The Cottar family owns Cottar’s 1920’s Camp and Bush Villa and have worked with the Olderkesi Maasai neighbours and community representatives for decades. The camp is situated in Olderkesi Conservancy the Maasai group-owned land adjacent to the Serengeti National Park of Tanzania and the Maasai Mara National Reserve of Kenya. This crucial wildlife corridor is home to the largest concentration of terrestrial wildlife on earth; some of the richest diversity of mammals, birds and vegetation and some of the most dramatic wilderness vistas on the continent.
Cottar’s 1920’s Camp and Bush Villa depends very much on the wilderness, Maasai people and wildlife around it’s location, and to assist in this and support conservation, community, culture and commerce, the Cottar family has initiated the Cottar Wildlife Conservation Trust (CWCT) and the establishment of the 7,000 acre Olderkesi Community Wildlife Conservancy (OCWC) pilot project.
The Olderkesi Community Wildlife Conservancy is implementing a new model of conservation – one that has the best chance of eff ectively working and demonstrating practices that could be replicated on a global level. The particular piece of land that the Olderkesi Conservancy occupies is vitally important to the greater ecosystem and comprises multiple types of habitat, including grasslands, riverine valleys, forests, and woodlands. It’s a haven for many species of wildlife, not to mention a route for the great wildebeest migration. It’s also home to the Maasai – a strongly independent people who still value tradition and ritual as part of their everyday lives. Historically, the Maasai are semi-nomadic pastorialists, placing huge importance on their herds of cattle, but also living alongside wildlife in harmony, with lions and wildebeest playing an important role in their cultural beliefs. As global warming contributes to more frequent and more devastating droughts, the Maasai have concluded that keeping some spaces wild generates more benefi t than overgrazing livestock and the subsequent ruin that combined with drought can bring to their herds. As a result, they have agreed to set aside a portion of land for wildlife habitat restoration and encourage land leasing and eco-tourism as a new source of income. As the Maasai culture adapts to climate change and the opportunities brought about by new exposure to the rest of the world via the internet, community leaders are embracing change and working to make sure their culture is preserved while simultaneously taking part and being competitive in a global community. The community are excited to see that our model of conservation was not focused solely on the conservation area that we have been contracted to manage on their behalf, but that we are committed to providing a number of community social amenities that will give them economic and learning opportunities far beyond what is normally available in the rural parts of the country.