Lion Guardians

2016 Successes:

  • 37 lion hunts stopped
  • 189 bomas (livestock enclosures) reinforced to help keep out lions
  • Lions Guardians are able to predict a lion’s identity correctly approximately 90% of the time.

The Lion Guardians approach involves recruiting young non-literate Maasai warriors to become actively engaged in protecting lions rather than killing them. Enrollment in the Lion Guardians program becomes a life-changing experience for these young Maasai who have had no formal education. Taught to read, write and communicate in Swahili and trained in wildlife management and conflict mitigation techniques, the Lion Guardians monitor lion movements, warn pastoralists when lions are in the area, recover lost livestock, reinforce protective fencing and intervene to stop lion hunting parties. Collectively these efforts lead to a reduction in the loss of livestock, which in turn enhances the livelihoods of the local people and builds tolerance for lions and other carnivores.

Lion Guardians’ conservation model is adaptable to various cultures and wildlife species. Founded on local value systems, community participation and science, it is based on a decade of research and rigorous measures of success. Our approach involves recruiting young, non-literate Maasai and other pastoralist warriors to learn the skills needed to effectively mitigate conflicts between people and wildlife, monitor lion populations, and help their own communities live with lions. By actively engaging in our solutions-based conservation model, people who were once lion killers are transformed into lion protectors.

For the first time in more than a decade, the lion population in the project’s core Amboseli region is growing, making this important ecosystem one of the few areas in Africa where lion numbers are on the rise. Lion prides, which had been absent for many years, are now forming and each adult lioness has cubs for a second year in a row. When this new generation makes it to adulthood, the population will have doubled in a few short years.

For more information, visit the Lion Guardians website.

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