Big cat populations in east Africa are declining. In the 1940s wild lions may have numbered 450,000 individuals, but today these populations have plummeted to as few as 20,000. And one cause for the demise of wild lions in rural Kenya? Livestock farmers. As these pastoralists strive to protect their livelihood by minimizing predation, big cats on the hunt often meet an untimely death.
But there’s hope. A new project, spearheaded by Anne Kent Taylor, builds upon an existing fence initiative in Mara that has proven a successful solution to minimizing human-big cat conflicts. This new undertaking includes securing and fortifying existing livestock enclosures (called bomas) with chain link fences to keep predators at bay and ensure no loss of livestock.
Anne Kent Taylor recently shared that the Maasai needed to be fully invested in the big cat project in order to be successful. So livestock owners took part in both the financial responsibility and physical installation of these chain link fences. To date, Anne Kent Taylor’s project has enjoyed 100% success, safeguarding more than 70 livestock bomas from predation and in turn protecting lions and leopards that would have hunted on those farms.