Lion Guardians Promotes Coexistence between People and Lions
One of my favorite organizations is the Lion Guardians. This community based conservation program is bringing hope for the survival of the African Lion. I hope you will take time to watch the amazing video that was created to help bring more awareness and support for this amazing project.
The Lion Guardians Mission is:
To promote sustainable coexistence between people and lion using cultural values, community participation and science.
The Lion Guardians program was initiated in 2006 by the Living with Lions project and the local communities, and was set into motion in collaboration with Maasailand Preservation Trust in January 2007 on Mbirikani Group Ranch in the Amboseli Ecosystem
The Lion Guardians recruits young Maasai warriors to be actively engaged in protecting lions rather than killing them. Enrollment in the Lion Guardians program is 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.
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. Most notably, these conflict mitigation efforts are founded on century-old traditional techniques and thus are easily understood and accepted by the community.
Lion Guardians-Coexistence between people and lions. Maasai audio with English subtitles.
This video is only 20 minutes long but you will gain a strong understanding of the power and importance of this program and the future of the African lion. I hope you will watch.
Warning! This video contains graphic images of dead lions.
Lion Guardians Give Each Lion a Maasai Name
In order to learn more about the African lion, we need to understand the individuals and study their behavior and movement. One way to do this is to attach a radio collar to track their movement. Once a lion is given a collar, the Lion Guardians give the big cat a Maasai name. This naming of each lion is one of my favorite things in the project because the name helps to emphasize the uniqueness of each lion and leads to increased awareness of the importance of each individual in the broader community.
The names usually reference either a physical characteristic of a behavior unique to that particular lion. For example, one lion was given the name Sikiria, which means “he of the donkey”. This name was given to him because he liked to eat donkeys. This name and telling of stories about him, helps diffuse the anger and retaliation from the Maasai when Sikiria goes looking for a donkey.
You can learn more about the naming of each lion in our post: Lion Guardians Give Each Lion a Maasai Name
Sadly, Sikiria is no longer with us. You can learn more about the end of this lion legend in our post The Story of Sikiria The End of a Lion Legend.
Thank you for caring for all cats big and small!