Lion populations were once at 100,000, but due to habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict and poaching, lion populations are currently at 25,000, with only 2,000 lions in Kenya. The IUCN have lions listed as vulnerable, so African Wildlife Foundation’s Ewaso Lions project aims to promote lion conservation and lion-human coexistence in local communities through training local Samburu warriors to be wildlife ambassadors. The warriors are trained in data collection and GPS to report animal sightings, human-wildlife conflict, livestock issues and illegal poaching, while also changing their community’s attitude towards wild carnivores. In exchange for their active presence in lion conservation, they are given food and weekly lessons in reading and writing in English and Kiswahili and arithmetic.
Human-wildlife conflict has existed ever since humans and wildlife shared land and resources. The most prevalent issue in regards to human-lion conflict is livestock depredation, which can lead to poverty and/or economic dependency in small-scale farmers and herders. This is the main contributor to negative attitudes and confrontations with wildlife and as a consequence, more lions are hunted and killed every year. The inclusion of locals, like the Samburu warriors, is crucial for effective wildlife conservation to improve their community’s attitudes and tolerance to wildlife. Changing the ways local communities react to wildlife can prevent unnecessary human and lion deaths and promote alternative methods to prevent livestock depredation, and finally, reaching coexistence. Lion habitats and herbivore populations are decreasing due to agriculture, urbanisation and poaching, forcing lions to kill livestock for survival. Also, being apex predators, lions have a vital ecological role to manage herbivore populations and control the spread of disease in the African savannahs and grasslands.
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We are the primary advocate for the protection of wildlife and wild lands as an essential part of a modern and prosperous Africa. We focus on wildlife conservation, land and habitat protection and community empowerment to stop poaching and trafficking, protect endangered animals, mitigate climate change, manage land and natural resources, promote sustainable agriculture and tourism, decrease human-wildlife conflict and educate communities on wildlife and conservation.
Ruaha National Park Ruaha National Park, 369, Iringa St, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania