As our Community Manager, Eric Ole Kesoi believes “Community support is critical to our existence. We must sustain that support”. In today’s blog, he relates some of the ways that we help the community above and beyond the normal duties of a Guardian and how that helps to conserve lions in the long-term.
Our Lion Guardians central camp is situated in a community area, which is almost fifteen kilometers from the nearest health clinic. Throughout the year, we are inundated by requests from community members who have sick relatives or pregnant women needing urgent medical attention. Many a times over the last two years, we have gone above and beyond our duties to respond to their requests and transported them to health centers and clinics far away. However, request for assistance is not limited to health related issues alone.
Over the last week, after a prolonged dry period we have received erratic rains that have created numerous issues for livestock. Many weak cows have fallen into aardvark, warthog and porcupine holes in the middle of nowhere and we have been requested to assist in transporting these weak cows to their respective homes. Over the last two days we helped carry approximately three cows two of which had been in the bush for four whole days. Several of these were milking cows and their young calves had a hard time getting over the muddy smell they brought back with them after being stuck in the bush for so many days!
Since starting the program, we have also offered to transport carcasses of livestock killed by predators. Although, it is hard, tough and time-consuming, the smiles on the faces of the appreciative community members make it all worthwhile. Moreover, these efforts go a long way towards increasing communal tolerance levels to human-wildlife conflicts and are critical in dispelling the perception that conservationists only think about wildlife.