Living With Lions, the parent organization of Lion Guardians, has several other projects operating in Kenya, in addition to Lion Guardians! Please read LWL’s annual report, which we have just posted to our website, to learn more about these great projects! And please remember that we rely on your support to finance these projects, so please support us by donating here.
It was a remarkable year for Living with Lions, with conservation accomplishments in each project area which can be adapted for use in many other parts of Africa. In the Amboseli region, the drought of 2009 killed off 70-85% of lions’ wild prey, forcing them to turn to the remaining Maasai livestock, itself reduced by at least 60%. Starving lions started invading Maasai bomas to kill cattle, and in the first three months of 2010, 16 lions were speared or poisoned in the one small area which as yet had no Lion Guardians program; in the rest of the region, the Guardians stopped dozens of lion hunts, and none were killed. This stunning success in protecting lions during a major crisis has shown the Guardians concept to be an extraordinarily effective lion conservation strategy for areas outside parks. To a biologist, an equally impressive development has been the Guardians’ efficacy at finding, identifying, and cataloguing the region’s remaining lions. Persecuted predators are nocturnal, very shy, and nearly impossible to count. Working with our biologists, the Guardians have identified essentially every lion in the region, documenting lengthy movements and very large home ranges. This is an unprecedented accomplishment, remarkable testimony to the field skills of the Lion Guardians and incredibly hard work by LWL biologists.
In the Mara, Sara Blackburn has demonstrated the accuracy and efficiency of her lion monitoring method that depends on training tourism guides and their guests in accurate lion identification. This year, she is expanding her coverage from 350 to over 1000 square kilometers of this critically important region.
In Laikipia, Alayne Cotterill has made great progress in her dissertation work to determine if lions can change their spatial and temporal use of the landscape to reduce conflict with people and livestock. Long time collaborator Michael Calvin has re-activated the lion tracking website he developed several years ago, which plots the details of GPS-collared lion movements on Google Earth, allowing anyone to see how our study animals are using the landscape: http://www.abycats.com/laikipialionmap/ and http://www.abycats.com/klplionmap.
As Project Administrator, Lisette Gelber has transformed LWL into a far more organized and efficient organization. In 2010 LWL became formally incorporated in Kenya and in 2011 we will be incorporating as a US nonprofit.
We hope you will find the reports interesting, and welcome any questions or inquiries.
Dr. Laurence Frank, Founder and Director
Living With Lions