To get to Amboseli, of course! Negotiating manmade obstacles like this is daunting for any wild animal, but in the case of this road there is simply no way around it.
To complicate matters, this is not a quiet backroad. It’s the main access into the Amboseli ecosystem, heavily trafficked by trucks carrying goods to and from Tanzania, and agricultural produce from the slopes of Kilimanjaro destined for markets in Nairobi.
Human development has expanded along this commercial artery, severing historic wildlife movement routes in the Kimana area as buildings and fences have sprung up along the highway. In the nick of time, just as the last open route was closing in late 2018, Big Life was able to secure a lease with the landowner to keep a narrow gap along the highway free of development.
Big Life’s crop-protection fences now keep wildlife out of urban areas and farms, and safely funnel animals through this 70-meter-wide “Kimana Crossing” as they journey between Amboseli National Park and the community-owned lands in the east of the ecosystem. The crossing has been carefully engineered with speed bumps and fencing to protect the people traveling along the road, and the animals crossing over it through this narrow gap.
Most wildlife use it at night, because that’s when the road is quietest, but excited passers-by have recently had a number of daylight elephant sightings, including this bull crossing in this video. It’s another example of how local wildlife is adapting to a changing environment, one where they must coexist with their human counterparts.
It is inevitable that Amboseli will continue to develop, but we believe in a future that has space for wildlife too. Big Life is working with landowners, with support from Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, to protect important wildlife habitats outside of national parks, like the “Kimana Crossing.” Protecting the critical wildlife corridors that hold the whole system together benefits both wildlife AND humans.