Olderkesi Wildlife Conservancy

Published November 2018

Community guards standing in front of community.

Community guards. Credit: Calvin Cottar

Elephants, big cats and Maasai giraffe are among the species to benefit from the Olderkesi community conservancy initiative. The conservancy scheme is based on giving the local community financial incentive - lease payments - to ensure wildlife protection within the conservancy area, by preventing poaching and stopping the fragmentation of land for farming.

The conservancy is managed by two trusts: Cottar’s Wildlife Conservancy Trust (CWCT) and Olderkesi Wildlife Community Trust (OCWCT). These two groups have worked closely together over the past 20 years to create a vital, truly sustainable conservancy management plan. 



The poaching and wildlife trade problem

Species affected African Elephant Loxodonta africana , Leopard Panthera pardus , Lion Panthera leo , Maasai Giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi

The strategy

Strengthening disincentives for illegal behaviour

Paid in money community scouts
Performance-based payments/incentives for patrolling or guarding
Strengthening and supporting traditional norms and sanctions against IWT
Further detail

The conservancy has a team of locally sourced scouts, runs a small undercover unit, and liaises with rangers from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and the Mara Elephant Project when evidence of poaching is found.

There are additional rewards for information that leads to the capture of poachers, guns and ivory stocks.

If payments are reduced, due to infringements (e.g. poaching), it is up to the elders to police and fine culprits (who are usually members of their community or local area).

Increasing incentives for wildlife stewardship

Lease payments
Further detail

The owners of the land - the Maasai - are paid approximately US $10,000/month for the lease of 7,000 acres for a designated conservancy.

The scheme is based on lease payments that are competitive with alternative land use, such as agriculture and domestic livestock grazing.

Rent payments go to the entire community, not just a few leaders in the group- everyone gets an equal share.

Infringements of the agreed land use – e.g. poaching – triggers deductions in lease payments to the Maasai community leaders, who are then responsible for making up the deficit. This aspect of the agreement promotes a collective liability which is a powerful mechanism to enforce land use for wildlife.

Increasing livelihoods that are not related to wildlife

Provision of community-level benefits
Further detail

During the first five years the lease payments financed community projects – including schools, bursaries, a centre for girls and medical support.

Organisers, donors and partners

For further information contact People Not Poaching coordinator (peoplenotpoaching@gmail.com).