Ewaso Lions works with communities to ensure their lands serve as important habitat for big cats.
As nomadic pastoralists traverse the vast landscape of northern Kenya, they cross paths with carnivores, the biggest of which are lions. With less than 2,000 lions left in the whole of Kenya, the region serves as an important habitat for the big cats.
The diverse tribes that traverse the wilds of northern Kenya are primarily pastoralists who raise sheep, goats, camels, and cows. These animals are the wealth of their land. Though cultural respect for wildlife abounded for generations, with the loss of traditions and an upsurge in development, now the human reaction to lions attacking livestock is to fight back. When lions kill and eat livestock, herders often retaliate with guns, spears or poison.
Confined to parks, the lion population dwindled and was on the brink of disappearing. Only 2,000 remain in Kenya. In 2007, only 11 were found in the protected areas of the Samburu-Isiolo ecosystem, with few, if any, outside parks. Now, Ewaso Lions is working with communities to reverse this trend, creating one of the few places in Africa where lions exist outside protected areas, allowing community lands to once again serve as an important habitat for big cats. Ewaso Lions’ programs engage local people in conservation, provide training, find creative solutions to human-wildlife conflict, and give back to the community.
With over 50 lions now roaming the area, many of whom have made permanent residence in community lands, it is clear that the key to saving lions in northern Kenya lies in involving local people in conservation.
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