Together with the Mara Lion Project, we organised a Carnivore Art Competition on the 18th and 19th November 2014. The goal of the competition was to engage with Primary School kids in the issue of coexisting with predators and for them to be able to express their attitudes towards living with predators, in particular cheetahs and lions in a creative way. As part of the art competition, Dominic Sakat and Michael Kaelo spoke to the children about living with predators and the importance of conservation. These children will be the future leaders in their communities and will therefore be an important part in carnivore conservation.
We held two creative sessions, one at the Mara Discovery Centre in Aitong and one at the Talek Boarding School. In total 68 pupils attended from six different schools from the Aitong and Talek areas. The creative sessions were led by professional artist Moyra Earnshaw, who was there to ensure that each of the children got any assistance that they needed. The children were given A2 pieces of white card and crayons and were encouraged to draw pictures of cheetahs and lions in a context of their choice.
The outcome was 68 unique pieces of art each of which had a message that in one way or the other said something about the children’s attitudes towards predators. Some drawings were of predators hunting in forests whilst others drew lions being speared or tourist coming to the Mara to see the predators – clearly illustrating the cost and benefits of living with predators.
All of the drawings of the two sessions were entered into the art competition, and together with Moyra, the Mara Cheetah Project and Mara Lion Project have picked 26 winners – 13 best cheetah drawings and 13 best lion drawings. The winning drawings will be incorporated into a calendar for next year. The calendar will be distributed to schools throughout the Mara and will be presented to the winners at a prize giving ceremony scheduled to be held in January 2015.