Reduced range across the Mara landscape is a major challenge confronting conservation of the African Elephant (Loxodonta africana africana) an iconic global species. This challenge has been occasioned in part by an upsurge in human population and unprecedented land fragmentation within the landscape resulting in an increase in Human Elephant Conflict (HEC).
In Oloisukut Conservancy, WWF-Kenya is pioneering a livelihood improvement programme for its members through a grant scheme to purchase better breeds (Boran and Sahiwal) to replace low yield Zebu and eventually destock the conservancy. A four-year-old Zebu calf currently goes for Ksh12, 000 in the market whereas a two year old Boran calf goes for at least Ksh 100,000. This could make a lot of difference in the incomes of the local community. Jackson Ole Mpario, the Executive Director of Oloisukut Conservancy observes that while pastoralist communities in the Mara traditionally viewed big cattle herds as a sign of wealth, times have changed and this notion is now no longer tenable given increasing land fragmentation under emerging tenure systems.
“We have opted to replace the low yield Zebu and eventually destock to realize the economic sense of livestock farming. Through this approach we hope to increase space for wildlife while at the same time reduce the perennial conflicts prompted by lack of pasture”
This initiative is supported by WWF-UK, and WWF-KE envisions that after the three year funding cycle, the conservancy will have improved as a self-sustaining business enterprise benefiting both people and nature .
Article by Austine Okande/ Maurice Nyaligu