Finally the Lion Guardians, Maasai communities, wildlife and livestock that live together on Mbirikani, Eselenkei and Olgulului Group Ranches have experienced their first showers of rain. Everyone is very excited and thankful that at last there are a few green shoots appearing from the ground.
Though the wildlife and livestock are still very hungry, at least there is now hope that the drought is coming to an end. The Chyulu Hills are certainly looking a little greener.
We really hope that these showers are the start of some heavy rains, so that the Maasai people that have lost so much during the drought can start to rebuild their lives after the devastation it caused. Both people and animals have been struggling to survive and it is said that the Maasai have lost 80% of their cattle (which is equivalent to losing 80% of their money, and their livelihoods). The cattle that remain are too thin to sell, and people are unable to buy food or pay for their children’s’ school fees any more. At least these cows now have a few small green shoots to eat.
Most people have moved away from this area with their cattle, in search of pasture, some as far away as Mombasa and Nairobi. Now everyone is hoping that the grass will grow here, and bring back some life to the area, though whether the communities will be able to fully recover after such a severe drought is uncertain. Those people who had a lot of cattle are no longer rich, and those who had only a few might now be left with nothing.
We are also hoping the wildlife that has been suffering and dying due to lack of food, will also be revitalised and strengthened. However, our big worry is that as the wildlife becomes stronger, and the weak cattle return from their long journeys in search of pasture, the lions and other carnivores in the area will start to attack livestock. The Lion Guardians are all prepared for the possibility of this, and are already warning herders to be extremely vigilant at this time, and to build up their boma walls in preparation.