Mara North Conservancy Dog Health Project

Karen Blixen Camp Trust launches veterinary project to support healthy livestock guard dogs

The MNC Dog Project has already treated the first dogs. The community is very positive about the program


Domestic dogs are an essential part of the Maasai culture and are used for guarding and protecting livestock from wild animal predators. The guard dogs thereby help reduce the human-wildlife conflicts, which are inevitable in areas where humans and wildlife coexists. However, in recent years the number of dogs in the Maasai Mara ecosystem has increased considerably and free-roaming domestic dogs are becoming a major problem for the area’s wildlife. Thus, the dogs have been shown to have a negative impact on wildlife with regard to pathogen transmission, predation, disturbance, etc.

Karen Blixen Camp Trust is now launching a new program – the Mara North Concervancy Dog Project (MNCDP). The program has been established to assist the local community in dealing with the problems with the guard dogs. Through generous donations from the Danish Englund’s Fund and the Karen Blixen Camp Trust the program will be carried out in cooperation with Egerton University, Department of Veterinary Clinical Science at University of Copenhagen and VetAid, Kenya.


Maasai community positive about guard dog vaccination program

Dr. Gabriel Turasha and Dr. James Leyian has done a great job together with David Noosaron from the Mara North Concervancy (MNC) Landowners’ Committee in preparing the local dog-owners for the up-coming MNC Dog Project. Through talks and discussions in barazzas, church and school meetings they have explained the importance of vaccinating and de-worming the dogs and also the benefits of castrating and neutering. As a result of these meetings, the general attitude in the community towards the initiative has become very positive. Only a handful of families are still hesitating, but the team is optimistic and hopes to reach the aim of 75% vaccinated dogs, that is necessary to obtain so-called herd-immunization (enough individuals are immune to the disease to prevent big outbreaks in the population).



First guard dogs castrated

Project leader associate professor Rikke Langebæk, Department of Veterinary Clinical Science, Copenhagen University was in November 2018 in Mara North Conservancy to oversee the MNC Dog Project. On Thursday nov. 8th, the MNC Dog Project team was in action in Mararienta village. Dr. Gabriel Turasha (from VetAid, Kenya) and Dr. James Leyian (based in Mararienta) was joined by veterinary surgeons from Egerton University, Kenya: Prof. Mande, Dr. Kisipan and Dr. Kerempa in order to do surgery on the male dogs in one of the households. The dogs were anesthetized by injection and surgery was initiated within approximately 15-20 minutes. The ‘clinic’ was comprised of a plastic table placed in the shade under a tree, plus a smaller table for the surgical equipment. The castration was performed under as aseptic conditions as possible, and the procedure was done in 20 minutes. The dogs were given painkillers and prophylactic antibiotics, and were supervised while recovering from anesthesia. In spite of the remoteness of the surgical setting, the procedures attracted quite an audience. This is very helpful, as the lack of ‘drama’ in relation to the surgeries will hopefully encourage more owners to let their dogs undergo neutralization.

Workshop May 2019: Read all about it here