When their prey decline in numbers and human settlements grow closer, lions and other large carnivores often turn to the livestock of local herders for an easy meal. The loss of a cow is seen as a personal attack, and people often retaliate by shooting, spearing, or poisoning predators. To reduce conflict and retaliation against carnivores, APW partners with communities to build Living Walls—environmentally-friendly corrals that protect livestock from attacks by lions, leopards, hyenas, and occasionally cheetahs and wild dogs.
Living Walls were designed hand-in-hand with the local people. To build a Living Wall, community members plant a circle of trees that serve as posts for chain-link fencing. As the trees grow, they add height to the wall and create an impenetrable barrier. To date, more than 150,000 living Commiphora trees have been planted as fence posts in support of Living Walls.
Demand for Living Walls remains high from communities across northern Tanzania. Local involvement is strong, with individuals contributing 25% of the cost of the fencing. To date, more than 750 Living Walls are positively impacting 12,500 adults and children and keeping more than 125,000 livestock safe every night.
Benefits of Our Living Walls Initiative
- Protects livestock from attack
- Prevents the retaliatory killing of lions and other large carnivores
- Contributes to habitat preservation
- Demonstrates the value of shared knowledge
- Exhibits culturally appropriate solutions
- Provides a regular point of community outreach
- Serves as a model to communities in other parts of Tanzania and East Africa