Efficacy of two lion conservation programs in Maasailand, Kenya
Lion (Panthera leo) populations are in decline throughout most of Africa. The problem is particularly acute in southern Kenya, where Maasai pastoralists have been spearing and poisoning lions at a rate that will ensure near term local extinction. We investigated 2 approaches for improving local tolerance of lions: compensation payments for livestock lost to predators and Lion Guardians, which draws on local cultural values and knowledge to mitigate livestock-carnivore conflict and monitor carnivores. To gauge the overall influence of conservation intervention, we combined both programs into a single conservation treatment variable. Using 8 years of lion killing data, we applied Manski's partial identification approach with bounded assumptions to investigate the effect of conservation treatment on lion killing in 4 contiguous areas. In 3 of the areas, conservation treatment was positively associated with a reduction in lion killing. We then applied a generalized linear model to assess the relative efficacy of the 2 interventions. The model estimated that compensation resulted in an 87-91% drop in the number of lions killed, whereas Lion Guardians (operating in combination with compensation and alone) resulted in a 99% drop in lion killing. Eficacia de Dos Programas de Conservación de Leones en Maasailand, Kenia.