Yesterday I went to a meeting in Risa, in a neighbouring group ranch – Olgulului group ranch. The meeting was to launch a consolation scheme that will pay some money to livestock owners whose livestock get killed by lions. The agreement between the group ranch committee and the community was attended by more than 200 people. This is very good news for lions of Olgulului.
Risa is the place where the last two lions were speared. Part of the agreement which sparked a lot of murmurs and discontent among the crowd related to ‘Olamayio’, which is when murrans go out in a group to hunt lions for fun. Any party of murrans who do this will be charged an equivalent of up to Kshs.13,500 for each person involved in the killing, up to a maximum of 7 individuals, which will total Kshs 94,500. This was a way of discouraging lion hunting parties. The community was not happy to accept the consolation scheme if it only pays for lions alone. They said that if other predators are not covered then they will kill them instead of lions. The agreement had another clause that tries to deal with justice within the committee. It states that any member of the Olgulului/Amboseli Lion Consolation Fund Committee (OACFC) or official known to have tampered with the justice system either by trying to release individuals that are being prosecuted through the court due to violation of the consolstion scheme agreement or attempting to have their sentence reduced will be fined Ksh 13,500.
The Chairman Daniel ole Leturresh who started the kitty explained that this is just the beginning and he hopes that some private donors will help to raise funds to compensate for livestock killed by other carnivores too.The group Ranch committee showed its commitment to the consolation scheme by giving out a cheque worth Kshs. 500,000 to the Treasurer, Soila Sayialel, who runs the Amboseli Elephant research.
The consolation scheme has come at a time when the community’s relationship with Amboseli National Park authority is fading, following the arrest of the murran who speared two lions in early March. They asked the Warden to release the murrans since this day was a special one for the community. The presence of the District Commissioner at the meeting brought more bright things to the community. With the swearing in of the newly appointed Kenyan cabinet, the people of Amboseli sub-location will get better services from the government, as a local chief will be employed for the Risa area. This is also good news for lions, as it may discourage people from killing carnivores even more if there is a local civil servant paying close attention to the area.
The District Commissioner during the Olgulului meeting
All our eyes are now looking at the new initiative at Olgulului group ranch, and hoping that this will bring a reduction in lion killings to our neighbouring ranch.