Patrick Papatiti
Author: Patrick P. Papatiti
2023

Patrick Papatiti

Maasai Warrior/Wildlife Conservationist

wildlife warrior

meet patrick

Patrick Papatiti, a Maasai warrior from Amboseli, Kenya, has been dedicated to conservation for nearly two decades. After working with the Amboseli Trust for Elephants, he returned to his local community, where, five years ago, he founded the Olgulului Community Wildlife Rangers (OCWR), an anti-poaching organization to protect local wildlife landscapes. OCWR currently has 68 warriors and eight first-of-their-kind all-female ranger units working in Amboseli. Papatiti’s dream is to maintain the integrity of the local ecosystem, its wildlife, and to ensure a brighter future for the Maasai people through the championing of education.

wildlife warrior
Nominated by: Alan Feldstein MN'09
Class of 2023 Location Kenya
Author: Patrick P. Papatiti

As a Maasai community leader, I believe that we are collectively responsible for the well-being of our society, whether we hold a formal office or not. For a number of years, I had a dream job with the Kenyan government in Nairobi, working undercover and busting ivory traffickers internationally, when I learned that an organization charged with protecting wildlife in my ancestral homeland was leaving the area as the job had simply become too dangerous. For the love of my community and wildlife, I returned five years ago to form the Olgulului Community Wildlife Rangers (OCWR) to eliminate poaching in my jurisdiction and build tolerance in my community to reduce human–wildlife conflict, as well as to encourage the participation of women in conservation and leadership.

OCWR has 87 young men and women—most of whom had lacked a basic education and prior work experience—as community scouts, enabling them to educate themselves as well as their children and provide for their families. We offer training, mentorship, and support to rangers, as well as in-kind incentives to underwrite community education programs. In addition, we are encouraging wildlife stewardship by providing scholarships in wildlife conservation. Graduates work as rangers or as guides for wildlife safaris.

“It is my hope that support for our work will one day shift from reliance on private donors to the Kenyan government, as we need boots on the ground every day.”

- Patrick Papatiti

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We are also giving women a greater voice in our society, empowering them through education, leadership, and expanded opportunities for income generation. So far, OCRW has trained 16 Maasai girls as wildlife rangers. It is notable that members of Team Lioness have outperformed their male counterparts. We have also put more than 700 Maasai girls through basic education—many of whom have gone on to pursue a college degree. Young women from families that previously had little hope for their children are growing up to become next-generation leaders in our community.

It is my hope that support for our work will one day shift from reliance on private donors to the Kenyan government, as we need boots on the ground every day.

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