Big Life works to protect the Greater Amboseli, 1.6 million acres at the center of one of the largest remaining savanna ecosystems in Africa. They collaborate with local communities to address poaching, human-wildlife conflict (HWC) and habitat destruction.
Amboseli is home to 2,000 elephants, 200 lions, 8 Eastern black rhinos and many other native species. Unfortunately, over 50 known elephants have been poached here since 2011, but Big Life is helping to reduce those numbers dramatically, such that only one was poached in 2017. They train, equip and employ local Maasai rangers to help in this effort. The program consists of hundreds of community rangers & field staff, over 2 dozen permanent outposts, mobile ranger units, tracker dogs and surveillance planes. The rangers conduct daily patrols on foot and by vehicle to detect and intercept illegal activity, monitor field cameras, and use night-vision and GPS to thwart poachers.
Human Wildlife Conflict can present an even bigger threat to animals, as people will sometimes kill those who raid their crops, kill their livestock, or harm them directly. Six elephants were killed here for these reasons in 2017, and seven more were victims of attacks (but recovered thanks to Big Life and their partners). Mobile ranger units help mitigate the frequency and aftermath of these events, acting as rapid response ‘buffers’ between humans and wildlife. While in the field, these same rangers help protect the very habitat to which it owes its wildlife abundance by preventing illegal logging, farming & charcoaling and by assisting in forest fire suppression.
In 2018 Bently Foundation awarded Big Life with a $100,000 grant to help support their ranger program and to make necessary structural & technological improvements to four of Big Life’s outposts in Kimana Sanctuary.
After an inspirational visit to Big Life in which we were truly able to put their security forces to the test*, Bently Foundation was inspired to award this exemplary organization with two additional $100,000 grants in 2020. These grants will support Big Life’s intricate anti-poaching intelligence program and their mobile ranger forces.