The “Pride of Amboseli” Project: using predator-proof bomas to reduce human-lion conflict in the Amboseli ecosystem, Kenya 

In 2010, the Born Free Foundation (BFF) initiated the “Pride of Amboseli” project to reduce human-lion conflict and promote coexistence through the construction of predator-proof bomas (PPBs). Amboseli, where rural livelihoods are predominantly based on livestock, is a hotspot for human-lion conflict, particularly livestock predation. A single loss of an animal can derive the Maasai of their livelihood and result in retaliatory killings of lions; an average of 18 lions were killed per year between 2001-2006, and this was in an area estimated to have fewer than 100 individuals at the time. Only 50 were estimated to remain when the project began four years later. PPBs enable pastoralists to keep their livestock safe at night, thus indirectly safeguarding the lion population in Amboseli.

BFF has built >275 PPBs, protecting 83,000 livestock and the livelihoods of 5,800 pastoralists. In 2015, we initiated the “smart” components of the PPBs, including solar lighting, energy-saving stoves, and water harvesting structures to enhance rural development. Smart PPBs have significant positive impacts on the quality of living for pastoralist families, whilst also protecting carnivores and reducing pressure on lion habitat for fuelwood. To date, no livestock have been killed inside PPBs. Lion numbers are subsequently rebounding thanks to this and other NGO efforts in the landscape: there are now approximately 200 individuals, up from an estimated 50 at the beginning of the project. By Emily Neil from Born Free Foundation.