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Community film

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Community film “Tenkaraki Ilowuarak – Because of the Predators”

When it comes to conservation, all too often the local community is excluded from the decision making process. This inevitably leads to community members feeling marginalised and ultimately resentful as they frequently perceive that they bear the brunt of living with wildlife while others reap the rewards. The Kenya Wildlife Trust, together with its flagship conservation projects, the Mara Cheetah Project and the Mara Lion Project, were eager to avoid this pitfall and sought to engage the community in finding solutions to their problems. Rather than implementing conservation actions without consultation, we engage the community in order to express ideas and solutions to the problems they face. It is in this spirit that we set about creating a community film, with a balanced view on the people-predator dynamic. Recognising that there are both benefits and costs to coexistence, we set about representing both sides of this complex story in order to encourage discussion and identification of solutions during film screenings. Although we created the film, it is essentially a film by the Maasai of the Mara, for the Maasai of the Mara. A film to bring people together and help them understand their collective problems and ideas for solutions.

The film was originally in Maa, but here is an English version:

Film screening and discussion groups

In total we completed 50 screenings, with 602 people watching the film. During the discussions, participants were encouraged to critically address their problems and come up with sustainable solutions so that livestock loss would be minimised as would subsequent retaliatory killings. Our participatory approach saw participants identifying problems and solutions and then ranking those solutions in terms of (a) preference and (b) whether or not that would result in not killing offending predators. The screenings were completed in December 2015 and some preliminary results are:

  • 100% of participants were concerned about the state of their immediate environment
  • Only two groups thought lion lights were a good solution
  • No one wanted fences around the wildlife areas

Participants thought that the best solutions to reducing depredation were:

  • Community awareness
  • Herder vigilance
  • Reduce livestock

In 2016, thorough analyses will be conducted of both the questionnaire and the film and the  results and outputs will be presented and discussed with various communities at local meetings (barazas). In addition, the analysis will be written up in management documents and scientific articles and the outputs will guide future conservation efforts and accordingly aid the planning of intervention strategies.

This project was supported by the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF)