In early 2011 ElephantVoices launched "Elephant Partners", an elephant conservation project based in the Maasai Mara ecosystem. The goal of Elephant Partners is to develop a working model for citizens to monitor and protect elephants. As an iconic landscape species elephants are important to the survival of the Mara. They play a key role in the ecosystem and, through tourism, in the local economy. Yet, the Mara elephants are currently threatened by habitat loss, human-elephant conflict and ivory poaching. Many elephants are killed each year and an even greater number are wounded by spears, arrows and snares. By engaging people in the monitoring and protection of elephants, we hope to engender enthusiasm for the collective custodianship necessary to protect elephants and the ecosystem. To achieve its vision Elephant Partners must serve and belong to everyone including the many conservancies of Mara North Conservancy, Enonkishu Conservancy, Olare Motorogi Conservancy, Mara Naboisho Conservancy and Ol Kinyei Conservancy
Gnu Landscapes," a name that hints at our two main interests - wildebeest and changes in the landscapes they inhabit. At the core of Gnu Landscapes is the NSF-supported project called "Wildebeest Forage Acquisition in Fragmented Landscapes Under Variable Climates." In the project, we are studying wildebeest that live in southwestern Kenya. These animals migrate between areas they live in in different times of the year. The landscapes these migratory animals move through are changing. The rangelands they use are being converted into agricultural areas, fenced to enclose or exclude animals, developed for houses, or turned into roads. The climate of these rangelands is changing as well. What we are exploring has not been well studied, how fragmentation and drought together affect migratory animals.
Mara Cheetah Project
The global cheetah population is rapidly dwindling and with less than 10,000 individuals left in the wild, cheetahs are vulnerable to extinction. At present, the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem is one of the two remaining strongholds for the global cheetah population. The Maasai Mara Cheetah Project (MMCP), led by Ms Femke Broekhuis of Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU), will determine the current status of cheetahs in the Greater Mara ecosystem and to identify the major threats that could be causing declines in the current cheetah population.
The Mara Naboisho Lion Project
The Mara Naboisho Lion Project is an ongoing lion research project working on conserving lions in Kenya. The aim of this lion project is for lions to be able to continue to thrive in the wild and live in great numbers just like people picture them. Today, only a maximum of 25,000 lions remain on the African continent and under 2,000 of them are living in Kenya, this is a 90 percent decline from the number of animals that roamed the continent 50 years ago. If action for their conservation and well-being is not taken soon, it will not be many years before one can only watch lions in captivity and future generations will not be able to experience these wonderful creatures in the wild and in their natural environment.