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Erection of Lion-Proof Bomas starts in Amboseli

Date Published: 19 Mar, 2010
Erection of Lion-Proof Bomas starts in Amboseli

A Maasai boma in Narok.

Kenya Wildlife Service in partnership with the Born Free Foundation and the Kenya Wildlife Trust have started erecting lion-proof bomas for communities living adjacent to Amboseli National Park.    Living with Lions, a non-governmental research organisation based at Mpala Research Centre in Laikipia, has been experimenting with various designs for years till it came up with the one being implemented in Amboseli.  The boma design has been proven to be successful in Laikipia.

The pilot project is being implemented in Imbirikani and Olgulului group ranches and will be extended to the other group ranches in the course of time.The cost of building one boma ranges from Sh150,000 to Sh200,000, depending on whether it is mobile or permanent. Born Free Foundation is providing funding from the proceeds of last year’s Pride of Kenya campaign.
The building of the bomas is one of the actions prescribed in the recently launched national conservation and management strategy for lions.

The Amboseli region has suffered from a high incidence of human-wildlife conflict, especially lion raids on livestock, for many years. As a way of addressing this problem, KWS has held awareness and education meetings with the local community and other stakeholders.   Other than construction of predator-proof bomas, the local community has also been educated on appropriate livestock herding practices so as to reduce the risk of carnivore predation.The Amboseli ecosystem was among areas severely hit by last year’s prolonged drought. Many wild herbivores and livestock succumbed to starvation and disease. This compromised the ecological balance of the park and surrounding areas.
With the onset of rains, the few remaining zebras and wildebeests moved out of the park into community ranches, where the lions followed them. The lions turned to raiding livestock bomas, occasioning a sharp increase in human-carnivore conflict.  The erection of the bomas follows the recent successful completion of joint aerial cross-border wildlife census with Tanzania in the Greater Amboseli ecosystem. Preliminary results on key species indicated that all had not been lost, contrary to earlier fears on the adverse effects of the prolonged drought. Official results will be released in the next two weeks. The census was crucial given that the ecosystem was among the hardest hit areas by the prolonged droughts of 2008 and 2009, which led to massive mortalities of zebra, wildebeest, elephants and buffaloes as well as livestock from the local communities.  

 

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