Contribution starting at $3,975
Exported from Streamline App (https://app.streamlineicons.com)
14 days (avg. $284 a day) Includes accommodations, food, and all related research costs
Wildlife & Ecosystems

Lions and Their Prey in Kenya's Maasai Mara

Location
Olare Motorogi Conservancy, Kenya Map it
Activity Level
Easy
Accommodations
Single Rooms possible
Couples Rooms possible
Wilderness Camp
Food
Chef-prepared meals
lions and their prey in kenya
volunteer surveying kenyan wildlife
observing lions in kenya
lion
volunteers in kenya
surveying wildlife in kenya
volunteers in kenay
lions and their prey in kenya
volunteer surveying kenyan wildlife
observing lions in kenya
lion
volunteers in kenya
surveying wildlife in kenya
volunteers in kenay

Join researchers in the Massai Mara to help discover how they can restore the dynamic balance between predators and prey through creative livestock management.


studying lions in kenya

The iconic savannas of the Maasai Mara are reliant on a variety of wild undulates, like elephants, giraffes, zebras, and antelope, to keep it healthy and stable. Many local people also rely on this biodiversity to attract tourism and generate revenue. However, conservancy managers and landowners are struggling to maintain healthy populations of both these iconic herbivores and large predators. Since high populations of lions are linked to declines in rare large herbivores, including many iconic antelope species that tourists in Kenya want to see, landowners who depend on tourism are considering lethal methods to manage predators, further jeopardizing these big cats.

But what if both predators and their fragile prey could thrive? Lions most commonly eat zebras, which have a healthy and robust population in the area. And zebras seem to prefer areas where cattle have grazed. By carefully managing the relationships between these species, researchers think it’s possible to influence where the lions seek their meals.

Contribute to this innovative look at how new cattle ranching methods could transform African landscapes. You’ll check camera trap images for leopards, lions, wild dogs, spotted hyenas, and other predators. And you’ll survey zebras and other herbivores like hartebeest, topi, and eland to learn how their populations shift with cattle ranching. Take this rare opportunity to witness how interconnected all species really are.

 

A Typical Itinerary

  • DAY 1   Fly to Maasai Mara, introduction to research
  • DAY 2   Tour research site; training on distance sampling, camera traps, and lion pride work
  • DAYS 3–13   Observe herbivores, track predators, review camera-traps
  • DAY 7   Departure

HOW WILL YOU HELP

You’ll spend your days in the midst of the wildlife-rich conservancy, helping researchers to:
OBSERVE HERBIVORES AND TRACK PREDATORS
Observe herbivores and track predators

While in the conservancy, you will record the location and abundance of zebra and other herbivores using distance sampling methodology, noting the presence or absence of calves and other young animals—data that will be later compared to sightings and observed behaviors of lions and other large carnivores to see which prey species the cats are following.

CAMERA-TRAP HYENAS AND LEOPARDS
Camera-trap hyenas and leopards

You'll help check camera traps around the conservancy and sort through the images taken to identify individual animals by their unique patterns of stripes or spots.

MONITOR PREDATORS, LIVESTOCK AND PEOPLE
Monitor predators, livestock and people

Record all sightings of predators, livestock, vehicles, and people, using the smartphone application CyberTracker. Data collected will be used to assess population demographics, distribution, and trends of these respective variables.

Field conditions and research needs can lead to changes in the itinerary and activities. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding.

FEEDBACK & QUESTIONS

4 Reviews on this Expedition

If you have been on this expedition, others considering attending would love to hear about your experience.
Hiromi Cheeseman | September 6, 2019
This expedition was so much more than an ordinary safari. We collected data for the distribution of wildlife and range health whereby measuring the density and quality of pasture in a conservancy so that the researchers can make a scientific assessment and make a recommendation to the community where to graze and keep their cattle. We are participating in a present future of the community for their livestock and the wildlife they need to support the tourism industry as well as the preservation of wildlife for the future.
Kourtney McCarty | October 2, 2017
Earthwatch gave me the opportunity to fulfill one of my lifelong dreams of going to Kenya and spending time on the savanna close to the animals in an authentic and impactful way. The people I met and worked alongside have touched my life and I'll never forget the fun we had and the experiences we shared.
Lisa Dixon | September 22, 2015
This was my first expo with Earthwatch and as a single female was not sure what to expect, I had the most amazing learning experience and felt so humble to have played a part in this project. The work is sometimes challenging but well explained and planned out. The team in Ol Pejeta are some of the nicest people I have ever met. Tracking lions is such a thrill and a challenge but proves to work with good team work. The team spirit makes for a fun and both worthwhile working day. The accommodation was comfortable and the food was incredible even catering for vegetarians with fresh ingredients and served with love. I would for sure without any hesitation recommend Earthwatch all aspects were very well thought and I felt safe and looked after the whole time I hope to re-join this project or another in the not too distant future. Thank you to all the Earthwatch team and the leading project manager Caroline, keep up the amazing work you are all doing

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