Mara Predator Conservation Program

Supporting stable, healthy predator populations in the Greater Mara Ecosystem by providing scientific evidence for conservation action.

The Project works to protect vulnerable predator populations and empower and educate local communities and stakeholders about conservation and environmental stewardship. They understand that without the active participation of communities living in wildlife areas, conservation initiatives will not be successful.

Research efforts focus on three predator species; lions, cheetahs and wild dogs. The Masai Mara has Kenya’s most closely monitored lion and cheetah populations, in terms of robust and consistent density estimates.

Around 459 resident lions (>1 year) live within the Mara’s protected areas. Lion collars are used to gain valuable insights into the spatial ecology of this species, particularly their movements across and onto unprotected land and to document potential conflicts with local communities.

Cheetah populations are declining at a rapid rate. Only 22 adult cheetahs are resident within the Mara’s protected areas. The main causes of their decline in Africa are attributed to direct persecution due to livestock predation, habitat fragmentation and depletion of their preferred wild prey species.

Following a local extinction in the 1990’s due to an outbreak of canine distemper, a couple of small packs of wild dogs have returned into the region.

With increasing incidents of human-wildlife conflicts being reported across the region, various mitigation measures are being introduced to try and enhance livestock security and therefore improve tolerance towards predators by communities that live close to conservation areas.

The introduction of recycled plastic pole bomas (corrals), chainlink fencing and predator deterrent lights have proved to be effective in preventing nighttime attacks by predators. Livestock herder training sessions aim to equip herders with improved herding practice skills. The programme has created a network of  herders who can report conflicts and predator sightings to the Lion Ambassadors and other relevant authorities.

Wildlife poisoning remains a major threat to the survival of predators (including birds of prey) in the Mara. In response to this, MPCP works to create awareness through establishing a network of groups to assist in curbing the spread of poisoning incidents.

The following are the main areas where we have provided support most recently:

  • USD 5,000 (KES 700,000) donated in July 2023 to purchase a lion collar
  • We have so far provided 43 free of charge seats (worth USD 6,500) on our Governors’ Aviation aircraft for the MPCP team.
  • Sponsored annual School Wildlife Clubs’ activities
  • Running livestock herder training sessions
  • Purchase and installation of predator-proof bomas
  • Purchase and installation of predator deterrent lights
  • Paying the salary of a Lion Ambassador
  • Printing the quarterly Predator Post Magazine
  • Our camps also serve as important venues for their team to give presentations to guides, ensuring that our team fully understand predator dynamics in the Mara.

Interested guests can assist the project by supplying clear predator photographs, which are used to create and build ID catalogues.

If booked in advance, a presentation followed by dinner in camp can be arranged for our guests. There is a minimum donation requirement of USD300 (for 1-3 guests) and USD500 (for 4 or more guests) for this.