In 2015 we will celebrate 14 years of cheetah conservation action in Kenya. Carnivores, Livelihoods and Landscapes (CaLL) is the registered organization supporting Action for Cheetahs in Kenya (ACK) andthe COOL Crafts project. ACK is guided by a board of directors and a scientific advisory committee while continuing to work closely with local wildlife authorities and land holders to develop policies and programs which support wildlife conservation and human livelihoods for long-term sustainability of human and wildlife zones. ACK researchers work in collaboration with the KWS under a permit through the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. The project receives support and technical advice from CCF and from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI). ACK links with the University of Nairobi and other in-situ large carnivore programs to assure comparative information. The main focus of ACK’s research in Kenya is the evaluation of farmland ecosystems for the long-term habitat viability for the cheetah. Our accomplishments (2002 – 2012) have been:
1 - Evaluation of the status of cheetahs in the Nakuru, Laikipia and Machakos Wildlife Forums (2002-4). Interviews from these wildlife forums formed the base of our work in Kenya. Results gave us the baseline for the national survey and assisted in developing future questionnaires. Cheetahs face different issues in each zone depending on game density, land use and level of community benefits from tourism
2 - National Cheetah Survey (2004-7, current). This project linked KWS, East African Wildlife Society and CCF to understand the status of cheetahs throughout Kenya following goals set in the 2003 Global Cheetah Workshop in Tanzania. Data from the 2004-2007 survey was critical for the future of cheetah conservation efforts in Kenya through the development of the Regional and National Strategic Plan for Wild Dogs and Cheetahs (2010). Student projects using data from this survey included acheetah population dynamics and national distribution by Mary Wykstra (Master of Environmental Management - Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies 2011, USA), and course work in GIS showing evidence for modelling of high priority conservation actions throughout the cheetah range by KWS Scientist, Bernard Kuloba (MSc 2011, Netherlands). The first stakeholder meeting with carnivore specialists from the region was held in May 2014 to begin the planning of the second national survey.
3 - Case Study of Cheetah movements and relationship to cheetah livestock conflicts (2004-7). This case study was the baseline for cheetah movement in the Salama region and the need for conservation programmes in community areas. This study justified permission for additional collaring. The female cheetah had a core home range of 23 km2 and spent a great deal of time in close proximity to livestock. With the presence of 7 - 30 cheetahs in the area the number of livestock killing was not as high as one would expect considering the land use changes and habitat availability.
4 – Cheetah monitoring and Community Development in the Salama Ecosystem (2004 – current). Student programmes included habitat and settlement monitoring conducted in the MSc project (2006-2007) for Cosmas Wambua (Master of Science (MSc) 2008- Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia), an evaluation of dog use as a conservation tool by Floris D’Udine (MSc 2009 - University College London, England), evaluation of bait for luring cheetahs for telemetry deployment by Erica Hermsen (MSc 2012 - Antioch University), and evaluation of cheetah prey preferences through fecal hair analysis in the various land use areas of the Salama and Athi-Kapiti study sites by Noreen Mutoro (MSc 2014, University of Nairobi). ACK provides on-going employment and continuing education for three community scouts. We have evaluated sustainable development through a cattle dip programme where the community manages a business and ACK monitors the effects of the project on community conservation views. Tree planting, bee keeping and water harvesting projects have also been a part of our community work. These studies form the baseline for further analysis of cheetah population status, prey selection and cheetah health.
5 – Cheetah Monitoring in the Samburu Ecosystem(2009-current). Studies in this area evaluate the status and trends of cheetahs in the Samburu and Buffalo Springs Reserves and in surrounding communities of the West Gate and Meibae Conservancies. A radio collar pilot project in affiliation with Save the Elephants was conducted in 2010 – the collar failed due to water in the battery casing after 2.5 months but results show high movement during night hours. Habitat evaluations provide an understanding cheetah ecology in this region. Six cheetah field officers are given employment and continuing education for conservation empowerment in the region. A field base in this region was established in 2014 to allow improved access to the area for carnivore studies and conflict mitigation.
6 - Establishment of Community Conservancy in Wajir (2013 - current). In November 2013, ACK linked with the Wajir South Member of Parlaiment to initiate an application for a conservancy in the southern section of the Wajir county. KWS and community partners were brought together in early 2014 to identify the area and initiate the community participation in the project.
7. Consultations with the Galana Conservancy (2014 - current). Materials developed for cheetah and habitat monitoring in the ACK study sites are being used to set up carnivore monitoring in the Galana Ranch near Tsavo West National Park. Training of field officers and data analysis by ACK staff will continue in the coming years to assure constancy and comparability to other cheetah population regions.
Support our work
ACK needs your help to support our scouts and the community so we can accomplish our goal of conservation of the cheetahs in Kenya. With your help we can continue our research and conversation activities.
- Plant 10 Trees - $10 each
- Support a school visit - $30 each
- Rain Gear - $50 each
- Sponsor a scout - $200 each