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Kenya: Defending the Kenyan Maasai Mara from biodiversity loss through citizen science monitoring of wildlife

Goal: Defending the Kenyan Maasai Mara from biodiversity loss through citizen science monitoring of wildlife

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Matthias Hammer
added 2 research items
ABSTRACT Enonkishu Conservancy is on the northernmost boundary of the Mara-Serengeti Ecosystem (MSE). The conservancy is secured year to year by renting the land from Maasai title-deed owners who, as conservancy members, abide by land-use regulations (restricting permanent structures, arable farming, fences, utilisation of natural resources and regulating the number of livestock). The land rent for Enonkishu was first paid in 2014 and many wildlife species have re-inhabited the conservancy since then. As a result of this, resource competition between ungulates and livestock is a concern, especially because Enonkishu aims to be a showcase site for sustainable, community-based rangeland management. In 2019 Enonkishu started a cooperation with Biosphere Expeditions, based around an annual citizen science expedition, to help with monitoring and create more monitoring capacity. In 2020 the second one-month long citizen science wildlife monitoring expedition took place with the aim of continuing to develop monitoring strategies. The expedition undertook six monitoring methods to document a range of biodiversity across a range of spatial and temporal scales: (1) vehicle line transects to document mammal abundance, (2) ‘mammal mapping’ to cover spatial distribution of both wildlife and domestic animals inside and outside the conservancy, (3) bird mapping using the SABAP2 atlassing protocol at the pentad level, (4) waterhole monitoring to determine patterns of visitation of mammals, (5) biodiversity inventory of plants and miscellaneous wildlife using the iNaturalist global citizen science platform and (6) camera trapping using an established grid system as well as monitoring so-called hotspots of high animal activity. The results of the above in brief are: (1) warthog and impala remain the most common animals at Enonkishu; (2) there is clear spatial partitioning of domestic and wildlife mammals, with some overlap; (3) over 230 bird species were recorded in and around Enonkishu; (4) waterhole visitation was low due to high rainfall during this monitoring period; (5) over 300 records of a range of non-charismatic flora and fauna (plants and insects) were documented; (6) camera trapping confirmed impala as the dominant ungulate, but also produced sightings of rare or elusive animals (leopard and African civet), as well as documenting activity at the mineral claylick, used by baboon, impala, dik-dik, elephant and cattle. A high density of a range of wildlife was observed, including top predators and elephants. This suggests that the Enonkishu Conservancy is playing a valuable role in conservation in the northern Mara region. Enonkishu employs seven rangers who are responsible for protection of wildlife, livestock and people within the conservancy. Rangers are tasked with collecting data on wildlife populations. However, historic monitoring has been haphazard due to lack of resources. Therefore, next to collecting baseline data, another objective of the expedition was to introduce the rangers to automated data collection using the CyberTracker software. This software was used to record data during mammal mapping, line transects and waterhole monitoring. Date, time and GPS are recorded automatically by smartphones, and options are usually selected from lists, reducing data transcription errors. Rangers supported the expedition throughout and in doing so built their skills, confidence and pride in their work to such an extent that a less intensive version of monitoring can now be conducted in the absence of citizen scientists. In addition, two expedition days were dedicated to an educational workshop for participants from the Emarti Secondary School, which is the closest community to the Mara Training Centre expedition base. Participants introduced the students to monitoring protocol and wildlife, and engaged in discussions on the theme of protecting the environment. MUHTASARI Hifadhi ya Enonkishu iko kaskazini mwa mpaka ya mazingira ya Mara-Serengeti na inapata hifadhi wake kila mwaka kwa kukodisha ardhi kutoka kwa wenye hati ya umiliki wa ardhi wenye asili ya jamii ya maasai, ambao kama washiriki wa hafidhi hii hufuata kanuni za utumiaji wa ardhi (kutojenga majengo ya kudumu, kilimo endelevu, kutounda vizio, matumizi ya maliasili na kudhibiti idadi ya mifugo). Kodi ya ardhi ya Enonkishu ililipwa kwa mara ya kwanza mnamo 2014, spishi nyingi za wanyamapori wamerejea kwenye makaazi yao hivyo basi kuzua suala nyeti la ushindani wa rasilimali kati ya wanyama pori na mifugo haswaa ikizingatiwa kuwa Enonkishu inakusudia kuwa kielelezo njema kwa usimamizi endelevu katika harakati ya utunzaji wa rasilimali kwa njia inayo wahusisha jamii. Mnamo mwaka wa 2019, Enonkishu ilianzisha ushirikiano na kundi ya msafara,Biosphere Expeditons ambayo msingi yake huwahusisha raia wa sayansi ilikukuza uwezo na kuunga mkono harakati za utafiti ya ki ikolojia. Mnamo mwaka 2020, msafara wa pili wa raia wa sayansi katika shugli ya utafiti ya wanyama pori iliyo chukuwa mwezi moja, ilitendeka na lengo kuu lilikiwa ni kukuza mikakati mbalimbali ya utafiti. Msafara huo ulihushisha njia sita za kutafiti ilikunakili na kuorodhesha aina mbali mbali ya bioanuwai katika pande zote za jiographia.Njia hizo ni: (1) mikondo ya mstari ya gari ili kuorodhesha idadi ya wanyama,(2) Matumizi ya ramani ya mamalia, ili kuonyesha orodha ya wanyama kijiografia nje na ndani ya hifadhi ya wanyama, (3) matumizi ya ramani kuorodhesha aina mbali mbali ya ndege, kwa kutumia SABP2 chenye kiwango cha pentad (4) utafiti kwenye kisima cha maji ili kubaini mienendo ya mamalia (5) Orodha ya bioanuai ya mimea na wanyama pori kwa kutumia jukwa la sayansi ya raia wa ulimwengu wa iNaturalist na (6)Matumizi ya kamera zilizotegwa mbugani kwa mfumo wa gridi, pamoja na kuangalia sehemu zilizo na shugli nyingi za wanyama. Matokeo ya hapo juu kwa kifupi ni: (1)Ngiri na Swara ndio wanyama wa kawaida Enonkishu (2) Kuna ugavi kati ya wanyama pori na wanyama wakufugwa ingawa mwingiliano wao umeonekana. (3)Ndege zaidi ya miambili na thelathini wamenakiliwa ndani na nje ya Enonkishu ; (4) Ziara ya wanyama kwenye kisima cha maji ilikuwa chini kwasababu ya mvua kubwa ulioshuhudiwa wakati wa utafiti huo(5) rekodi zaidi ya 300 za aaina ya mimea isiyo ya haiba haiba na wanyama (mimea na wadudu) ziliandikwa(6) Utekaji wa kamera ulidhibitisha Swara ndiye mnyama anayetawala sehemu nyingi mbugani, isitoshe ilionyesha taswira ya wanyama adimu ama mashuhuri wakiwemo Chui na Ngawa. Shugli kwenye dimbwi la madini haswa ya Nyani, Swara, Diki diki, Tembo na Ng’ombe ilishuhudiwa. Uzani mkubwa wa idadi ya wanyama wa porini ulizingatiwa, pamoja na wanyama wanaowinda wanyama wengine na tembo. Hii inaonyesha kuwa Conservance ya Enonkishu inachukua jukumu muhimu katika uhifadhi katika mkoa wa kaskazini mwa Mara, hii ni ishara kuu kuwa hifadhi ya Enonkishu inachukuwa jukumu muhimu katika uhifadhi wa bioanuai kwenye mkoa wa kaskazini mwa Mara. Enonkishu imewaajiri walinzi saba wa mbugani, wenye wa jukumu la kuwatunza wanyama pori,mifugo na watu wanaoishi ndani ya hifadhi hilo. Walinzi hao wamepewa jukumu la kukusanya data ya idadi ya wanyamapori. Walakini, utafiti na ufuatiliaji wa historia imekuwa hasi kwasababu ya ukosefu wa rasilimali, kwa hivyo kusudi linguine la msafara huo wa raia wa sayansi nin kuanzisha masafa ya ukusanyaji data otomatiki kwa kutumia programu ya CyberTracker. Programu hii ilitumiwa kurekodi data wakati wa uchoraji wa ramani ya mamalia, kwenye mikondo ya mistari ya magari na utafiti na ufuatiliaji kwenye Kisima cha maji. Tarehe, wakati na ratiba za kijiografia zilirekodiwa kiotomatiki na simu mahiri isitoshe, kuchagua wanayama kutoka kwa orodha ilioko kwa programu hiyo basi imepunguza makosa ya uandishi wa data. Walinzi wa wanyama pori waliunga msafara huo mkono na kwa kufanya hivyo kupokea na kujenga ustadi ,ujasiri na fahari katika kazi zao kiasi kwamba, utafiti usiowakidharura waweza tekelezwa bia raia wa sayansi kuwepo. Kuongeza, siku mbili za msafara huo zilitengewa semina ilikuwaelimisha washiriki kutoka Shule ya Sekondari ya Emarti, ambayo ndio jamii ya karibu zaidi na Kituo cha Mafunzo cha Mara. Washiriki waliwajuza wanafunzi kuhusu itifaki za utafiti na ufuatiliaji wa wanyama pori, isitoshe, walishiriki kwenye majadiliano juu ya mada ya kulinda mazingira.
Enonkishu Conservancy is on the northernmost boundary of the Mara-Serengeti Ecosystem (MSE). The conservancy is secured year to year by renting the land from Maasai title-deed owners, who as conservancy members, abide by land-use regulations (restricting permanent structures, arable farming, fences, utilisation of natural resources and regulating the number of livestock). The land rent for Enonkishu was first paid in 2014 and although many wildlife species have re-inhabited the conservancy, monitoring them has been haphazard. Because Enonkishu aims to be a showcase site for sustainable, community-based rangeland management, resource competition between ungulates and livestock is a concern. Enonkishu employs seven rangers who are responsible for protection of wildlife, livestock and people within the conservancy. Rangers are tasked with collecting data on wildlife populations, but their training prior to the involvement of Biosphere Expeditions had been insufficient, resulting in unreliable data. An inaugural one-month long citizen science wildlife monitoring expedition was organised with Biosphere Expeditions to alleviate this, and took place from 3 February to 1 March 2019. A reliable wildlife monitoring programme was developed for the expedition and to inform livestock owners how many livestock can coexist with the wildlife population, without hindering its growth and establishment on Enonkishu. Monitoring methods used during the expedition included foot and vehicular patrol transects, waterhole observations, a hilltop observation point, and deploying camera traps. Thirty-six mammal species were observed in Enonkishu using these methods: aardvark (Orycteropus afer), African elephant (Loxodonta africana), African hare (Lepus microtis), banded mongoose (Mungos mungo), bat-eared fox (Otocyon megalotis), black and white colobus monkey (Colobus angolensis), black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas), brown greater galago (Otolemur Next to collecting baseline data, another objective of the expedition was to train the rangers to collect accurate data. Rangers supported the expedition throughout and in doing so built their skills, confidence and pride in their work to such an extent that a less intensive version of monitoring can now be conducted in the absence of citizen scientists. Enonkishu demonstrates how livestock can coexist with wildlife and enhance the ecosystem in such a way that both thrive, resulting in revenue for Maasai members who benefit from a more sustainable alternative to arable farming. The expedition demonstrated how a citizen science expedition at the interface of wildlife monitoring, community training and tourism can support a valuable showcase conservancy to the benefit of wildlife and people. Enonkishu rangers will continue collecting data using each method of wildlife monitoring monthly with another expedition team contributing to an intensive monitoring programme in February 2020. With a growing collection of data, Enonkishu will be able to track progress in increasing wildlife populations over time. MUHTASARI Hifadhi ya Enonkishu iko kaskazini mwa mpaka ya mazingira ya Mara-Serengeti na inapata uhifadhi wake kila mwaka kwa kukodisha ardhi kutoka kwa wenye hati ya umiliki wa ardhi wenye asili ya jamii ya maasai, ambao kama washiriki wa hafidhi hii hufuata kanuni za utumiaji wa ardhi (kutojenga majengo ya kudumu, kilimo endelevu, kutounda vizio, matumizi ya maliasili na kudhibiti idadi ya mifugo). Kodi ya ardhi ya Enonkishu ililipwa kwa mara ya kwanza mnamo 2014, ingawa spishi nyingi za wanyamapori wamerejea kwenye makaazi yao, utafiti haujakuwa na mpangilio unaofaa na kwa sababu Enonkishu inakusudia kuwa kielelezo cha usimamizi wenye misingi ya jamii na wenye uendelevu, ushindani wa rasilimali kati ya wanyama pori na mifugo ni suala nyeti. Enonkishu imewaajiri walinda mbuga ambao wamepewa jukumu na mamlaka ya kuwalinda wanyama pori, mifugo na wakaazi wa Enonkishu pamoja na kukusanya takwimu ya idadi ya wanyama pori. Hata hivyo mafunzo waliopata kwa kujihusisha na harakati za kutafiti na kundi la utafiti ya Biosphere Expeditions ni chache mno kiasi ya kwamba data inayokusanywa siyo yenye dhamana. Uzinduzi wa msafara wa utafiti wa wanyamapori iliyohusisha raia wa sayansi, uliandaliwa na kikundi cha Biosphere Expeditions nakufanyika kwa mwezi mmoja kutoka 3 Februari hadi 3 Machi 2019. Mpango huu wa utafiti wa wanyapori wenye uaminifu uliundwa na kundi hili ili kuwashauri na kuwajulisha wamiliki wa mifugo ni idadi ipi ya mifungo inaweza kuishi na idadi fulani ya wanyama pori bila kuzuia ukuzaji wake hapa Enonkishu. Baadhi ya njia za utafiti zilizotumika wakati wa utafiti huo ni kunakili takwimu za idadi ya wanyama pori wanapopiga doria kwa miguu na kwenye gari, kupiga doria kwenye bwawa la maji, kileleo cha milima na matumizi ya kamera za mitego zilizotundikwa msituni. Spishi thelathini na saba wakiwemo kiharara (Orycteropus afer), ndovu (Loxodonta africana), sungura (Lepus microtis), nguchiro wenye bendi (Mungos mungo), mbweha (Otocyon megalotis), mbega (Colobus angolensis), mbweha mwenye mngongo-mweusi (Canis mesomelas), komba (Otolemur crassicaudatus), pongo (Tragelaphus scriptus), nguruwe wa msituni (Potamochoerus larvatus), nyati (Syncerus caffer caffer), simbamangu (Caracal caracal), diki diki (Madoqua kirkii), nguchiro mbilikimo (Helogale parvula), pofu (Taurotragus oryx), twiga (Giraffa tippelskirchi), swala granti (Nanger granti), koke ya kongoni (Alcelaphus buselaphus), kiboko (Hippopotamus amphibius), cheche (Mellivora capensis), paa (Aepyceros melampus), ngurunguru (Oreotragus oreotragus), kanu mwenye madoadoa kubwa (Genetta tigrine), chui (Panthera pardus), simba (Panthera leo), tohe milima (Redunca fulvorufula), nyani (Papio anubis), kingubwa (Crocuta crocuta), swala wa aina ya thompson (Eudorcas thomsonii), nyamera (Damaliscus korricum), ngedere (Chlorocebus pygerythrus), ngiri (Phacochoerus africanus), kuro (Kobus ellipsiprymnus), nguchiro mwenye mkia nyeupe (Ichneumia albicauda), nyumbu mwenye ndevu nyeupe (Connochaetes taurinus), na punda milia (Equus quagga) walionekana Enonkishu. Kando na hayo, lengo lingine la kukusanya takwimu za msingi kwenye utafiti ilikuwa kutoa mafunzo kwa walinzi wa mbuga ili wakusanye data sahihi. Walinzi wa mbuga waliunga mkono na kushiriki kwenye utafiti huu na kwa kufanya hivo kujenga ujuzi wao, ujasiri na majivuno kwa kiasi kwamba wameweza kutekeleza utafiti huu usiowakina bila usaidizi wa raia wa kisayansi. Enonkishu imefaulu kuonyesha jinsi mifugo zinaweza kuishi kwa pamoja na wanyamapori na kuboresha mazingira kwa njia ambayo wote wanastawi na kuzalisha mapato kwa wanachama ambao wamenufaika kutokana na shuguli za utalii ambayo ni mbadala kwa kilimo. Ziara ya Utafiti huu ulionyesha jinsi raia wasayansi wakitafiti wanyamapori, kuwafunza jamii na shuguli za utalii inaumuhimu kwa kuboresha jamii na wanyama pori. Walinzi wa mbuga ya Enonkishu wataendelea kukusanya data ya wanyama pori kila mwezi kwa kutumia kila mbinu za kukusanya takwimu hadi wakati ambapo msafara ya wana raia wanasayansi wataiunga na kushiriki katika mpango wa kina wa kukusanya takwimu mwaka ujao wa 2020. Pamoja na ukusanyaji mkubwa wa takwimu, Enonkisu itakuwa na uwezo wa kufuatilia iwapo idadi ya wanyama pori inaongezeka kila mara.
Matthias Hammer
added a project goal
Defending the Kenyan Maasai Mara from biodiversity loss through citizen science monitoring of wildlife