Ewaso Lions attended and presented at the annual Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Carnivore Research and Conservation Conference in Nairobi from July 26th and 27th. It was an excellent opportunity to hear updates from our partners in large carnivore conservation across Kenya, and to inform the group of our latest activities in Samburu. This was our 5th time to present at this annual conference.
I provided an update on our conservation research and community programmes between 2011 and 2012. The update included progress such as lion monitoring in Samburu, the completion of a pilot study using camera traps, and new methods that the project has adopted in data collection. I ended my presentation by describing some new projects we are embarking on including Lion Watch, where tour guides from the reserves will use smart phones to get to know the lions of the area and share information with their guests, and Wazee Watch which will complement our successful Warrior Watch programme by focusing on engaging village elders.
Jeneria and Ngila gave presentations which were very well received. This was Ngila’s first time in Nairobi, his first time to give a presentation – and a presentation to the country’s key carnivore specialists! We are immensely proud of both Ngila and Jeneria. One of the KWS Senior Scientists even told the group, “It is great to have morans here giving presentations.”
Ngila and I gave a joint presentation on human-predator conflict and how reducing conflict is beneficial for both people and predators. He explained how the goals of the Ewaso Lions Conflict programme are to first collect all the baseline data relating to conflict depredation in the area and to analyse it to provide solutions for reducing this conflict. Ngila himself responds to conflict incidences and fills out a detailed questionnaire which includes information on the context, species, time, weather, etc. I continued by explaining the kinds of conflict we are seeing in Samburu, and providing recommendations for reducing livestock loss to carnivores.
Jeneria and Ngila delivered a presentation on our Warrior Watch programme. They explained how it was launched in 2010 with five warriors, and has now grown to involve 16 warriors in two community conservancies. Warriors report on wildlife sightings in exchange for education and a food stipend. Ten warriors can now read and write and use data sheets to collect information from the field on wildlife. Warriors have also been active in the field, where they have been using camera traps to capture images of wildlife and responding to conflict cases. Lastly, Ngila discussed a rigorous evaluation assessment of Warrior Watch which is underway.
We wish to thank all our partners who presented their work, and also the Kenya Wildlife Service for hosting this important gathering of the countries carnivore conservationists and researchers.