Society and Natural Resources, 15: 949-957
This article examines the development and implementation of a grass-roots elephant conservation program based upon the Samburu people’s perceptions and knowledge of elephants in the areas surrounding the Samburu and Buffalo Springs National Reserves in northern Kenya. Ethnographic methods were used to understand these perceptions and demonstrated that strong customs and traditions for conserving wildlife, particularly elephants, exist among the Samburu people. It became evident that these customs are changing, given various factors influencing Samburu culture and younger generations. The use of economic incentives is a widely accepted method to foster positive attitudes and behavior toward wildlife. The value of using ethnographic methods to reinforce positive indigenous knowledge about wildlife, however, is underestimated.