The Maasai of the Olgulului/Ololarashi Group Ranch (OOGR) have rallied behind the Kitenden Corridor project of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

They showed up in unprecedented numbers to the historic signing of an accord last year that would set aside their lands so that the local migrating elephants could more easily traverse them.

And thousands were back again a little over a month ago when we presented a check for year two of the lease as well as announced a proposal for a conservancy, which would offer protection for elephants in perpetuity and potentially create jobs based on the wildlife safari opportunities that would result.

The Maasai are a pastoral people, who believe that separating elephants from their livestock by building bomas is just wrong. For as long as they remember, their livestock have grazed in peace with the wild pachyderms.

The lease is helping the Maasai, too.

They are using the lease income to directly benefit their family households.

Take 40-year-old Somoina Arpakwa, who has eight children. She is paying for her children’s schooling and has invested in a goat with the funds provided by the lease.

The success of the Kitenden Corridor lease and proposed conservancy wouldn’t have been possible without the leadership of Daniel Leturesh, chairman of the OOGR. He took his fellow landowners to lands bordering Amboseli that had been subdivided, showing them the concrete blight that could ensue if they sold out to developers.

That, he said, did not honor Maasai values.

IFAW has worked with the Maasai for many years. Community wildlife scouts play an important role in preventing poaching, avoidance of human wildlife conflict and mitigation of environmental degradation.

IFAW supports the training of these scouts at the KWS Law Enforcement Academy in Manyani and also provides them with logistical and administrative equipment.

Each year, we sponsor members of the OOGR to attend the academy. Langida Ole Seremon, who is featured in the video below, won this year’s leadership prize.

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Article source: IFAW

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