Northern Tanzania Big Cats Conservation Initiative
Based in the great Maasai Steppe, this program focuses on the conservation of one of Tanzania’s most threatened lion populations. Because lions range widely outside of the narrow Tarangire National Park, conflict with Maasai pastoralists and their livestock is frequent and hostile. APW’s early lion conservation efforts focused on understanding the nature of lion-livestock conflict with the Maasai by developing a simple, community-led monitoring system for verifying and recording lion (and other large carnivore) attacks on livestock.
Today, monitoring data produced by these local teams directs our lion conservation efforts and the installation of APW’s highly successful Living Walls. A Living Wall is a structure which combines traditionally planted indigenous Commiphora tree species, interlinked with chain link fencing, to reinforce corral walls in order to prevent lions and other large carnivores from penetrating the livestock corral and panicking livestock. Local herdsmen contribute one quarter of the cost of the chain link fencing.
With more than 500 Living Walls currently in place, we are safely securing 100,000 head of livestock nightly and positively impacting approximately 10,000 adults and children. Local monitoring shows lion attacks on livestock dropped precipitously and the Maasai kill fewer lions each year. In fact, no lions have been killed at corrals fortified with Living Walls.