Developing a community access road in Amboseli

Teams working to clear the Kitenden Access Road.The year 2012 will certainly go down as one of the darkest in recent history of Amboseli ecosystem. This is the year that arsonists  burnt down over 400 acres of wildlife habitat in Elerai; a family of three well-known elephants (a mother and her two daughters) had their lives snuffed out by  ruthless poachers’ bullets; a herds-boy was gored to death by a buffalo that also seriously injured a Kenya wildlife Service ranger and to cap it all, irate Maasai morans (young men) went on retaliatory killings of wildlife that left over 24 animals dead: 11 elephants, 2 lions, 2 leopards, 2 cheetah, 2 hyenas and 5 buffaloes. 18 elephants and a lion were also wounded during the revenge attacks.

The inaccessible community roads did not help with these dire situations. If there was an accessible community road within Kitenden, the emergency response to the herd’s boy may have been faster. A more accessible road may have also resulted in rapid response to the fire and poaching incidences sites.

There is an old English saying: For want of a nail, the horseshoe was lost. For want of a horseshoe the steed was lost. For want of a steed, the message was not delivered. For want of undelivered message, the war was lost...

Teams working to form the Kitenden Access Road.Kitenden access road could be such a nail. It was a cattle track cum pathway that was used by the local community to and from their homes. The road was also used by KWS and community rangers to respond to calls of distress from human wildlife conflict, poaching or even humanitarian aid such as taking a patient to hospital.

It was a vital link between Amboseli National Park and Kitenden corridor yet it was a dangerous bushy trail for travellers on foot or on motor bikes. Attacks from elephants, lions and buffaloes lurking behind bushes were always a possibility as one travelled on this vital yet non-existent road.

Thanks to IFAW and your help, the dangers associated with using this cattle track cum pathway are now history. For the first time there is a community road linking the Park and Kitenden corridor. Determined to make a difference in the lives of both the local community and animals, IFAW in partnership with KWS has cleared 11 kilometres of bush and shrub of the pathway, graded it and made it motor-able. This has created a well-defined Kitenden Access Road,. Rapid response to distress calls, poaching and human wildlife conflict is now a reality. The road has also provided ease of access to Amboseli and Ilmarba Primary Schools.

Please continue supporting IFAW and we will certainly make a positive impact in Amboseli and its Maasai community. History has proven that a happy local community lives harmoniously with wildlife.

--EM

For more information about IFAW efforts to help protect elephants around the world, visit our campaign page.

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Experts

Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Dr. Cynthia Moss, IFAW Elephant Expert
IFAW Elephant Expert
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
James Isiche, Regional Director, East Africa
Regional Director, East Africa
Jason Bell, Program Director, Elephants Regional Director, South Africa
Program Director, Elephants, Regional Director, South Africa
Peter Pueschel, Director, International Environmental Agreements
Director, International Environmental Agreements
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Regional Director, South Asia