It was his day off. Guardian Lenkai was making his way back home when a pungent smell wafted through the air. Inquisitive as always, Lenkai began to search for the source of the smell. When he finally happened upon the carcass emitting the smell, he was shocked. Under a lone tree, lay a motionless lion cub and a few meters away, a puff adder. Both were dead. The fast decomposing body of the cub showed that it had been bitten on both the leg and nose, while the puff adder was headless.
As he was assessing the situation, Lenkai noticed that a hyena was also circling the bodies. In order to make a positive identification of the cub, he knew he would have to keep the hyena away, so he made two trips back and forth from his house to the cub, to first make the report and then to collect his own blanket as well as some lights. He placed the blanket over the cub’s body to keep the hyena from consuming it and then strung up some lights in the nearby tree as a further deterrent, hoping this would buy time for the biologist to arrive.
When the biologists came to review the report, they identified the dead cub as one of Nenkii’s one and half year old cubs, either Nenkusero or N’gosuani who we featured in our December 2013 post. The two sisters have been separated from their mother on and off since March because of Nenkii’s new male companions. It seems the female cub was alone at the time of the incident. However, the body was too decomposed too identify which of the two cubs it was.
The Lion Guardians are not only responsible for stopping kills and reducing conflicts, but they also play a crucial role in helping us collect data so that we can monitor lion populations across the areas we work. On this day, Lenkai’s day off, he went above and beyond the call of duty.
This serves as just one example as to why he was awarded the “Greatest Impact Award” at this year’s Lion Guardians Games. Thank you, Guardian Lenkai for conserving lions and preserving cultures.Join our community – sponsor a Guardian today.