Learn more about how the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust funds and operates programs promoting sustainable economic benefits to the Maasai people from conserving the ecosystem in Kenya.
The Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust (MWCT) is a community-based organisation situated in southern Kenya. Our goal is to preserve wilderness, wildlife and cultural heritage across the Amboseli-Tsavo ecosystem by creating sustainable economic benefit for the local Maasai community.
MWCT operates a comprehensive lion tracking program that employs local Maasai to research and protect this most important population of lions. The Kuku Lions have provided unique and valuable data on lions that MWCT shares with its regional and international partners so that we may all work together to save this extraordinary species. Currently, MWCT has 4 collared lions.
Taking your dream safari will not only immerse you in an incredible African adventure, it will not only touch your soul, but it will also contribute to our Maasai community (Maasai is the correct name of the tribe, it means the people speaking Maa. Often you will find the wrongly spelled word Masai, used in colonial times).
Forests and Carbon Credits
MWCT has recently started a REDD+ (Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) carbon project. The REDD+ mechanism has been introduced by the United Nations as a climate change mitigation strategy. The goal of a REDD+ project is to prevent deforestation and forest degradation by active forest protection and provide alternative livelihoods for local communities living in and around the forest area.
MWCT realizes living in harmony with wildlife (i.e. lions, leopards, hyenas etc.) can be very challenging as livestock owners experience considerable financial losses as a result of livestock depredation by these predators. So in acknowledgement MWCT started the Wildlife Pays compensation program in 2007 to alleviate the burden of living with wildlife for the local Maasai community in agreement to not kill but protect all wildlife on Kuku Group Ranch.
Water and Payment for Ecosystem services
The Maasai communities depend on their land and natural resources for their livelihoods and well-being. However, they are facing increasing pressures: a growing population, break-down in traditional nomadic structures and more frequent and prolonged droughts which has caused high livestock and wildlife mortalities.
MWCT has developed an ambitious model for a network of land conservancy zones focused on securing the integrity of key ecosystem components and services that lie within the Group Ranches in the Tsavo-Amboseli ecosystem.
Total revenues entering the community through conservation related employment have become substantial. MWCT is the largest employer in the Kuku community and is proactively cultivating and training a new generation of leaders within the community.
Chyulu Hills Conservation and Research Centre
Using funds raised in the highly publicized “Maasai Marathon” campaign during the 2009 New York Marathon, MWCT acquired and renovated a defunct safari camp, transforming it into the Chyulu Conservation and Research Center.