Lion Guardians conservation program is based on evidence-based strategies, and the integration of social and biological sciences, including traditional and indigenous knowledge.

We develop conservation solutions that are locally relevant and have measurable impact on the species of focus.


The relationship between the herdsmen of Africa and the lion is complex. Lions are both a source of anxiety, because they kill livestock, and a source of pride, as they are symbols of strength and courage.

African herdsmen have coexisted with lions and other wildlife for hundreds of years; this situation is changing radically. Recently, increasing demands of a growing human population has led to elevated levels of lion killing.

    Dwindling Presence

    When the current elders were youths, there were likely over 200,000 lions in Africa. Today, it is estimated that fewer than 20,000 remain.

      Our Approach

      Wildlife conservation has traditionally focused on wildlife, not people. At Lion Guardians, we have an integrated approach. For more than a decade, we have worked with local communities to protect lions and improve both community conservation by blending traditional knowledge and culture with science.

      We believe that the communities who bear the costs of living with wildlife should have a strong role in the development and management of wildlife conservation on their lands.

        Lion Guardians' Strength

        Lion Guardians draws its strength from using indigenous culture and traditional knowledge rather than attempting to change the culture. Transforming people who once killed lions into Guardians developed out of years of working with Maasai communities to understand the motives of lion killing. Lion Guardians demonstrates that conserving and protecting lions through participatory monitoring, ownership, education, and employment brings prestige and status to a Maasai warrior.


          Reinforcing Bomas

          Over 300 homesteads are reinforced each year

          Recovering Lost Livestock

          Over $2 million of potential livestock loss to the community is avoided annually

          Finding Lost Herders

          On average 15 lost herders and children are found each year

          Stopping Hunts

          Annually Guardians prevent an average of 50 lion hunts (~50% with conservation partners)


          Tracking Lions

          Over the years, Lion Guardians have documented a tripling of the lion population in Amboseli-Tsavo ecosystem.

          Using Radio Telemetry

          Lion Guardians mitigate conflict by closely monitoring problem lions, occasionally through the use of using radio telemetry. Less than 20% of the monitored lions account for nearly 90% of depredations on livestock

          Conducting transects and recording tracks

          Annually, Guardians systematically conduct surveys of more than 17,000 kms of predetermined routes across the ecosystem, documenting trends in all major predator and prey species. Additionally, they patrol more than 20,000km each year to safeguard lions.

          Naming lions

          Guardians have identified and named nearly 400 lions. Naming the lions allows them to form bonds and provides ownership. The lions belong to the Guardians and their communities.