PREDATOR PROTECTION

Creating Harmony Between Wildlife and Community

WILDLIFE PAYS

MWCT realizes living in harmony with wildlife (i.e. lions, leopards, hyenas etc.) can be very challenging as livestock owners experience considerable financial losses as a result of livestock depredation by these predators. So in acknowledgement MWCT started the Wildlife Pays compensation program for predator protection in 2007 to alleviate the burden of living with wildlife for the local Maasai community in agreement to not kill but protect all wildlife on Kuku Group Ranch.

Different from many other compensation programs MWCT’s Wildlife Pays program is fully sustainable as it is funded by “conservation surcharges” from Campi ya Kanzi and does not rely on institutional or philanthropic funding. This is a form Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES).

A rigorous multi-layer system of verification is in place to prevent and to detect possible cases of fraud that might undermine the program. Per quarter, a member can get compensation only once for depredation in a bad boma or with poor husbandry; no compensation will be paid for subsequent negligent incidents that quarter. This ensures that there is an incentive for livestock owners to improve the protection of their livestock.

Besides compensating for livestock losses, MWCT also actively engages the community to improve their bomas and herding strategies to reduce depredation of livestock.

The compensation program has been wildly successful. The total number of livestock predation incidents remained fairly stable over the years (slight decrease), while predator and livestock numbers in the area have increased.

THE PREDATORS

THE CLAIMS

TYPE 1 CLAIMS

Based on two scenarios – if the livestock was attacked while being herded (1H) or while in a properly built boma (1B). Owners who practice good herding and have adequate bomas who lose livestock to predation, will fall under this category and will receive 70% of the market value for each animal lost.

TYPE 2 CLAIMS

Claims under this level are categorized based upon the conclusion that there was negligence on behalf of the owner. Type 2 Claims are awarded when an animal has been lost while herding and is predated upon. These claims still provide a 30% reimbursement of the market value to the owner.

TYPE 3 CLAIMS

When a livestock owner has a poorly constructed boma that is not deemed adequate to protect livestock from predation. Bomas should be at least 2.5 meters in height, densely covered without openings passable by predators, with a secure gate. Type 3 Claims provide a 50% reimbursement of market value.

THE VERIFYING OFFICERS

The Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust employs 4 Verifying Officers to attend to the claims made by the Kuku community. These Verifying Officers are responsible for getting to claims quickly, talking with the owners and neighbors, documenting photographic and video evidence, and analyzing the authenticity of the verbal testimonies and physical evidence of the claim. All photographs are taken with GPS-enabled smart phones with geotagging that feeds into large database of statistical information for program-wide analysis. With this information, Verifying Officers assign a Claim Type to each incident and fill out a credit note where one copy is provided to the owner for reimbursement and the other copy is brought back to the MWCT headquarters for entry into our digital database and further analyzed by our Conservation Team before approval. Our Verifying Officers provide an immense service and impact to the vast Kuku community spanning over 280,000 acres.