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Lion Friendly Livestock

Substantial numbers of the world’s remaining wild lions exist on rangeland shared with pastoralists, who traditionally prioritise livestock quantity over quality. Unsustainable agricultural practices and resulting rangeland degradation threaten biodiversity, amplify poverty by reducing returns on investment, and can increase climate change vulnerability for pastoral people. 

Lion Friendly Livestock is a partnership between Lion Landscapes and Laikipia’s Conservancies to co-develop strong brand recognition for livestock products linked to standards that demonstrate healthy soils, healthy habitat, and the conservation of biodiversity all the way up to the largest apex carnivore - the African lion. Livestock producers that join the programme benefit from a strong and verifiable conservation story with which to sell their products, and extensive data to inform improved rangeland management.

Lions will only feel comfortable resting in the open during the daylight in areas where th

To help traditional pastoral livestock producers regenerate rangelands and reach the Lion Friendly Livestock standards, the programme also shares knowledge on predator proof and regenerative rangeland management practices, and provides support in implementing these practices, through film nights, household visits by Lion Extension Officers, training days and the co-development of large demonstration plots with programme partners. 

Programme activities also include working with pastoral groups, with a focus on women’s groups, and reputable savings and credit cooperatives to co-develop financial products that meet the needs of pastoral families and reduce their reliance on livestock as their main form of savings. This enables sustainable practices and improves financial security for pastoral families.

Overall, Lion Friendly Livestock activities aim to help a) improve profits for certified livestock producers, while b) enabling and incentivising regenerative practices so that pastoral livelihoods and biodiversity conservation, including the largest carnivores, are improved.

Lion Friendly Livestock Process

Step 1

Lion Landscapes in consultation with the Laikipia Conservancies Association members, develops and registers the criteria for Lion Friendly Livestock certification

Step 3

Pastoralists in degraded rangelands are given access to the Lion Friendly Livestock programme via grazing agreements and livestock breeding opportunities on Lion Friendly Livestock certified rangelands that improve livestock health, weight and breed

Step 5

% revenue from the sale of Lion Friendly Livestock is reinvested by livestock producers into activities that regenerate degraded rangelands and protect lions and other biodiversity

Future: degraded rangelands regenerate to also become certified Lion Friendly Livestock producers

Step 2

Sustainably managed rangelands with healthy lion populations  go through the Lion Friendly Livestock certification process 

Step 4

Certified producers form a Lion Friendly Livestock Sales and Marketing Committee to create and market a reliable supply of good quality certified livestock for direct sale to reputable meat packagers and butcheries

Throughout: adherence to Lion Friendly practices, and the resulting conservation and economic impacts, are monitored by Lion Landscapes and shared with all partners.

Why growing grass helps save lions, and vice versa

Blog article part 1: The grass-lion link

The key factor determining grass production is not how great the maximum grazing pressure is (number of animals) but rather whether the grasses have the time they need free from grazing pressure to grow leaves and photosynthesise (distribution of animals). 

Blog article part 2: Lion Friendly Livestock Criteria

Lion Friendly Livestock criteria are designed to be scaled across different rangelands with different human and environmental characteristics. Best practices used may vary from one habitat type to another or from one region to another, and can reflect local traditional practices. 

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