Avgas Drums Helping the Community to Control Predators
By Wilson Sairowua, MEP Field Administrator
The Avgas (aviation gasoline) fuel drums used by the Mara Elephant Project’s Karen Blixen Camp Ree Park Safari Robinson R44 helicopter are now helping the communities around the Maasai Mara to prevent predators breaking into bomas (livestock enclosures) at night and attacking livestock.
According to a report from the Mara North Conservancy compensation scheme, 55% of the livestock killed inside bomas are specifically caused by predators entering through the gate, which oftentimes is not made from secure material. Traditionally, the boma gate is made of branches to cover the entrance and that doesn’t make for much of a strong hold against large predators looking for an easy meal. MEP receives these kinds of reports regularly.
Now, MEP works with community partners to fabricate the iron drums into recycled strong metal doors. The new doors are easy to maintain and most importantly keep out predators.
The drum project started though a request from a livestock owner who was the victim of a Human Wildlife Conflict incident in 2015. MEP was a first responder and got Nkatu Parmuat safely to hospital after a buffalo broke his leg while herding his livestock.
Nkatu Parmuat lives in the Rekero area where MEP works on a daily basis reacting to conflict and poaching. Since then MEP has provided 14 doors to livestock owners in the worst hotspots who report no incursions though the doors.
Now, each MEP 200-liter drum of avgas, not only enables the helicopter to respond to anti-poaching and human-elephant conflict, but also helps the community to safely control predators like lions, cheetahs, leopards and hyenas.
MEP needs a continuous supply of avgas to keep the helicopter up in the air and protecting the wildlife and communities. Please consider a contribution today.