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Following the end of commercial hunting in the region during the 1970s, local people used firearms purchased from Somali refugees to poach wildlife indiscriminately. By the late 1980s, elephant populations had been significantly reduced and rhinos had disappeared.
Surveys have shown that when households in the Lwanga Valley are food insecure, more than half of farmers turn to poaching, setting wire snares for wildlife. A small percentage of residents are “professional poachers,” using locally made guns to hunt a variety of species.
Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust (MWCT) was established in 2000 by the Maasai of Kuku Group Ranch as a grassroots conservation trust. The trust focuses on the Maasai landscape and the communities of Kenya’s Chyulu Hills, which are set within the Amboseli-Tsavo region of southern Kenya.
The Kasigau Corridor REDD project in southeastern Kenya is designed to bring direct financing for carbon emissions reduction to communities while securing the wildlife migration corridor between Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks through which over 500 African elephants migrate seasonally.
Elephants, big cats and Maasai giraffe are among the species to benefit from the community conservancy initiative in which local landowners are paid to protect wildlife in a key corridor on the south east boundary of the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.