Free rein for wild animals in southern Kenya | Global Ideas | DW | 09.02.2016
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Free rein for wild animals in southern Kenya

Land reforms and development in southern Kenya are slicing through wildlife corridors and restricting the movement of elephants there. A rental contract with local Maasai is providing a solution.

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Project goal: To maintain a vital wildlife corridor between Kenya's Amboseli National Park and Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro for elephants and other animals
Project implementation In 2013, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) leased 6,500 hectares of land from the Olgulului/Ololarashi Group Ranch, a Maasai community, to protect it from development and maintain wildlife corridors there. At the same time, the IFAW is working with the Maasai on a concept for sustainable use of the area, as well as for alternative sources of income. To this end, the IFAW finances education for children and trains Maasai to become "community scouts," who protect the land from poachers and try to prevent human-wildlife conflicts. The long-term goal is to develop eco-tourism projects
Project budget: 640,000 euros a year - of this, IFAW pays up to 95,200 euros in rent to 1,600 landowners
Biodiversity: Amboseli National Park is particularly well-known for its elephant population, which is one of the best-researched worldwide. Around 1,400 elephants live in and around the park. But Amboseli is also home to lions, zebras, antelopes and wildebeests, as well as other typical Kenyan wildlife.

South Kenya's Amboseli National Park is a paradise for elephants. Relatively safe from poachers, elephants there have been taking the same route each evening to water sources in the direction of Mount Kilimanjaro, then trundling back to the park in the morning, for hundreds of years. But land reforms are threatening to destroy this haven. Nomadic Maasai who have become landowners are selling their plots to developers who are turning the land over to agriculture. New fences now block wildlife corridors, and humans and animals are increasingly coming into dangerous contact. But one Maasai leader with foresight has decided to lease his community's land to the IFAW instead of selling it. In turn, the IFAW is seeking alternative incomes for the Maasai and protecting the wildlife in this unique region.

A film by Wiebke Feuersenger

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