Conservancy Update - " The Lions gave me my sight back"

One of the biggest challenges we face in wildlife conservation, is human-wildlife conflict.  70% of Kenya's wildlife co-exists with communities on land outside of the protected areas, giving daily contact between people and wildlife.
In the case of the big cats, they are being poisoned or speared in retaliation for livestock loss.

We have talked about strengthening the enclosures with chainlink wire fences and strong wooden posts, which are proving to be an effective method of protecting the community's livestock.  However, many communities are still striking back.  The Kenya Wildlife Trust (KWT) are rolling out community projects across the country which will seek to reward communities who refrain from retaliating.

KWT's research team discovered the need of an eye clinic in the Amboseli area - a core wildlife area where KWT operates in.  KWT decided to collaborate with the Lion Guardians program to reap the benefits of the eye clinic.  Phase one of the project targeted and screened different communities in the Olgulului and Eselenkei Group Ranches in Amboseli.  The screen team stayed at Porini Amboseli Camp, and consisted of two doctors who visited six locations to screen patients over six days.  During this period, the team treated over 500 patients with a variety of medication and eye drops.  It was made clear to each patient, that the benefits they were receiving was due to their tolerance of lions and peaceful coexistence with wildlife.

Phase two of the project was for patients who registered during the screening process.  Gamewatchers Safaris transported patients from Loirero, Iltuleta and Lenkisem to the clinic that was being set up to the Esiteti School.  Two classrooms were allocated to the clinic for the week, one for any surgeries and one for "inpatients".   Once again, patients were advised that the KWT program was linked the Lion Guardians program and visuals of these reminders were set up accordingly.

KWT witnessed many successful operations, and the impact of the eye clinic played a huge part in favouring the support towards reducing human-wildlife conflict within the various communities.  Word spread through the region, and the clinic attracted many walk-in patients.  Patients started referring to the KWT medical team as the "Lion's Doctors" which reinforced their understanding of the link between their treatments and the Lion Guardians program whose main focus is lion conservation.

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