Student Travel Report: Kenya Expedition 2017 - Tom Jameson

Tom Jameson, studying Biological Science (MPhil) at Sidney, tells us about his travels to Kenya as part of a project to train pastoralist communities to use camera trap photography to reduce human-wildlife conflict around Nairobi National Park.

"In the summer of 2017 I led the Cambridge University Wildlife Conservation Society’s (CUWCS) and Cambridge University Expedition Society’s joint expedition to Kenya, partly funded by the Sidney Sussex College Research and Professional Experience Grant. The aim of this expedition was to develop a project to train pastoralist communities in the use of camera trap technology to reduce human-wildlife conflict in key wildlife migration corridors around Nairobi National Park.

The basis of the project is wildlife monitoring capacity building in key local communities. Such capacity building aims to allow communities to monitor predator movements into their land, allowing pre-emptive changes to livestock management regimes so as to reduce livestock losses to wildlife, and as a result reduce retaliatory killing of wildlife. By reducing such conflict this project will prevent loss of wildlife along key migration routes into Nairobi National Park allowing local wildlife populations to remain viable and hence the park to remain an effective conservation asset.

The expedition built upon a pilot project with target communities run by the CUWCS in 2015 where a small number of camera traps were donated to communities following training. The results of this pilot project have been closely monitored over the last two years. Based on the very positive feedback from communities and local wildlife conservation organisations the CUWCS was pleased to be able to enact the project in full, starting larger scale camera trap implementation as of the 2017 expedition.

The training phase of the project was hugely successful, with community partners rapidly developing their skills in camera trap usage and associated monitoring techniques. Furthermore, the results of the project were instantly apparent, with areas of high human-wildlife conflict risk identified by the camera trap data within a week of their deployment. Moving forward the CUWCS will be maintaining their partnership with target communities to insure the project remains sustainable and effective.

In intervals between training and deployment sessions the expedition team visited a number of key conservation areas across Kenya to meet with different wildlife conservation stakeholders. Such stakeholders varied from farmers to politicians, corporation owners to scientists, and everything in between. Meeting with such a varied set of stakeholders from a variety of regions allowed the expedition team to gain an appreciation of the nature of the different challenges and solutions involved with wildlife conservation in East Africa. Through such an experience the expedition aimed to give its members the opportunity to appreciate the complexities of conservation management as tool to take forward into their future careers as conservationists.

The whole expedition team are extremely grateful to Sidney Sussex College for their part in funding what was an extremely successful, informative, and fun expedition.

To read the full expedition blog please visit the link below."

This is an archived news story first posted in March, 2018

If you have something that would make a good news or feature item please email news@sid.cam.ac.uk.

  • The expedition team. From left to right: Andrew Dixon (Christ's College), Tom Jameson (Sidney Sussex College), Enoch Mobisa (International Livestock Research Institute), Charlie Jordan (Sidney Sussex College).
  • The expedition team. From left to right: Andrew Dixon (Christ's College), Tom Jameson (Sidney Sussex College), Enoch Mobisa (International Livestock Research Institute), Charlie Jordan (Sidney Sussex College).
  • Expedition members setting up a camera trap during a training session with local people.
  • Expedition members setting up a camera trap during a training session with local people.
  • A selection of giraffe legs captured by one of the expedition's camera traps during a trial deployment following a training session.
  • A selection of giraffe legs captured by one of the expedition's camera traps during a trial deployment following a training session.
  • Tom getting acquainted with a local 'Impy'; an orphan Impala.
  • Tom getting acquainted with a local 'Impy'; an orphan Impala.
  • Related Websites

  • Link to the expedition's blog