The Story of Sikiria The End of a Lion Legend

The Story of Sikiria

Last year we posted a survey about African lions and asked you to tell us which lion caught your eye and why.  For those of you that participated in the survey, you might remember the short story of Sikiria that was part of the survey question.

Here is the excerpt from the survey:

The Lion Guardians have been extraordinarily successful at stopping lion killing. This program is one of the first in East Africa that combines traditional knowledge with modern scientific techniques.

In order to learn more about the African lion, a radio collar is attached to track each lion’s movement. Once a lion is given a collar, the Lion Guardians give the lion a Maasai name.

The names usually reference either a physical characteristic or 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. Now watchful eyes can keep Sikiria out of trouble and the donkeys safe by relaying messages about Sikiria’s location. It is also much easier to forgive behavior when you know the name of the lion and their unique traits.

Sikiria "He of the donkeys"

Sikiria "He of the donkeys" Photo by Philip J. Briggs

The Lion Guardians named him “he of the donkeys”

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