Most people who care about Wildlife are by now aware that the African Elephant and Rhino are teetering on the edge of extinction due to ivory and Rhino horn poaching. What many don't know is that Lions are also in alarming decline. We learned this through films such as "The Last Lions" by Derek & Beverly Joubert, the South African couple that has made several award winning films about Lions in Botswana's Okavango Delta. Not long after viewing the film at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival in 2013 we were introduced - by our friend and intrepid Wildlife defender Ann Smith - to Laly Lichtenfeld, co-founder of the African People and Wildlife. APW works in Tanzania for the benefit of the Maasai people and Lions. Laly and her husband had become aware of the decline of Lions in Northern Tanzania, much of it due to the Maasai tradition of killing Lions as retribution for killing their cattle. Consequently the two searched for a solution that would benefit both people and predators. In partnership with the Maasai they devised an innovative plan called "Living Walls" which consists of surrounding Maasai Bomas (livestock enclosures) with chain link fencing that is secured by planting living trees that serve as fence posts. Within months these trees engulf the fencing and grow to heights that Lions and Leopards cannot overcome. This approach to protecting livestock has been so successful that, as per APW's website in July 2015:
With over 500 Living Walls currently in place, we are safely securing 100,000 head of livestock nightly and positively impacting approximately 10,000 adults and children. Local monitoring shows lion attacks on livestock dropped precipitously and the Maasai kill fewer lions each year. In fact, no lions have been killed at corrals fortified with Living Walls.
In addition to "Living Walls" APW created other programs which benefit the Maasai, particularly its young leaders of tomorrow. Please take a look at Laly's TED talk video, she tells APW's story very well, we're sure you will find it interesting and informative. See Video Here
Watch the African People & Wildlife overview video below
The African People & Wildlife (APW) builds the capacity of rural Africans to engage in environmental conservation and sustainable livelihood strategies that promote the dual objectives of biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation. At APW, we emphasize the importance of place-based and community-led initiatives that support the collective management of natural resources for the mutual benefit of people and wildlife.