My name is Antony and I am the Assistant Director of the Lion Guardians program, here on Mbirikani Group Ranch in Maasailand, Kenya. I am 23 years old and am the first born in my family. My dad is married to three wives, and has 17 children. Since I left secondary school I have been working for the Living with Lions project. I have not had a chance to continue with my tertiary education yet, but I hope to some day.
I really like working for the Lion Guardians. I think it is a very special program, particularly because it gives young Maasai warriors (murrans) a chance to do something different from what they grew up doing, i.e. hunting lions (known in my language, Maa as Olamayio).
We are teaching the Guardians new things, like using radio telemetry to track collared lions, reading GPS units and filling in forms. None of the Guardians had a chance in school and I am fascinated by the way they pick up these new technologies that are introduced to them. I hope we can get enough funding through this blog to continue this program into the future, and maybe even expand it to other areas. In this photo I am helping teach a Guardian how to track collared lions.
With the population of lions still very low, we need to explain to the community that these animals have the right to live, even though they share the same land as their livestock, and may sometimes kill their source of livelihood.
Working for the Lion Guardians program is shaping my skills to prepare me for a competitive world as a young Maasai warrior. I am learning different ways of approaching tough decisions at a young age, through interacting with the older generation, and I hope this will enable me to lead my community in the right direction as the 21st century brings new and different technology to Maasailand. Here I am dressed up as a smart project director in my office!
In Maa we have a saying: â??an eye that has gone out is smart’. Because I am educated, and I have traveled outside the community and experienced new things, I feel I should pass on these new ideas and my knowledge to my community. I try to do this as much as I can.
I hope you enjoy reading the profiles of the Lion Guardians. If you can, please help us by making a donation to the project. We are very grateful for your support.