Conser­va­tion: Bomas and their function

A boma is a device which is used to fence in wildlife and cattle populations, especially in Africa. In the following blog article you can learn more about its function.


The term boma, which comes from the Swahili language, is generally understood as a fortified fence used in Africa to protect private livestock. But bomas also play an important role for monitoring and regulating endangered animal populations. They serve the following purposes there:

  • Gentle habituation of resettled animals to their new environment
  • Rehabilitation of sick, wounded or orphaned wild animals
  • Preparation of animals for transport prior to a major resettlement operation
  • Controlled merging/reconstitution of packs – especially in the area of wild dog protection

You quickly get the impression that it's quite simple and inexpensive to set up a boma, especially since it's supposedly just a fence. In fact, this is not the case, since depending on the animal to be kept in the boma, appropriate additional measures have to be taken. Here are a few examples:

Sonnenuntergang in der afrikanischen Savanne
Artenschutz: Afrikanischer Wildhund
  • Elephant boma: A full-grown elephant can weigh up to 6 tons, a simple fence cannot hold back this giant. Additional measures are therefore required, such as electric fences, which are usually supplied with electricity by solar systems.
  • Wild dog Boma: Wild dogs are very good in the ditch. Therefore, an electric fence alone is not sufficient to prevent the animals from breaking out. As a measure, an underground grid is usually laid on the inside of the enclosure. If a dog starts digging a hole, it will quickly hit an obstacle.
  • Cheetah boma: Cheetahs are able to jump very high. That’s why a cheetah boma must be especially tall to prevent the animals from simply jumping over the fence.
  • Lion boma: A special feature of the lion boma is the privacy protection around the enclosure. Although the animals are fed by humans during the time of their captivity, they should never begin to associate feeding with humans. The privacy screen makes it possible to transport the food into the enclosure without the human being being visually perceived by the lion.
Artenschutz: Ein Loewenmaennchen folgt einem Loewenweibchen durch die Savanne

From time to time, wild animals try to enter the boma from outside to get food or water. To prevent this, the fence must also be well secured from the outside. Water pipes leading into the inside of the enclosure must also be fastened so that they are not broken by elephants trying to reach the water.

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