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Presence and Perception of Wildlife in the Loita Hills A Report by: South Rift Association of Land Owners (SORALO) and the African Conservation Centre (ACC) December 2013


Loita Wildlife Survey

James Allan

List of Figures: Map 1. Loita Region and study area …………………………………………………………………..………………………….. 4 Figure 2. Changes in wildlife numbers ………………………………………..…………………………………………………. 5 Figure 3. Species which are decreasing ………………………………………………………………………..………………… 5 Figure 4. Reasons for elephant decrease ………….……………………………………………………………………………. 6 Figure 5. Reasons for elephant decrease by sub-location ……………………………………………………………… 6 Figure 6. Changes in elephant numbers by sub-location ……………………………………………………………..… 7 Figure 7. Reasons for lion decrease …………………………………………………………………………….…………………. 8 Figure 8. Reasons for lion decrease by sub-location ………………………………………………………………………. 8 Figure 9. Changes in lion numbers by sub-location ………………………………………………..……………………… 9 Map 2. Poaching intensity ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 10 Table 1. Key to maps ……………………………………………………………………………………………….…………………. 10 Map 3. Elephant decrease ………………………………………………………….……………………………………………….. 11 Map 4. Elephant increase ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 12 Map 5. Elephants not mentioned as increasing or decreasing ……………………………..…………………….. 13 Map 6. Lion decrease ……………………………………………………………………………………..…………………………… 14 Map 7. Lion increase …………………………………………………………….……………………………………………………… 15 Map 8. Lions not mentioned as increasing or decreasing ……………………………….……………………………. 16 Map 9. Level of wildlife protection in the Loita region ………………………………………………………………… 17 Map 10. Areas where KWS is active …………………………………………………..………….…………………………….. 18 Map 11. Areas where the community protects wildlife ……………….……………………………………………… 19 Map 12. Areas where community leaders protect wildlife ……………………………………………..…………… 20

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Loita Wildlife Survey

James Allan

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Loita Wildlife Survey

James Allan

Introduction: The Loita Hills lie in Southern Kenya between the Maasai Mara National Reserve and the Rift valley. The area covers 1700 kilometres and is made up of forested hills and extensive open plains. Numerous wildlife species coexist in the region with the Maasai people who have maintained a very traditional way of life. Over the last few years wildlife in the region has been steadily decreasing and recent reports suggest that the decline is speeding up. Members of the Loita community recently contacted SORALO/ACC expressing an interest in utilising their wildlife resources and stopping the current decline. In response a SORALO/ACC team carried out an extensive survey of the Loita Hills. The aims were to determine what perceptions the local Maasai had about wildlife, how open they were to the idea of conservation and to obtain information on the status of lions and elephants in the region.

Map 1. Loita region and study area.

Methods: In June 2013 a total of 270 interviews were conducted with community members from 9 Loita sub-districts. An enumerator from each sub-district carried out the interviews in that area. The SORALO/ACC team provided logistical support and supervised a number of the interviews. Enumerators were intensively trained the week prior to the interviews and were involved in the translation of the questionnaire. Interviews were carried out in the Maasai language Maa.

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Loita Wildlife Survey

James Allan

Respondent Information: Of all interview respondents 268 of the 270 were members of the Maasai tribe, one was Kalenjin and one Kikuyu. Women comprised 27.7% of respondents and respondent ages ranged from 19 to 74, the mean age was 36 years. 63% of respondents were Christians, 28% followed traditional beliefs and 9% were atheist. Results: Respondents were asked what the felt had happened to wildlife numbers in the Loita Hills over the last 5 years. 67% of people felt that wildlife numbers had increased while 28% perceived a decreased (Figure 2). 70

Respondents (%)

60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Increased

Decreased

Stayed the Same

Don’t Know

Figure 2. Changes in wildlife numbers for the Loita region.

Despite a feeling that animal numbers had increased overall, respondents felt that certain species had decreased and were still decreasing. Elephants and Lions in particular were perceived to have decreased (Figure 3). 70 Respondents (%)

60 50 40 30 20 10 0

Figure 3. Species which are decreasing in the Loita region. 5


Loita Wildlife Survey

James Allan

Elephant Results: Of all interviewees, 93.7% of have seen signs of elephants and 91% have actually seen elephants in their respective areas. 61% of respondents think elephant numbers are decreasing, when asked why, 61.8% listed poaching as the cause. Therefore 40% of the total people interviewed believe that elephant numbers in the Loita Hills are decreasing due of poaching. Other causes thought to be responsible for decreasing elephant numbers are: Human pressure, emigration to National parks/Naimina Enkiyo forest and removal by KWS (Figure 4). Reasons differed by sub-location for example some areas reported much more poaching than others (Figure 5). 70.0

Respondents (%)

60.0 50.0 40.0 30.0 20.0 10.0 0.0 Poaching

Human Pressure

Moved to Parks/Forest

Don’t know

removed by KWS

Respondents (%)

Figure 4. Reasons for elephant decrease in the Loita region. 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0

Poaching Human Pressure Moved to Parks/Forest

Figure 5. Reasons for elephant decrease in the Loita region by sub-location. The options “removed by KWS” and “don’t know” were excluded for clarity.

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Loita Wildlife Survey

James Allan

Only 11.5% of people perceived an increase in elephant numbers, 29.4% did not mention elephants as either increasing or decreasing. The questioning in this case was fairly ambiguous so “no mention� can mean two things: that populations are stable, or, that there are no elephants in the region for them to be increasing or decreasing in Number. The main reasons given for increases in elephant numbers are the availability of habitat and feed. In two sub-districts, Mausa and Ntuka, more people perceive elephant numbers are increasing rather than decreasing. In four sub-districts, Morijo, Entasekera, Oldonyo Orasha and Olenkuluo, there was no mention of elephant numbers increasing (Figure 6). 120 Respondents (%)

100 80 60

Increase

40

Decrease

20

No mention

0

Figure 6. Changes in elephant numbers by Loita sub-location.

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Loita Wildlife Survey

James Allan

Lion Results: Of all interviewees, 92.7% (n= 251) of respondents have seen signs of lions and 78% (n=210) of respondents have actually seen lions in their respective areas. 50% (n=135) of respondents think lion numbers are decreasing. 45 40

Respondents (%)

35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Human Pressure

Killed

Moved away

Don't Know

Respondents (%)

Figure 7. Reasons for lion decrease in the Loita region. “Human pressure” is a combination of less prey and general human disturbance. “Killed” is a combination of poaching, poisoning and killed. “Moved away” includes emigration to National Parks and the Naimina Enkiyo Forest. 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0

Human Pressure Killed Moved away Don't Know

Figure 8. Reasons for lion decrease by Loita sub-location.

Human pressure, killed and moved away are listed fairly equally as the three main causes for lion decreases in the Loita Hills. Poisoning (under “killed” in Figures 7 and 8) was listed in three sub-locations: Olenkuluo had 7 cases, Entasekera 1 case and Enkutoto 2 cases.

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Loita Wildlife Survey

James Allan

Perceived increase/decrease of lions by Loita Hill sub-location Respondents (%)

100 80 60 Decrease

40

Increase

20

No mention

0

Figure 9. Changes in lion numbers by Loita sub-location.

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Loita Wildlife Survey

James Allan

Map 2. Poaching intensity in the Loita region. For key refer to Table 1. (Q. Are elephants decreasing? Why?)

Table 1. Key to maps. Colour Yellow Orange Dark Orange Red Orange Red

% of Respondents 0 - 25 25 - 50 50 - 75 75 - 100 100

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Loita Wildlife Survey

James Allan

Map 3. Elephant decreases in the Loita region. For key refer to Table 1. (Q. Which species have decreased in your area? List 5).

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Loita Wildlife Survey

James Allan

Map 4. Elephant increases in the Loita region. For key refer to Table 1. (Q. Which species have increased in your area? List 5).

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Loita Wildlife Survey

James Allan

Map 5. Elephants not mentioned as increasing or decreasing in the Loita region. For key refer to Table 1.

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Loita Wildlife Survey

James Allan

Map 6. Lion decreases in the Loita region. For key refer to Table 1. (Q. Which species have decreased in your area? List 5).

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Loita Wildlife Survey

James Allan

Map 7. Lion increases in the Loita region. For key refer to Table 1. (Q. Which species have increased in your area? List 5).

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Loita Wildlife Survey

James Allan

Map 8. Lions not mentioned as increasing or decreasing in the Loita region. For key refer to Table 1.

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Loita Wildlife Survey

James Allan

Map 9. Perceived levels of wildlife protection in the Loita region. For key refer to Table 1. (Q. Is wildlife protected in your area?).

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Loita Wildlife Survey

James Allan

Map 10. Areas where KWS is active. For key refer to Table 1. (Q. is wildlife protected in your area? By who? List all).

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Loita Wildlife Survey

James Allan

Map 11. Areas where the community protects wildlife. For key refer to Table 1. (Q. is wildlife protected in your area? By who? List all).

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Loita Wildlife Survey

James Allan

Map 12. Areas where community leaders protect wildlife. For key refer to Table 1. (Q. is wildlife protected in your area? By who? List all).

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Loita Wildlife Survey

James Allan

Summary: This summary is based on the impressions gathered whilst carrying out the surveys within the Loita Region, talking to people along the way and from analysis of the data. The report indicates that there is very heavy elephant poaching in the Loita Hills (Entasekera, Morijo and Mausa), especially in the Naimina Enkiyo Forest. People are no longer seeing elephants often, or at all, in these areas. This could explain why more elephants are being seen in the Enkutoto and Elangata Enterit (El/Enterit) regions as they move to escape danger. El/Enterit and Enkutoto are the only places where elephant sightings are reported to be regular and increasing. Elephants only use the Loita Plains to get at the salt licks. They travel from the west (Mara and North Western Loita Hills) through small bands of thick bush at night out towards the salt licks out in the plains. The people on the Loita plains resent the wildlife and see no value in them. Competition for grazing and transmission of diseases are the main causes. There seemed to be a strong sense of entitlement to benefits and compensation, probably because they live nearer the Mara and main roads/settlements. The people of El/Enterit and Enkutoto responded well to our presence and came across as keen to utilise their wildlife. They want to be treated as independent from the rest of the Loita region and have their own conservation plan. The people of the Loita Hills were easy to work with, there was a much stronger sense of community and their leaders seemed to be on board. Recommendations: 

  

Treat the “Loita Hills/forest”, “Loita Plains” and “El/Enterit – Enkutoto” regions as three separate entities. Work with each individually and tailor your approach based on the needs and potential of each area. Focus efforts on stopping poaching in the Loita Hills/forest. This is the heart of the Loitas, ensuring that wildlife can hide in the forest and be protected is essential to conservation in the region. Focus conservation short term conservation efforts on El/enterit region. The people were responsive and there is wildlife present. Ground truth the corridors of thick bush on the Loita plains to check for presence of wildlife, map the locations of salt licks. Focus on protection elephants should be a high priority due to the high levels of poaching while more investigations need to be done for the lions, lion numbers seem to be very low in the region.

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Presence and perception of wildlife in the loita hills december 2013  
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