Ewaso Lions Project



The Ewaso Lions Project is a grassroots project whose mission is to promote the conservation of lions by integrating scientific research with community-based conservation programs. Founded in 2007 by Oxford PhD candidate and Kenyan national, Shivani Bhalla, Ewaso Lions uses extensive local expertise to work towards maintaining functional connectivity for lions on a landscape level and encouraging coexistence between carnivores and people.

Largely due to human-lion conflict, there are less than 2,000 lions in Kenya and they continue to decline.The overall aim of this project is to gain a better understanding of the factors that ensure lion survival in large landscape mosaics, and to develop and target conflict mitigation techniques and community conservation initiatives that promote coexistence between people and large carnivores.



Ewaso Lions raises awareness of ecological problems and solutions, offers strategies for reducing conflict with carnivores (particularly pertaining to livestock predation), and uses educational initiatives to illustrate the benefit of wildlife for local livelihoods. We work with multiple demographics within communities, including warriors, elders, women, livestock owners, and children. Ewaso Lions’ conservation programs have the following key aspects in common:

Our conservation solutions are rooted in traditional cultural practices and based on local knowledge. For example, the warrior age-group traditionally protects livestock from carnivores and their communities from outside threats. Their human-carnivore conflict mitigation work through Warrior Watch, therefore, is a natural extension of their important role as providers of security. Likewise, the time they spend patrolling in the field can be easily adapted to incorporate data collection and anti-poaching duties. This ‘poacher turned conservationist’ approach means our programs are community owned and driven, making them not only successful but also sustainable.

Our work builds local capacity by providing training to both pastoralist people and other conservation workers (e.g. training members of collaborating organizations in carnivore conservation, conflict mitigation, and scientific data collection). Increasing capacity of community members and conservation workers not only garners their support, but also helps them to develop skills that positively impact future conservation programs regardless of the species that is targeted. To this end, the local people engaged in our programs learn about ecology, human impacts on the ecosystem, benefits of wildlife and habitat, and ways to encourage a harmonious co-existence between wildlife and people, as well as specific research skills.


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