Project updates from July are now available online. This update features some publicity from Africa Geographic and Cincinnati Zoo. In this issue, you can also read about our DVD night (with record attendance!), health management practices of the livestock guarding dogs, and more! Download the July 2014 Project Report
Project updates from June are now available online. This issue covers a special visit from Paul Funston, Panthera’s lion expert and a visit from representatives of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Also included is a summary of the Ruaha Roundtable, challenges for the livestock guarding dog programme, and more. Download the June 2014 Project Update
Project updates from May are now available online. In this update, you can read about livestock guarding dogs (LSGDs), redesigning bomas, Simba Scholars, and more! Download the May 2014 Project Update
Take a look at our project updates from April. Read about the Lion Guardians, Simba Scholar selections, and see some great camera trap pictures! Download the Project Update from April 2014
RCP 2013 Annual Report for donors The Ruaha Carnivore Project’s 2013 annual report is now available online! Read about our focuses of 2013 and the progress that was made throughout the year.
Become a virtual explorer of the wildest place in Africa, the Ruaha Landscape, with RCP’s Ruaha Explorers’ Club. REC members pay a fee to sponsor one of our camera traps as it moves throughout this relatively uncharted area. RCP uses camera traps on park and village land to collect data on large carnivores and their prey species. Each camera’s images and GPS coordinates are posted on a Facebook page designated for that camera, giving Explorers a unique insight into the work of RCP and the wonders of Ruaha’s wildlife. All proceeds go to support the carnivore conservation work of the Ruaha Conservation Project. More cameras are being put out soon, so put your pith helmet on and your feet up and let Africa come to you! For more information on this fun and educational initiative, visit our Facebook page. To inquire about sponsoring a camera, message us on Facebook.
Mongabay.com, the popular website that focuses on environmental and conservation issues, has published an in-depth interview with Dr. Amy Dickman about the Ruaha Carnivore Project’s work in the Ruaha landscape of southern Tanzania. Read the interview at http://news.mongabay.com/2013/0910-hance-dickman-ruaha.html.
We are thrilled to announce that RCP’s Community Liaison Officer, Ayubu Msago, has been selected as one of the Disney Conservation Heroes for 2013! Msago truly deserves this honour – he has dedicated his whole career to wildlife conservation and has made huge positive impacts on both people and wildlife.
In 2009, Msago was part of the small team that started RCP under very difficult conditions – there were only 3 people living in small tents in a very remote wilderness area, and the local tribe, the Barabaig, were extremely secretive and hostile. Msago worked tirelessly to build a field camp for the project and spent years patiently trying to build relationships with the Barabaig, who were killing an extremely high number of lions, usually in response to attacks upon livestock. One night, a young Barabaig girl went missing, and Msago helped organize a search party for her and searched for 3 days till she was found, very dehydrated but alive, in the bush. This helped him bond with the fearsome Barabaig warriors, and enabled him to become the first outsider that they accepted and were willing to work with.
Msago also hashelped villagers protect their livestock from carnivores by constructing more than 50 predator-proof corrals, and not a single head of livestock has been lost in one of these enclosures. Msago works tirelessly to help villagers prevent carnivore attacks, and even heroically saved the life of a villager who was being attacked by a lion, at extreme risk to his own life. With only one bullet left in his gun, he chose to protect the villager rather than save a bullet in case it was needed in self-defence, and chased the lion off by shooting over her head.
Long-term conservation depends upon local people seeing real benefits from conservation, so Msago has also worked endlessly to develop meaningful community benefit initiatives. He worked with the national government to equip a healthcare clinic, helped establish secondary school scholarships for pastoralist children and developed a program to link village schools with international schools. He is endlessly passionate about conservation – he conducts wildlife DVD nights in local villages, which have engaged over 10,000 people so far, and has taken hundreds of warriors, women and schoolchildren on educational visits to the nearby National Park. Living in a small, remote tent, hundreds of miles from his wife and children, Msago is making a huge difference to the conservation of over a tenth of the world’s remaining lions, while also helping local communities see real benefits from carnivore presence. His dedication, passion and patience have played a huge role in RCP’s success – lion killings have declined in the core study area by 70%, and that could never have been achieved without Msago – he truly is a conservation hero and we are thrilled that he has received this international recognition.
In her next visit to the United States in late March/early April, Dr. Amy Dickman, Director of the Ruaha Carnivore Project, has public talks scheduled in Des Moines, Iowa, and Houston, Texas.
Amy will be speaking at Des Moines’ Blank Park Zoo on March 28 as part of the zoo’s 2013 Conservation Series. A social lasting from 6:00 p.m. will be followed by Amy’s presentation at 7:00. Tickets are $15 for zoo members and $20 for nonmembers and can be purchased here.
On April 9, Amy will speak at the Houston Zoo as part of its Call of the Wild series. The Houston Zoo’s Brown Education Center Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and Amy’s presentation will begin at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $12 for nonmembers and $10 for members. Click here to purchase tickets for the event.
Please revisit this page as additional public events will be added as they are confirmed.
In late February 2013, the Ruaha Carnivore Project (RCP) launched a subsidised veterinary medicine programme that provides high-quality medicines to Ruaha-area pastoralists at a subsidised cost. The programme is in response to a survey of local villagers conducted by RCP, asking what benefits they would most appreciate from carnivore presence.
The medicines are available to people who have worked with RCP to fence their bomas (livestock enclosures), to reward those who have invested in predator-proofing and to encourage others to follow suit. And, because the majority of livestock loss in this area is due to illness and injury, not wildlife depredation, the medicines will help villagers reduce losses to disease, thereby improving their economic security.
We are grateful to the American Zoos and Aquariums Conservation Endowment Fund for helping us purchase and distribute the medicine.
Now donors have another option for giving to the Ruaha Carnivore Project. The Houston Zoo has launched a website for the conservation of lions as part of the American Zoo and Aquarium’s Lion Species Survival Plan. The Ruaha Carnivore Project is one of four organizations featured on the site, which can be found at http://www.houstonzoo.org/
We’re grateful to the Houston Zoo, the Denver Zoo (which partnered with Houston on this), and the American Zoo and Aquarium Association for including us on this gorgeous website. Please check it out!
The Ruaha Carnivore Project (RCP) has awarded its first six Simba Scholarships to pastoralist children in the area. Simba Scholarships are four-year scholarships to secondary boarding schools and cover all costs including books, uniforms and mattresses.
Unlike in the Serengeti area, area villagers see few tangible benefits from living just outside Ruaha National Park but suffer the consequences—namely livestock lost to lions and hyaenas. To address this, RCP surveyed area residents about what benefits they would like to see. Better access to education was one of the most commonly named priorities.
RCP created Simba Scholarships to fill that need. Because primary education is free but secondary education isn’t, many pastoralist children—whose families often exist on less than $2 per day—are forced to drop out of school. Also, the pastoralists’ semi-nomadic lifestyle on the furthest edges of communities makes attending school difficult. For these reasons, the Simba Scholarships are awarded to pastoralist children who show need but also a desire to continue their education.
The Simba Scholars begin their secondary education at Idodi Secondary School in mid-February.
Meet our first three Simba Scholars:
Isaya Kuyesa is a Maasai boy from Tungamalenga village. He comes from a poor pastoralist family with five children – he is the third and has one sister and three brothers. He enjoys playing football (soccer) and reading.
Herieth Charles is a Sukuma girl who lives in Idodi village. She likes reading and wants to be a nurse when she grows up. Her father died a few years ago, which always leaves the wives and children very vulnerable. Her father had several wives and other children, and when he died the other wives took all the cattle and abandoned Herieth’s mother and her four children. Herieth lives in the centre of the village but is usually alone there, which is not a great situation for a young woman, so it is great that she will be boarding at secondary school from now on.
Grace Nchachi is a Maasai girl from Idodi village. Her interests are reading and netball. Her father has three wives and seven children, and she is the child of the first wife and has a brother and a sister as well as four half-siblings.
Check back here soon for bios for the other three Simba Scholars