Elerai Community & Wildlife Trust

Satao Elerai is located in a quiet, unspoilt, unique setting on a 5000 acre private conservation area 10km’s south east of Amboseli National Park on the foot of Africa’s largest mountain, Mt Kilimanjaro. Our land is leased from the local Elerai Maasai community and together we help protect this land from poachers, charcoal burners and encroachment from agriculture and development.

The Elerai conservation area sits in an AWF (African Wildlife Foundation) identified critical wildlife corridor named the Kitenden Corridor which links the Kilimanjaro Forest Reserve in Tanzania to Amboseli National Park and beyond. These areas include a rich variety of ecosystems from the semi-arid savanna to wetlands and is home to a diverse collection of flora and fauna.

AWF believes that “loss and fragmentation of habitat is the single largest treat to most African wildilfe”.

Like wildlife everywhere, the wildlife of Africa needs vast open landscapes to live, move, propagate. Isolated islands of protected land will not suffice to ensure that wildlife survives and thrives. Successful conservation efforts look beyond human borders to balance the needs of wildlife and people at the landscape level.

One of the great problems facing wildlife in Africa is the increasing isolation of viable wildlife habitat. As the human population grows and converts land into agriculture, National Park’s and Reserves are becoming more and more like isolated islands. One of AWF’s priorities is to maintain and restore landscape connectivity.

The Satao Elerai Community and Wildlife Trust was started by Satao Elerai Lodge and it’s parent company Southern Cross Safaris in association with the local Elerai Maasai council and community.
Through the Trust and with the help of kind donations and continued support by AWF we hope to increase the conservation area through additional lease agreements so that the Maasai can be a part of long term wildlife protection efforts.

NEWS FLASH – The real reason Africa’s elephants are dying

The rapid escalation of human-wildlife conflict threatens both the tourism industry and the local communities that have come to rely on it. When business is good at Satao Elerai, the luxury eco-lodge that leases the land of Nakutit and other Maasai, it contributes around $100,000 per year from tourist fees to the tribe’s community trust, which pays for education and other community development initiatives. Before it set up shop in 2005, practically no children went to school in this Maasai community of about 800. This year, 80 children are enrolled at the new private primary school funded by Satao Elerai and the Friends of GreenPark.

For now, the lodge’s sweeping view of acacia-dotted grasslands offers a chance to see giraffes, elephants, lions, and eland, among other exotic wildlife. Tourists flock from around the world to ogle them – making Satao Elerai’s investment in the Maasai community possible. But if angry farmers and herdsmen keep killing off the main attraction, it’s only a matter of time before the tourism industry dries up.

“If human-wildlife conflict is not mitigated, it will lead to whatever species being eradicated sooner or later,” said Richard Bonham, co-founder of the Kenya-based Big Life Foundation, which aims to protect wildlife in East Africa. “Any tourism operation that relies on wildlife that creates conflict will end up with no product.”

There is no easy solution for human-wildlife conflict, but experts say that helping local communities reap the benefits of conservation is a critical starting point. “If conservation supports the community, then the community will support conservation,” said Nick Brandt, the other co-founder of Big Life Foundation. Read more

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