For the Samburu people, elders known as wazee are respected leaders who are esteemed decision-makers and influence change within their communities, making them key allies in addressing conservation problems such as human-wildlife conflict. The decisions made by the wazee are often upheld more so than those made by other groups in the community. Our Wazee Watch programme builds awareness on the importance of lions and other carnivores, and improves communication about carnivore issues amongst community leaders.
Respected Voices for Conservation
Ewaso Lions and Westgate Community Conservancy identified respected elders to be part of Wazee Watch. These Wazee have volunteered to be ambassadors for lion conservation by educating their communities on predator issues, developing solutions to reduce potential conflict, and actively responding to cases of human-wildlife conflict.
They often settle disputes over wildlife issues and provide support to difficult conflict situations where people may intend to kill lions. In September 2013, during a severe conflict issue that occurred within the study area, the Wazee rallied together and intervened providing additional support on the ground.
With the addition of Wazee Watch to our community-based conservation programmes like Warrior Watch, Ewaso Lions engages not only the warrior class, who are directly responsible for protecting their community from lions, but also the respected elders, who are crucial for changing the attitudes and practices of community members.