The Lion Guardian Games that were scheduled to be held between 27th and 29th December have unfortunately had to be postponed to a later date. The current heavy rainfall that is pounding the Amboseli ecosystem has made some areas no-go zones and has completely blocked access to many places. This is a great blessing for the Maasai pastoralists who went through one of the worst droughts they have ever experienced in recent history, some losing almost 95% of their livestock herds.
However, the postponement is not only due to the heavy rains. Because of the sudden increase in human-lion conflicts, the Lion Guardians are urgently needed in their areas to prevent lion deaths. Already, only a week into the rainfall, our Lion Guardians have successfully stopped several lion hunting parties within the ecosystem, all of which were in retaliation for livestock lost to carnivores.
The prolonged drought meant that carnivores had a field day as they had easy access to food from various weak wildlife species. But now, since the few remaining zebra and wildebeest population are getting stronger by the day, the lions are targeting the returning Maasai livestock, many of them still very weak from the drought, and the pastoralists are now more than ever before understandably protective of their remaining livestock. These cows below are returning home after the drought.
We therefore decided to postpone the Games to allow the Lion Guardians time to monitor the movements of lions and alert the community of their whereabouts to try to prevent livestock depredation and to help stop any more lion hunting parties, which are sadly seeming to be getting more and more likely in this current climate. This is an extremely important time for the Guardians, and though we were all really looking forward to the Games, they will have to wait. Now is the time to make sure we save the lives of lions.
We want to say a big thank you to everyone who contributed to make the Lion Guardian Games possible. We will keep you informed of the future dates for the Games, which are going to be even more important for team spirit and rewarding our Lion Guardians for the hard work in stopping this latest spate of lion hunts.