To collect data on wildlife densities in Shompole Group Ranch and Koyake Group Ranch we used distance sampling. This video clip explains the methodology of distance sampling as well as a quick view on how to analyze the data using program DISTANCE. Check out the clip below!
I have made another short clip, posted below, describing some of the human-wildlife conflicts that have arisen in Kenya with communities surrounding protected areas. This is also a short preview into my longer documentary of my senior thesis project. Check out video below!
In order to give more background information on the Maasai people here is a short video clip I put together from video that I took this summer. This is one of three short videos that are previews of my final video and give some explanation of my project. Click on the link below.
Kenya is home to a large population of biodiversity including some of the world’s ‘mega-fauna’, which are continuing to decrease. David Western, founder of the African Conservation Centre (ACC), a conservation NGO based in Kenya, has determined that most of Kenya’s wildlife live outside of designated protected areas. Animals live outside of protected areas because they migrate and do not simply stay in the confines of protected areas. For a long time people and wildlife have co-existed in Kenya; however, the recent increase in development and human populations has threatened this relationship. Now, people are encroaching on the space of wildlife and as a result the wildlife are decreasing as well as becoming an extreme burden and threat to local communities.
As a participant on the Kenya Semester Program in the spring of 2009, I began learning about the national parks and protected areas throughout Kenya, and the conservation and social issues that have evolved as a result. Communities that neighbor National Parks throughout the country have conflicts with wildlife because wildlife live mostly outside of the designated protected areas. Local communities face threats including personal safety, farm and land destruction, as well as competition and disease transfer between wildlife and livestock. This sparked my interested in human-wildlife conflicts and wildlife conservation in Kenya.
This summer I received a Mellon Grant through SLU to return to Kenya and study the relationship between pastoralism as a livelihood and wildlife conservation in Kenya. Specifically, I studied the density of wildlife in two separate designated protected areas that are surrounded by Maasai pastoralists. The questions I asked were: what is the density of wildlife inside and outside protected areas in Maasailand and what is the relationship between pastoralists and wildlife in Maasailand?
My research took place at the Masai Mara National Reserve as well as at Shompole Group Ranch. Masai Mara and Shompole are Group Ranches where communities of Maasai people live. The group ranches around the Masai Mara and Shompole, like many others, surround protected areas, which results in conflicts between humans and wildlife. The Masai Mara National Reserve is surround by several group ranch communities that are affected by the wildlife inside the reserve. As a solution to human wildlife conflicts conservationists have implemented community conservation programs that allow local communities to manage and benefit from wildlife conservation. My research project included taking game counts inside and outside of the protected areas to find specific densities of wildlife in both locations. My project will be able to determine where wildlife live, how this is a threat and/or benefit to people, and speculate on the relationship between wildlife and people.
This project is now my Senior Year Experience (SYE) in my major of Conservation Biology. I will be working on analyzing my data from this summer as well as writing a long research paper, and creating a few documentaries. I will post more information this year as well as a few videos! Stay posted.