly, cost-effective smart technology to protect people and their livelihoods, and keep threatened wild lions safe from harm since 2010. Since this work began there have been zero reports of retaliatory lion deaths in the area.
Will Travers OBE, Born Free’s Co-Founder & Executive President said: “Born Free’s wild lion conservation work in Kenya has never been more important and working with local communities to build predator-proof bomas (PPB) is central to our co-existence strategy.
This World Lion Day, we are thrilled to announce the completion of what we believe to be the world’s biggest PPB! That delivers more protection for more people and livestock, more security for lions, and is a huge step forward in the prevention of human wildlife conflict.”
Traditionally, Maasai enclose livestock at night in a boma made from acacia bushes. Just 1.5 metres high, it is easy for lions to jump into the night shelter and prey on livestock animals. But a Predator Proof Boma is reinforced with 200m of two-metre high chain-link mesh, attached to strong metal posts, with doors made from recycled flattened metal drums. Dry thorn shrubs are then placed inside against the chain link as additional fortification.
David Manoa, Born Free Kenya’s Conservation Manager, and Head of the Pride of Amboseli initiative, said: “Upgrading traditional bomas to Predator Proof Bomas is a win-win situation. Lions and other predators such as leopards are safe in the wild, and at the same time, the community’s livestock – their only source of livelihood – is not attacked. With no lion attacks, the community has no reason to retaliate by either poisoning or spearing lions.”
All materials used in the construction of PPBs are recycled and locally sourced. In 2015, Born Free added solar lighting units, energy saving stoves and a water harvesting system to the PPB design, further enhancing benefits to local communities.
Manoa added: “Born Free is now known as the organisation that upgrades traditional bomas to predator proof, and people are really excited to get involved. All building materials are obtained from local traders, with construction by local tradespeople, so the whole community feels a sense of ownership.
“We’d like to see more communities take-up this initiative and construct their own bomas. They’ll see immediate benefits! We are now raising funds to replicate the success of this initiative in other areas experiencing high levels of human-wildlife conflict. Together we can help safeguard traditional communities AND protect Kenya’s precious lions!”
It costs £1,660 to create one reinforced smart boma and Born Free is raising funds to build another 30 bomas in Amboseli, just over the border in Tanzania.
See how the Mega Boma was built…