Chapter 9Data-driven Approaches to Wildlife Conflict Mitigation in the Maasai Mara

—Akram Zaytar, Gilles Hacheme, Girmaw Abebe Tadesse, Caleb Robinson, Rahul Dodhia, and Juan M. Lavista Ferres

Executive Summary

In Kenya's Maasai Mara, a growing human population and competition for scarce resources are intensifying conflicts between pastoralists and wildlife. This escalation poses severe threats to endangered species and jeopardizes the livelihoods of local communities. A common source of conflict arises when wildlife, such as lions, cheetahs, and wild dogs, prey on livestock traditionally secured in bomas—enclosures used by pastoralists to keep their livestock. In response to the loss of their cattle, pastoralists sometimes resort to indiscriminately poisoning wildlife. This reactionary measure leads to a vicious cycle of loss, impacting both the wildlife population and the pastoralists' cattle.

Non-profit organizations, such as the Kenya Wildlife Trust (KWT) and the Smithsonian Institution, have been working to address similar problems. However, implementing conservation initiatives in this context is complex, as there is a need to account for the diverse dimensions of the problem, such as the uncapped population expansion, competition over scarce resources, and the community's economic demands, alongside the urgent need to protect endangered animals exposed to climate change effects. These complexities manifest in the continuous struggle to make operational decisions for ...

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