In our latest blog, Lion Guardians’ Research Scientist Nadia de Souza announces some exciting news for our program.
We are thrilled to be one of the grantees of EarthRanger’s inaugural Conservation Technology Award!
Technology has always been central to our work, as the Lion Guardians model is based on blending traditional ecological knowledge – a crucial tool for conservation – with modern, innovative approaches. The Maasai warriors we work with have an incredible ability to track lions and an intimate understanding of lion behavior; local communities have been relying on these skills to navigate their relationships with lions for thousands of years. But with the added benefit of technology, we can help warriors bolster these skills and better apply them to conservation efforts.
Lion Guardians has long used tools like cell phone technology to call communities and inform them about the presence of lions, as well as radio tracking equipment to keep an eye on certain lions’ whereabouts. More and more, we’re bringing newer technology to the table, like the AI-driven lion identification software and database we call LINC, and a new app we’re building to share our experience and lessons learned with others.
The EarthRanger award will give us the opportunity to further step up our game as far as applying technology to human-lion conflict mitigation efforts. The Conservation Technology Award was developed to catalyze innovation, and it recognizes organizations utilizing technology to protect endangered species, monitor ecological changes and animal behavior, and promote peaceful human-wildlife coexistence. As an awardee, Lion Guardians will receive $15,000 to support our work (and we’re thrilled to be co-awardees with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, another incredible and innovative organization).
We’re planning to use the funds to implement new tracking technology to keep an even closer eye on our naughtiest lions and head off conflict before it even starts. We’ll also be upgrading our data capture methods to bring Guardians onto a digital platform and improve our response time in time-sensitive conflict situations. We anticipate big impacts from these changes, and we are so grateful for the award. Thank you to EarthRanger – we look forward to our conservation journey together!