Spreading the conservation message to local children

As part of our ongoing work to improve the relationship between wildlife and communities, Gamewatchers Safaris and Porini Camps recently invited 42 students from neighbouring schools to the Ol Kinyei Conservancy situated in the Maasai Mara to visit the Porini Mara Camp and to experience a game drive in the conservancy.

The company is the pioneer of community-owned conservancies in Kenya, with land being leased from Maasai communities and set aside as wildlife habitat. Following the establishment of Selenkay Conservancy (Amboseli) in 1997 and Ol Kinyei Conservancy in 2005, the company has striven to strengthen the relationship between Maasai communities and wildlife.

With human-wildlife conflict on the rise due to growing human populations encroaching on wildlife territories, exposing children to wildlife and allowing them to understand the importance of wildlife and habitat conservation is of paramount importance to the security of flora and fauna in Kenya’s ecosystems. Many of the children visiting Ol Kinyei Conservancy and Porini Mara Camp during the month of April had never seen elephants, lions or cheetahs before, with many of the big cats being viewed in a negative light due to attacks on their treasured livestock.

However, having now seen the wildlife from a game drive vehicle and being educated by our skilled local Maasai safari guides and spotters, the children began to appreciate and understand what makes the conservancies so important as a wildlife sanctuary and also for creating employment opportunities for the local population. Exposing youth to wildlife allows them to understand why Kenya is one of the world’s best tourism destinations.

Over the next year, the company is hoping to have many more students and community members visit the conservancy, with the expectation of continued improvements in viewing wildlife and the need to conserve them in a more positive light. 

School children try out a swing chair in Porini Mara Camp

Seeing the kitchen in Porini Mara Camp

Teachers and pupils from Ol Kinyei Primary School with Porini Mara Camp staff and Managing Director Jake Grieves-Cook

The school pupils learn from Silver Guide Jackson Liaram about managing a safari camp