© Lizzie Daly

Paul Wachiras’ days are very varied at Loisaba. One day he can be in Ewaso organising a medical clinic and another discussing grazing plans with morans and community elders in P & D. Below he gives us an account of his work, the main focus of which is assisting our neighboring communities with healthcare and education.

Every Monday I take Kaltouma, Loisaba’s clinical officer to Ewaso Dispensary to attend to patients there. On average, there are 25 to 30 patients at the clinic for Kaltouma to attend too. In partnership with Ewaso Dispensary, we also conduct medical outreach clinics in areas where access to healthcare is limited. The last clinic held at Sagumai was attended by 80 patients.

© Izzy Parsons

In partnership with Loisaba Community Conservation Foundation, Kimanjo Health Centre and Ewaso Dispensary, a training session on the negative effects of undergoing FGM was held in October 2017. Many parents were willing for their girls not to undergo the cut so an alternative rite of passage was developed.

© Ambrose Letoluai

In December, sixty girls took part in this alternative rite of passage ceremony thereby becoming women without having to undergo FGM. Interestingly the girls’ circumciser was present at the meeting and has vowed never again to do the cutting, she is now employed at the Ewaso Dispensary and her salary is funded by LCCF.

A very important aspect of my work  is ensuring good relationships with neighboring communities, especially in terms of grazing. I spend much of my time with morans and community elders discussing the importance of rangeland management. If there have been any issues in the local area I will also attend the meetings.

Another part of my work which I love is the education days that we hold at Loisaba with schools from the neighboring communities. These days are held in partnership with the Nature Consevancy, LCCF, Elewana, Space for Giants and San Diego Zoo. We teach the students about the importance of conservation and make them appreciate at a tender age about the environment. I think these days are really important because the children are the next generation so they will help to conserve for future generations. So far 90 students have attended these days from 5 different schools accompanied by 15 teachers.

© Lizzie Daly

 

By: Izzy Parsons

© Ambrose Letoluia

The first #Lionlandsapes #collaringforcoexistence collars were deployed last month on Loisaba Conservancy and Sosian Ranch. The matriarch of the Narok pride, one of the largest prides in the area was fitted with an iridium collar on Loisaba Conservancy after two nights waiting and watching. This pride has been collared consistently for over ten years allowing us a wonderful insight in to their family dynamics. The pride currently consists of the matriarch, and two younger females with six young cubs. A coalition of 4 adult males has also been seen associating with this pride!

© Isabelle Parsons

A collar was also deployed on Sosian Ranch on a lioness that is part of a pride that has been collared intermittently since 2007. The original lioness collared in 2007 was sadly killed by pastoralists on community land leaving behind a two year old son. Having been presumed dead he re-appeared after two years as a handsome male, forming a collation with another older male and taking over the pride. This young male was collared in 2015 for a collaborative research project and he became incredibly habituated, offering wonderful sightings to guests. Sadly, he was killed in February 2016 when the main Sosian pride males – five in total crossed the river and killed him in a territorial fight. The other male survived but the pride was rarely seen. After considerable patience from KWS vet Matthew Mutinda and the Lion Landscapes team, they darted and successfully collared a four year old lioness from this pride now named ‘Labai’. Her pride is made up of the old male who is very impressive, a younger male, two or three lionesses and two groups of cubs.

© Sean Outram

We can’t wait to keep you updated on these two prides and the cubs they are rearing but these collars are not fitted purely to monitor the populations. Following exposure to weak and poorly guarded community livestock last year, conflict between lions and humans has escalated in the Laikipia ecosystem.

It is imperative to collar the misbehaving lions who have learnt to kill livestock so that real time movement data transmitted from the iridium collars can allow lions to be monitored closely, and teams on the ground respond if lions move into areas where they may get into trouble. Because this is so imperative, other projects (Living With Lions and University of California) are joining Oxford University based Lion Landscapes in contributing collars. Save the Elephants have developed a user-friendly app that maps the lion on google earth giving livestock owners the ability to avoid lions, or increase protection efforts in response to actual lion presence, thus better defending their livestock from lion attacks.

© Isabelle Parsons

In conjunction with the app, Savannah Tracking have designed a Boma Shield System. This system responds to chips in the specially designed lion collars by setting off alarms and lights when the collared lion comes within 200 meters of a boma.  The harmless deterrents used are currently being field trialed by Lion Landscapes on Loisaba Conservancy, Sosian Ranch and Suyian Ranch.

Thank you very much to our wonderful partners The Nature Conservancy and Tusk Trust who have supported Lion Landscapes with these collars. We hope that the combination of the real time movement data and boma shield system will reduce the number of retaliatory killing of lions by informing and engaging livestock owners directly and also help to retrain livestock killing lions into thinking that livestock is off the menu!!

By: Izzy Parsons