Category Archives: Simba Project


Our good friend and active contributor to MWCT, Kristin, brought this interesting article to our attention, and now we’d like to share it with you. It highlights the serious challenges facing crucial wildlife corridors in Tanzania and Kenya as a result of drought, rampant poaching a poisoning of large carnivores. The article highlights the rapidly declining lion populations in Kenya and throughout Africa, and exemplifies the urgent need and successes of predator compensation programs, such as MWCT’s Simba Project, which has proven to be one of our most successful endeavors. Since its implementation in 2006, we have witnessed the lion population within Kuku Group Ranch (neighboring Tsavo and Amboseli National Parks) increase from an estimate 20 lions to well over 50. We’re very proud to be part of what the author refers to as “better news” in the Chyulu Hills, and we’re working hard to ensure the continuation of the Simba Project, and the protection of the local environment. We look forward to hearing your comments on this article, and hope that it brings attention to the very real, serious environmental challenges that face Kenya’s land and wildlife.

Check out the article at the link below…..

African Safaris: Bleak News From the Bush

we look forward to your comments!

one of the lions who are regularly seen around MWCT headquarters

Recent research on climate and Africa

Two recent articles on the impacts of climate change on Africa caught our attention and got us thinking about the kind of research that is relevant to a non-profit organization like MWCT.  The first, titled” Warming Increases the Risk of Civil War in Africa” (Bruke et al. 2009), argues for a strong link between war and temperature on the continent (PDF here).  This is a good example of research that is not especially helpful for a non-profit like ours.  Essentially, the researchers ran a series of regressions with “civil war” as the dependent variable and looked for relationships with a number of climatic variables.  Whatever the relationship between civil war and climate change might be, this article does not usefully describe it.  This sort of macro-level, acontextual, and reductionistic approach obscures the underlying causal mechanisms at play by ignoring the complexities of particular places (or cultures or ecosystems).

The second, titled “Transitions: Pastoralists Living with Change” (Galvin 2009), explores causes of change in pastoralism, focusing on land fragmentation and climate variability (Abstract; a PDF version is not available free unfortunately).  This article is closer to something that might usefully inform the work MWCT does on a daily basis.  Galvin, an anthropologist, compares changing pastoralist systems in Mongolia and East Africa.  Her skilled use of qualitative methods and insistent attention to local realities allows her to appreciate the complexity of changes that are occurring in pastorialism.  This sort of research, combined with the insight of the members of the Maasai community with which we work, allows us to better understand and address community challenges and improve programs like our Simba Project, for example.

Check out the articles and let us know what you think about all of this.

By the way, we would like to hear from researchers interested in conducting research at our newly-opened Chyulu Conservation and Research Center.  We will post more about this on our blog soon, but in the meantime, you can email us at mwctmanager [@]

MWCT compensates Ksh 1.2 million for livestock predation incidents

Last Friday, the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust’s Simba Project paid Ksh1.2 million (about US$16,000) to nearly 500 Maasai whose livestock were killed by predators between July and September 2009.  The payout took place after no predators were killed by Kuku Group Ranch residents during the third quarter.

The Simba Project is designed to reduce human-wildlife conflict on Kuku Group Ranch.  MWCT compensates livestock owners quarterly when their cows, sheep, goats, or donkeys are killed by predators such as lions, hyenas, and baboons.  The payouts only occur, however, provided that no predators are killed in retaliation for livestock loss during the quarter.

Nosero, one of the lions on Kuku Group Ranch that the Simba Project helps to protect.

“Simba Project is very important for the whole community because everyone benefits,” says Simba Project coordinator Jacob Ntete.  “It teaches us the importance of conserving lions and other wild animals.  It teaches the community the importance of preserving habitat and the whole environment.  Now that the moran [Maasai warriors] know that Simba Project can compensate their livestock, they don’t want to kill lions anymore.”

When livestock predation occurs on Kuku Group Ranch, livestock owners report their losses to MWCT Game Scouts.  Verification officers from the MWCT office then visit the location of each reported incident, where they determine the number and species of livestock lost, the cause of the loss, and the type of predator.

Simba Project Coordinator Jacob Ntete (R) and MWCT intern Peter Wangai.

Since the beginning of 2009, the Simba Project has paid more than Ksh2.8 million in compensation claims.  Ntete is optimistic that livestock predation rates will drop in the remaining months of the year, if rain brings needed relief from drought.  Livestock will be stronger and herders will no longer forced to cover such large distances in search of pasture, reducing predation, he says.

You can learn more about the Simba Project here.