Lion Guardians conservation program is based on science, 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 symbolize 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 30,000 remain.

      Our Approach

      Wildlife conservation has traditionally focused on wildlife, not people. At Lion Guardians, we take the opposite approach. For almost 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 lion killers into Guardians developed out of years of working with Maasai communities to understand the traditional motives of lion killing. Lion Guardians demonstrate 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 $1 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)


          Monitoring Lions

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

          Using Radio Telemetry

          Lion Guardians mitigate conflict by closely monitoring problem lions by using radio telemetry.

          Spoor Tracking

          Annually, Guardians survey more than 17,000 kms of predetermined routes across the ecosystem, documenting trends in all major predator and prey species.

          Naming lions

          Guardians have given Maasai names to more than 150 lions. Naming the lions allows them to form bonds. The lions belong to the Guardians and their communities.