A Male-Only Sanctuary…. Until Now?

Kimana Sanctuary, an area that connects two important wildlife corridors located between the Amboseli and the Chyulu Hills, that allows wildlife to move across areas more recently deployed as agricultural lands, has been a recluse for young male lions for decades. We have often been asked over the years why female lions never appear in the Sanctuary, as for several decades, not a single lioness has been spotted moving through the area. Yet every year since 2015, at least one or two males are observed in the Sanctuary.


Kimana Sanctuary by Andrew Andrawes



While male lions are excellent dispersers who travel far and wide before they settle down into one area, female lions are known as ‘stepping stone’ dispersers who either continue to stay in their mother’s territory where they were raised or they disperse one territory over so once lions are extirpated from an area, it will take much longer for female lions to reach there again. In the past six months, we have recorded the highest density of male lions using the Kimana Sanctuary since our monitoring began in 2003.  With a year-round abundance of wild prey, and the now regular influx of young eligible bachelor lions, we suspected it was only a matter of time before lionesses would be making appearances in the Sanctuary.

In May of 2024 something exciting occurred. Angama Amboseli and Big Life reported that two lionesses were spotted in the Kimana Sanctuary! The entire Lion Guardians team was thrilled about this groundbreaking news and our team joined the Angama driver-guides to take photos of the lionesses for identification purposes to figure out who these females were and where they came from. Even better was that they had already become acquainted with two male lions who have been in Kimana consistently for the last few months: Osunash and 263. 



Kimana Sanctuary by Andrew Andrawes


Using the images to ID the lionesses in our LiNC lion database, we confirmed the lionesses to be ‘Memusi’ (the one who brought immense happiness) and ‘Noltulali’ (she of the baboons as she was born near a Baobab always full of baboons and they constantly barked at her). These two females originate from the Chyulu Hills region, and now with their new-found connection to Osunash and 263 who originate from Amboseli National Park, the corridor is being perfectly utilized.

We will continue to keep a close watch over Memusi who has lived up to her name and brought us all immense happiness and her sister Noltulali, to monitor their stay in the Kimana Sanctuary and to see if any cubs arrive anytime soon. Stay tuned!


Kimana Sanctuary by Andrew Andrawes

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