Meet a Guardian: Kikanai Ole Masarie

Kikanai was born in 1992 and spent his childhood in his grandfather’s boma in Eselenkei. His parents lived further away in Entonet. Since he was six years old he has been responsible for looking after his grandfather’s livestock but he also found time to play with his friends. As a young boy he enjoyed swimming with his friends in various waterholes during the rainy season. In 2011, Kikanai officially became a warrior and subsequently he participated in several hunts. None of the hunts were successful since Lion Guardians and other conservation groups intervened and stopped them.

Now Kikanai is a Guardian and he is the one stopping hunts. His zone is called Tipilit and is located at the center of Eselenkei group ranch. His zone is a lion hot-spot and he currently protects five groups of lions namely; Noldupai’s (2 females and 5 cubs), Selenkay’s (2 females and 6 cubs), Nenkii’s (1 female and 4 cubs), Nenkompewa’s (3 females and 6 cubs) – with Martii as the patriarch. Several years ago when Kikanai would often go out on a hunt as a young warrior, he never thought that wildlife can put food on the table. But now he says his job as a Guardian helps him to provide food and clothing for his family without having to sell precious livestock. In turn, he is now encouraging other warriors to protect wild animals in order to gain from them.

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