Fencing Meeting

The One Mara Research Hub organized a “Meeting of the Minds” workshop in July 2019 to discuss the widespread fencing in the Mara that has adversely affected wildlife populations and threatened Kenya’s last remaining mammal migration. A policy paper was developed after the meeting and the findings shared with the County government.

A database consisting of more than 100 researchers was developed. A survey was circulated to everyone on the database as a tool to engage with those already working in the ecosystem as well as to better understand the activities of each person/institution.

A steering committee was formed to help establish a management framework for the organization. The steering committee which is currently functioning as the Board meets monthly to review the progress made and to set strategies on the way forward.

Data Sharing Meeting

A second meeting to collate data from the ecosystem was held in November 2019. A two-day researchers workshop which brought together representatives from Department of Resource Surveys and Remote Sensing (DRSRS), Narok County Government (NCG), Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Kenya Wildlife Trust (KWT), Mara Elephant Project (MEP), International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), South Rift Association of Land Owners (SORALO), Indigenous Livelihood Enhancement Partners (ILEPA), Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association (MMWCA) and Pardamat Conservation Area( PCA) was held where the participants agreed to share the datasets that they hold as well as work on drafting a conservation scenario policy for Narok County which would be included in the Narok County Spatial Plan that was then under development.

The researcher’s workshop was followed by a stakeholder engagement meeting which was attended by 30 participants from 20 organizations. The aim of the stakeholder engagement meeting was to gather views on the best interventions for the conservation of the GME as relates to land-use planning as well as to build awareness of the Hub and its activities in the ecosystem.

In March 2020, a follow-up data collation and harmonization GIS workshop was held. Over 200 datasets were compiled from KWS, Aarhus University, WWF-Kenya, Mara Predator Conservation Program, Kenya Wildlife Trust, Smithsonian Institute, and Narok County Government. A report based on the process was submitted to the County Government for consideration on the zonation of the County. The zonation proposed categorization of the different zones based on their ecological significance.

Feasibility Study of the Greater Mara Ecosystem

The One Mara Research Hub received a grant from NORAD through Basecamp Explorer Foundation to carry out a Feasibility Study of the Greater Mara Ecosystem. The study focused on livelihood improvement and incorporated ecology data with the aim of providing an actionable report on future ecosystem management initiatives. As part of the study, the Hub carried out a social survey of almost 400 households in the ecosystem in July 2020. The questionnaire had 588 questions and focused on wildlife and livestock population dynamics; livelihood improvement; and the impact of COVID 19 on the local community.  The key findings of this study were communicated in a high-level stakeholder engagement meeting with County Officials. Members of the County Assembly Tourism and Environment Committee were also present at the meeting.

The report can be found in our resources page.

Narok County Spatial Plan Technical Workshop

In May 2021, the One Mara Research Hub (OMRH) and WWF- Kenya hosted a technical workshop for the Narok County Spatial Plan. 20 people participated in this exercise, with representation from: OMRH, WWF-Kenya, Kenya Wildlife Trust (KWT), Narok County Government (NCG),  and Ministry of Lands, Public Works, Housing and Urban Development. During this 10- day exercise, participants were taken through the structure of a spatial plan, provided contextually relevant information for the spatial plan, and developed maps for the spatial plan. These processes led to the formation of the zero draft Narok County Spatial Plan.

Mara Aerial Survey

In March 2022, the One Mara Research Hub, Kenya Wildlife Trust, Kenya Department of Resource Surveys and Remote Sensing (DRSRS), and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) conducted a survey of large mammals occurring across the Greater Mara Ecosystem (GME) using aerial and satellite techniques. The aim of this exercise was to collect essential data for the assessment of multiple wildlife survey techniques and to develop a data pipeline to automatically identify and count large mammals identified in aerial and satellite imagery. This involved comparing a DRSRS aerial survey, a photographic Aerial survey that collected high resolution imagery that was then fed into a machine learning platform that is trained to detect different fauna of different sizes, and satellite imagery to see if animals could also be identified. The next part of this exercise is an assessment of the different techniques. This is currently ongoing. 

The Smithsonian Institution x Earth Optimism Folklife Festival 2022

From June 22-27 and June 30 – July 4 2022, the One Mara Research Hub and some of its members participated in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, as part of the Earth Optimism exhibition. Joining the hub in the exhibit was the Kenya Wildlife Trust, the Maa Trust and the Mara Elephant Project:- all members of the hub. During this time, participants exhibited their work in the Mara, held a beadwork workshop, and participated in various panel discussions.

If you’d like to know more about the Hub’s participation, please follow any of the links below.

  • Find photos of the Festival here
  • An article highlighting the Maa Trust here.

Panel  discussions:

The Greater Mara Monitoring Framework (GMMF)

Between September 2022 and December 2023, the One Mara Research Hub, through collaboration with many varying stakeholders in the landscape, and with close engagement with the Narok County Government (NCG), the Wildlife Research and Training Institute (WRTI), the Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies (MWWCA) and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), developed a monitoring framework for the greater Maasai Mara landscape, commonly referred to as the Greater Mara Monitoring Framework (GMMF). Over 50 people were involved in the development of the GMMF, with representation from the National Government, the County Government, community-based organizations, non-governmental organizations, research institutions, researcher practitioners and other members of the public and private sector. Their involvement ranged from virtual calls (especially for those not in Kenya), to the attendance of three workshops- the first in November 2022, the second in April 2023 and the third in August 2023. 

If you would like to see the GMMF, please find the document here.

Our current work

The OMRH is currently developing a host of seminars that are aimed at highlighting the work of various stakeholders in the ecosystem. There are many players in the landscape:- others well known and others lesser known or unknown at all. This will create opportunities for everyone to know each other better, and possibly foster more collaboration in the landscape.

There are two working groups currently that have been formed and an additional four groups have been proposed. The working groups focus on synthesizing data on specific priority areas and assist in developing communication material on the same. The current working groups that have been formed are

  • Fencing
  • Biodiversity change in the ecosystem

With the completion and gazettement of the Narok County Spatial Plan, The Greater Mara Ecosystem Management Plan and the Maasai Mara Reserve Management Plan, the OMRH remains committed to supporting the implementation of the three plans, through providing necessary information to the relevant parties, and engaging with them in any other capacity they require.

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