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The Warrior-Wildlife Shift: A Maasai Elder and a Nonprofit Director Champion Community-Led Conservation in the Amboseli
March 15, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm$25 Ally Price: FREE
Like most young Maasai boys of Africa’s greater Amboseli ecosystem, Daniel Ole Sambu was raised to believe that killing a lion proved his warrior worth. But while the Amboseli, which straddles southern Kenya and northern Tanzania, is one of the richest wildlife areas on the continent, its animals — as well as its Indigenous Maasai people — are at risk.
The rapid development of the Amboseli region has endangered the habitat of migratory herds of elephant, buffalo, zebra, wildebeest, hartebeest and gazelle, as well as the predators that pursue them. But such development also threatens the Maasai, whose husbandry practices have adapted to the region over generations, and even helped sustain the grasslands they live on.
After participating in five lion hunts, but never succeeding, Sambu realized the cultural and environmental importance of being a local steward of his Maasai land and the wildlife that call it home. As the head coordinator of the Big Life Foundation’s Predator Protection Program, Sambu has played an instrumental role in groundbreaking efforts to involve local communities in conservation.
In “The Warrior-Wildlife Shift,” we hear this story — first from Sambu, presenting via video recorded exclusively for Hidden Compass, then in live conversation with Big Life Foundation’s Deputy Director, Amy Baird. Sambu and Baird show us how community ranger programs and conservation education initiatives have transformed the relationship between the Maasai’s aspiring warriors and the animals with which they coexist.
Daniel Ole Sambu, a Maasai warrior and elder in the Greater Amboseli ecosystem, is a natural community leader and dedicated conservationist. For more than 14 years, Sambu has worked with local Maasai communities and partners to protect the Amboseli. He is the head coordinator for Big Life Foundation’s Predator Protection Program, and travels both locally and internationally to share the story of communities that implement environmental protection for the benefit of all.
Amy Baird serves as the Deputy Director for Big Life Foundation USA. Currently based in Portland, Oregon, Baird has worked in endangered species conservation for more than a decade, defending marine wildlife in international waters, campaigning for dam removal and wild fish in the Pacific Northwest, and advocating for renewable energy. Working for Big Life Foundation fulfills her lifelong dream to help protect elephants and other critical species.