The explosion rippled through the Maasai homesteads in the early hours of the morning. Kinyaku Konee sat bolt upright in bed, knowing instinctively that his world had shifted in some way.
He was out at first light, and a walk down to his livestock-watering tank confirmed his fears. The structure was shattered, massive chunks of stone and cement strewn around, the tank emptied.
The signs in the mud gave up the culprits – three elephants. The bulls had likely all stood up on their hind legs to drink out of the tall tank, and the structure failed under the combined weight. The cost for the repair: $3000.
Big Life will help with some of this cost, another small part of supporting a community that is living with large and sometimes destructive animal species. But we are also being proactive, fortifying boreholes and water tanks across the ecosystem, and ensuring that there is always water accessible for elephants as well as livestock.
For now the dry season has finally broken and the conflict over water will ease, but the underlying challenges of facilitating co-existence are not going anywhere. This is why Big Life does much more than anti-poaching; this is about ensuring that wildlife conservation and human development are part of one solution.