Building better bomas
In traditional Maasai culture, a boma (kraal) is used to keep livestock away from raiders, and to an extent to provide a safe place for livestock away from predators. A boma is an enclosure made of thorn branches. We especially like to use branches from Acacia mellifera because it is very strong, and has hooked spikes that hold on to animals tightly. Livestock owners keep their shoats (sheep and goats) and cows in bomas at night time, and then let out to graze during the day.
In the past people did not think that carnivores were a big deal because if a carnivore broke into a boma, the owner would follow it and kill it. But since the introduction of conservation to this area people have seen the need to protect their livestock away from carnivores since they do not want to kill them due to the incentives they are getting to have wildlife around.
Since the introduction of Lion Guardians, they have been educating the community on the importance of having a good boma; not just a boma. Although cases of carnivores breaking into bomas is not that high compared to lost livestock, it is still a persistent problem in some areas, like Oldoinyo Wuas where a hyena has killed more than six shoats from inside a boma. The hyena apparently has taken livestock from two different enclosed bomas striking at several times of the night two to three times a week. Here is a goat left by one of the attacks, and behind it you can see the boma, which is very weak.
Yesterday the fencing team which includes Ernest, myself, the local community and Lion Guardians Lenkina and Mokoi, and the volunteer Lion Guardian for that area, Solonka, started work on the first of the two bomas to make it predator-proof. Solonka has been volunteering for more than a month just to earn the prestigious position of a Guardian in his community. The work involves cutting down big thorny Acacia branches, dragging them to the boma, and then piling them on the fence of the boma to make it taller and wider. It is really hard work! Here is Lenkina building up a wall of the boma.
And here is part of the finished wall of the first boma.
Today we are going to the second boma to reinforce it. I would like to thank Dana for her donation. We feel very encouraged for our second day of work, knowing we have the support of the Lion Guardians blog readers. Thanks once more – the guys are really happy.
Well done Lion Guardians. You worked really hard – it looks like you’ve made the boma completely predator-proof.