Our community work involves visiting the local people in the villages of the conservancies. These are large private tribal areas bordering the road and between the two large national parks where the government supports the communities with infrastructure of roads, water, schools and clinics in exchange the communities move to the road and try to live in harmony with the animals from the parks that are not gated.
The problems arise when the cattle herds get attacked by the predators, as these animals are in fact the communities investment. A larger herd gives greater wealth and status, it takes a number of cows to acquire a wife and so the loss of a cow to a lion means a financial hit to the owner. Even though there is in place some financial compensations if a cow gets taken by a predator, for this to happen a number of criteria have to be met and the kill has to be proven by a government officer.
All the teams visit two different villages each so we get a feel of the community’s perceptions. The predators are seen mainly as a nuisance and only one village expresses a desire to keep them as part of their lives for future generations. The husbandry here is very basic, a herd boy takes the herd out for grazing in the morning and brings them back in the evening to simple kralls(corals). These are stick like enclosures often in bad need of repair so that at night the predators often can get at the animals not to mention that often that the cattle does not get brought in at night ( this would not qualify for compensation.)