Action for Cheetahs in Kenya
Updated: May 13, 2022
We appreciate the incredible work done by our field officers in the Meibae Community Conservancy. Our Field Officer Supervisor, Chris Lentaam and his team of Learker Lbitiri, Maxwell Lemartile, Kivoi Lengojine, and Dominic Loltianya, collect data via ‘patrols’ and ‘transects’ within our community. ‘Patrols’ are a way of collecting data on wildlife distribution where each field officer chooses the area to work based on covering an entire research block over the course of each month. During patrols, the field officers interact with their community while recording wildlife and predator sightings and verifying reports. In total, our field team has completed 726 patrols. While our officers walk through the savanna it is common for them to see tracks of animals to verify that key species are in the area – tracks of cheetahs, bat-eared fox, caracal, aardvark, giraffe, elephants, lions and so much more are recorded by our officers.
‘Transects’ are like patrols but more structured and timed with each one being a 5km length of land that our officers must go through. The Field Officers have four transects to walk that is done on the same day of the week to reduce double counting. A transect has a set start point, path, and endpoint. The field office walks in a direct path and records the animals and tracks that he sees on his way. This is conducted with repetition to calculate predator/prey density and abundance based on a sample of the area’s habitat and typical land use. Data analysis helps us to find trends of the cheetahs and other species in the area. Our field officers then share this information with the community during their patrols. Our hope is that this access to information and science will drive policies for conservation management. Our officers have completed a total of 140 walking line transects to support our work.
It is important for our field officers to stay connected with our community members. We appreciate the community for reporting cheetah presence and their commitment to, promoting co-existence. When one of our field officers finds evidence of reported cheetahs in the area, we all rejoice. The shy nature of the cheetah in a landscape shared with humans makes cheetahs difficult to see on a regular basis. Even cheetah tracks and scat in the community ignite our hope for continued protection from humans and the future growth of the cheetah population in Samburu. Data collected by our field officers indicates that cheetahs are one of the most reported predators in the area – which can be both good and bad news. On one hand, we are excited that cheetahs are occupying the area. On the other hand, we don’t want cheetahs to be perceived as local villains with livestock predation.