Community Coexistence Training
Helping livestock communities to co-exist with lions
and protect critically endangered vultures
The Peregrine Fund has introduced the Community Coexistence Training Program in response to requests for help from local livestock owners to reduce livestock killed by lions and avoid lions being killed in retaliation. Often highly toxic pesticides are use to kill 'problem' carnivores. This indiscriminately poisons critically endangered vultures.
Community Coexistence Training Courses are designed to help communities to make the connections between pesticide/herbicide contamination and the illness or death of their livestock, whilst empowering individuals with the skills and knowledge to better protect their livelihoods.
This is a Coexistence Co-op initiative and supports our
Collaring for Coexistence programme and our Lion Rangers Programme.
The Coexistence Co-op is a partnership between Lion Landscapes
and The Peregrine Fund to REDUCE livestock lost to large carnivores,
and STOP the resultant use of highly toxic pesticides to kill 'problem'
carnivores, and that indiscriminately poison critically endangered vultures.
Community Coexistence Courses train the communities on:
How to better protect their livestock through constructing predator-proof bomas (livestock corrals)
Improving daytime herding practices
Improving livestock management.
We also recognize that community groups, village elders and government workers typically do not understand the impact of individual poisoning incidents and have little idea about how to respond if a poisoning occurs in their area.
Poisoning Awareness Topics:
Hazards associated with using poisons and secondary poisoning
Signs and symptoms of wildlife poisoning
Basic information on chemicals commonly used
Personal safety and basic equipment required
Decontaminating a poisoning site
Photo: Ami Vitale
Photo: Ami Vitale
Each course is a full day and care is taken to include a mix of community members (sexes, age groups and social standing) and include local healthcare workers wherever possible. This approach has already been shown to be an effective way of changing behaviours.
Our goal is to reduce human-predator conflict, reduce poisoning incidents that are often triggered by human-wildlife conflict and are the main cause of death for critically endangered vultures.
Photo: Darcy Ogada
Results since the Community Coexistence Training Programme started in June 2018:
1500 people in the Communities have been trained
99% of trainees said poisoning declined in their communities after training
660 Predator Proof Boma's have been built
27 Vultures have been tracked
How can you help?
We want to organise 80 community coexistence training sessions in the next year. Then 1200 people in the community will be trained to understand the impact of individual poisoning incidents and how to respond if a poisoning occurs in the area.
Poisoning Detection Kits
Car fuel and
Community Coexistence Training Partners:
The Peregrine Fund, The Nature Conservancy, Tusk Trust, Houston Zoo, San Diego Zoo Global, Living With Lions, KWS (Kenya Wildlife Service), Save the Elephants, Will's Africa Trust, University of Oxford WildCRU, Loisaba Conservancy, Sosian Ranch, Suyian Ranch, Mugie Conservancy.
The Laikipia-Samburu ecosystem is of global conservation significance for populations of black rhino, elephant, wild dog, Grevy’s zebra, Rüppell’s vultures, as well as Kenya’s 3rd largest lion population. These threatened species share the semi-arid landscape with people and livestock. Lions are normally the hardest of all the large carnivores for people to share the landscape with, but the region supports an estimated 250-300 individuals. The region is also a stronghold for critically endangered vultures. Laikipia’s commercial ranches and conservancies are particularly important for lions; supporting almost 80% of the population and replenishing numbers in the surrounding communities, where conflict is higher. The pastoral communities support lower densities of lions, but lion-human coexistence in these areas is critical for preventing retaliatory poisonings, while simultaneously ensuring landscape-scale connectivity and lion populations remain stable inside the commercial ranches, conservancies and reserves.
Community lands are under increasing pressure due to the rapid growth of human and livestock populations. Vast numbers of livestock not only diminish wild prey numbers, but also become an easy target and source of prey for lions. As livestock sustains families, its loss due to predation results in severe financial hardship and without immediate help livestock owners often retaliate against carnivores using poisons. Since 2002, 89 lions have been poisoned in Laikipia with ramifying consequences for vultures and other scavengers, as well as threatening human health. Vultures are disproportionate victims of poisoning and populations have crashed by >80% over three generations due primarily to the retaliatory poisoning of carnivores. Similarly, lion populations have declined across their range by more than 50% over the last two decades.The collapse of these threatened species is intricately linked.
The Coexistence Co-op is a joint initiative between Lion Landscapes and The Peregrine Fund, working in collaboration with local conservation partners and communities to reduce livestock killing by lions and stop retaliatory poisoning that particularly threatens vultures. Our holistic education, training and conflict management program works directly with livestock owners to build their capacity to prevent livestock depredation, and to address the widespread issue of wildlife poisoning through a One Health approach that emphasises rapid response. At the foundation of this new initiative are our Lion Rangers and Community Coexistence Training programmes, which are supported by our Collaring for Coexistence Programme.