A Ray of hope lit across Eselenkei group ranch on Saturday as American-based Big Life Foundation pledged to compensate livestock killed by predators.
Morans listen attentively to Big Life Foundation CEO Richard Bohnhan on October 27.
The Big Life Foundation founder and CEO, Richard Bonham, said he has set aside US$250,000 per annum for compensation of killed livestock by predators in Amboseli ecosystem.
The foundation’s announcement on compensation comes in the wake of endless squabbles between Kenya Wildlife Services and the residents over unpaid/delayed consolation dues.
Some of the claims have taken more than 5 years before they are settled. The Big Five Foundation says it is financially independent and therefore will work closely with KWS but independently in compensation process.
Cases of rising human/wildlife conflicts around Eselenkei group ranch and the delay by government to pay consolation money to affected residents is the reason governor Joseph Lenku early in the year threatened to unleash morans on marauding elephants that stray in to their farms.
Big Life Foundation employee Samuel Kaanki.
The CEO also said his foundation has an annual budget of US$200,000 for scholarship of local students within Amboseli ecosystem.
Bonham made remarks in Eselenkei after signing a pact with the group ranch residents living on the edges of Amboseli National Park, an area that has experienced fierce human/wildlife conflicts over many years.
He said the areas covered by the set amount of money for compensation include Imbirrikani, Kimana and Rombo as well.
The CEO said Big Life Foundation aims to employ community-based innovative ideas to conserve and protect Africa’s wildlife and wild lands.
“Our main objective is to ensure direct benefits to the people living with wildlife through employment as rangers, provision of scholarships, tourism and predator compensation,” said Bonham.
Big Life Foundation Boss Richard Monham.
He said he believes that when conservation supports the people, they will support the community.
The foundation currently employs 434 staff, which includes teachers wildlife scouts and rangers, drivers and sustains 28 outposts and 5 mobile units which are managed by the local people.
The Big Life boss said he will offer to pay 70-per cent of all the total predation claims in Eselenkei group ranch and also open another outpost with more rangers.
“We shall be paying for your livestock killed by predators within two months of claims but you must ensure to report the killed livestock within 48 hours,” said the Big Life boss.
He went on; “Just to move away from the past, we shall now include all predators such as lions, leopards, cheetahs, jackals, wild dogs, hyenas, and two non-predators – elephants and buffalos.”
Richard Bohnham signs conservation pact with Eselenkei group ranch leaders on October 27.
Bonham, however, warned that no predator shall be killed ‘whatsoever on this ranch’, adding that the Big Life has committed itself to protect the people and the animals as well.
He recognised the role being played by their other partners; Lion Guardians, Porini Conservancy, Amboseli Ecosystem Trust and Kenya Wildlife Services in the conservation of wildlife in Kajiado county.
The area MCA, Julius Moipaai, thanked the leaders of Eselenkei group ranch for accepting to partner with Big Life Foundation.
Moipaai is a beneficiary of Big Five Foundation scholarship that paid his university fees while he was a student.
Present during the function were; group ranch officials – chairman Jonah Oloishaki, Treasurer Jackson Meresi and Secretary Emmanuel Mpararia among other leaders.