Mara Raptor Project
About the Mara Raptor Project
To conserve raptors the Mara Raptor Project acts upon the Kenya Bird of Prey Trust's mission by engaging in Monitoring & Research, Education & Outreach, Conservation Management and Rescue & Rehabilitation.
Our project is based in the Maasai Mara region of Kenya. This area forms part of the greater Mara-Serengeti Ecosystem and comprises the Maasai Mara National Reserve, the Mara Triangle and the surrounding community owned conservancies.
Fundamental to enacting effective conservation strategies is measuring success. We believe that the best measure of raptor conservation work is a standardised assessment of a raptor population. Healthy raptor populations prove that current conservation strategies need to continue, while declining raptor populations suggest that conservation strategies need to evolve. The most effective method for evaluating raptor population health is long-term nest monitoring. Since 2020, The Mara Raptor Project has been monitoring over 250 large raptor nests in the greater Mara ecosystem and we have hopes to grow our nest monitoring reach to over 750 nests by 2025.
Raptor conservation work in our region is challenging because most of the species we strive to protect fly vast distances over relatively short timescales. Understanding these movements and the threats these birds face as they fly is vital to informing conservation. The Mara Raptor Project deploys transmitters to follow birds in real time and we are at the forefront in using accelerometry data to understand the behaviours these birds exhibit as they navigate complex landscapes.
They say “We are what we eat” and this definitely applies to raptors. Many species of raptors are apex predators and occupy trophic niches at the very top of the food chain. Learning more about their diet helps ecologists better understand the important role these species play in ecosystems. Expanding our knowledge of raptor diet can also teach us how susceptible raptors are to various threats. For instance, many small falcons prey on small winged insects and can be devastated by locust spraying. Large eagles, such as Martials, can predate on poultry and other domestic stock and are often killed as a result of this human-wildlife conflict. The Mara Raptor Project is actively engaged in learning about various raptor species diet through placing camera traps at active nests and by using behaviourally classified accelerometry data to ground-truth kills.