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This program introduces students to the unique community-based conservation model in the Maasai Mara ecosystem. It focuses on two conservancies – Enonkishu and Pardamat.

Community-based Conservation in the Maasai Mara’s Enonkishu and Pardamat Conservancies

Faculty-LedFaculty-Led | Ecology & Conservation Kenya

Overview

This program introduces students to the unique community-based conservation model in the Maasai Mara ecosystem. It focuses on two conservancies – Enonkishu and Pardamat. Students will learn about the Maasai Mara conservancies model and related approaches from local experts and stakeholders. They will engage first-hand with practical conservation efforts in these areas. Fieldwork and visits will prime students to consider the similarities and/or differences between the two named conservancies. Ultimately, students will understand how each conservancy works and gain some insights into the relationship between community development and conservation. This will provide them with essential knowledge of global sustainability efforts.

Why Enonkishu and Pardamat Conservancies?

Enonkishu and Pardamat Conservancies are part of the vast Maasai Mara ecosystem located southwest of Kenya and bordering the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the south. This ecosystem, together with the Serengeti, is considered to have one of the highest densities of wildlife in the region. Wildlife here is in its natural habitat and unconfined as it freely roams the vast wilderness. The Maasai Mara conservancy model is a conservation approach that is underscored by the coming together of several stakeholders dedicated to rejuvenating vital sections of the wildlife corridor. The conservancies were established under the rationale of conserving the environment and its wildlife alongside a mandate to protect, empower, and improve the livelihood of the local Maasai communities. The Maasai Mara conservancies provide an ideal location to study ecology and human influences on the savanna as well as community-based conservation in East Africa.

Enonkishu Conservancy is located to the north of the Maasai Mara ecosystem, right at the edge of human settlement and arable farmland. With an increase in predators within the conservation area, certain mitigation strategies were developed. These included upgrading the livestock by introducing Boran bulls to the Maasai herd to diversify the conservancy’s revenue, introducing predator-proof bomas, adding more water points within the conservation area, and proposing stringent grazing areas to widen the available forage for wildlife and livestock. Enonkishu is an important buffer area between the wildlife conservation area and the neighboring settlements.

On the other hand, the Pardamat Conservancy is a unique conservation area that has adopted a dual-use model of conservation. This approach advocates and provides for human-wildlife coexistence. Pardamat is a key conservation puzzle piece because it serves as a migration route and connects four other conservancies to the Maasai Mara National Reserve. The unique operation of this conservation area intentionally allows for human-wildlife interaction and coexistence, thus providing for a key case study in the multiple elements of biodiversity conservation and human development interface.

Learning Outcomes

During this program, students will:

  • Develop cross-cultural understanding through studying the impact of culture and context on conservation in Kenya
  • Analyze the strategies used to protect critically endangered species that are surrounded by a growing human population
  • Demonstrate their role as agents of change in assembling institutions that can understand and support community-based conservation
  • Critically reflect on individual growth and transformation by means of structured reflection sessions and transformation questionnaires
  • Develop intercultural communication skills

 

Contributors

Lincoln Njiru

Lincoln Njiru developed a passion for nature early on in his life.

He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Natural Resource Management from Egerton University in Kenya and a Master’s Degree in Environment and Development from University of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa. He worked in one of Botswana’s game reserves before returning to Kenya to work in the Maasai Mara where he was involved with wildlife conservation programs for many years before transitioning to endangered species conservation – specifically focusing on rhino conservation. Lincoln is passionate about biodiversity and conservation, especially conservation initiatives that have a community focus and can contribute to the improvement of livelihoods.  

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