This month the Lion Recovery Fund (LRF) spent time with our project.
The LRF is a collaborative granting initiative created by the Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN) in partnership with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, with a bold vision to double the number of lions in Africa, bringing back the half we have lost. The LRF is managed by WCN and draws on a coalition of advisors with expertise in conservation and philanthropy to guide grantmaking and ensure that decisions are rooted in sound science and financial integrity.
LRF is one of our key donors, supporting our Coexistence coop including our Lion Ranger program, Community Coexistence training and our Collaring for Coexistence Program.
During their visit, the group were part of a new exciting pilot of a tourism partnership between Lion Landscapes and El Karama Ecolodge. This involved an immersion into the role of Lion Rangers on the Ranch. We started the day early with a patrol across beautiful El Karama. Our patrol included a visit to one of the nearby livestock enclosures (bomas) to check on any large carnivore events during the night. Livestock are kept inside bomas at night to keep them protected but large carnivores, such as lions, often still visit and try their luck. Once at the boma we had a chance to hear all about various techniques used to ensure the livestock were kept safe including some very exciting stories from the night watchman himself! The cows were then let out of their bomas to graze and we followed the herd, learning all about the livestock husbandry techniques that the herdsmen use during the day to make sure the cows are protected from lions. Once the cows were on their way to find water we split off and finished the patrol, all the while learning about large carnivore ecology from Joseph, one of El Karamas highly trained guides and Lion Ranger.
After we had our fill of delicious brunch, we headed off to Loisaba to meet Lion Landscape’s first Lion Ranger team. En route, we spotted a lost sheep with a sore leg and picked her up. Though a little muddy the sheep was very well behaved and we managed to reunite her with the rest of her flock and a very grateful herdsman. Ensuring that lost animals are safely returned to their herder is another key way in which Lion Rangers prevent large carnivore-livestock conflict, protecting lives and local livelihoods.
At Loisaba, the LRF team learnt all about the importance of Lion Ranger work for maintaining coexistence on the conservancies and the surrounding communities from the Lion Rangers themselves. Together we recollected fun stories of lion adventures, including memories of Sansa. We are still in mourning for Sansa, who was put down last week as a result of serious hunting injuries, and seeing a team of strong Lion Rangers so visibly upset about losing a Lioness was deeply moving “She was our daughter and we are sad she is gone, but we must continue to look after her pride”.
Luckily we received a report that one of the Loisaba male lions had been seen so off we all dashed, and after some offroading through thick bush, we managed to see him with a new ‘girlfriend’. What a spectacular end to a very busy day! Thank you to LRF for taking the time to visit our programs and for your continued support! We could not do what we do without the generosity of our Donors.
Would you like to help too?
Due to high demand we are currently fundraising to put one more Lion Ranger Unit in the field. For this unit we will train and equip 6 new Lion Rangers. With the help of this new Lion Ranger Unit we will be able to help even more local communities to live with lions in Laikipia, one of the key source populations for wild lions in northern Kenya.
Go to lionlandscapes.org/rangers to learn more about the Lion Rangers Program or
Go to lionlandscapes.org/donate to make your donation.
Save Wild Lions. Promote Co-existence. Support our Lion Rangers.