Over the course of last year, communities in our operating area experienced more than 220 attacks on their livestock – that’s more than twice as many as we recorded in 2019. This increase is due to lots of factors: growing lion and human populations, an increasingly unpredictable climate, shifting cultural values leading to less responsible herding practices, and more. But one thing is clear: more attacks on livestock put communities’ livelihoods and lions’ lives at risk.
We reached out to you in November with a challenge: help us raise $100,000 to expand our mobile conflict team so we can better respond to depredations and mitigate the growing human-lion conflict. And boy, did you deliver – in less than two months, you funded our expansion!
We were overjoyed to reach our goal, but when we dug into the numbers, we were even more heartened at the response. We got a few large donations that really boosted our campaign, but almost half of the donations we received were for less than $100, which meant that people from all walks of life felt impassioned by our work. We even received some very touching emails from donors who were in tight financial positions, but wanted to contribute just a few dollars to our efforts. What’s more, nearly two-thirds of the donors who gave during this campaign had never supported our organization before – in all, we welcomed nearly 100 new donors to the Lion Guardians family.
All this support will allow us to hire, train, and equip enough new team members to enable three separate mobile teams to be ready to respond when conflicts emerge. They will be prepared to engage calmly with frustrated communities, they will be outfitted for night patrols to secure bomas, and they will be trained to conduct “mock hunts” to push problem-causing lions to safer areas. And even after conflicts cool down, the teams will keep tabs on the lions to make sure they’re staying out of trouble, as well as provide support to the communities to improve their livestock herding practices and head off future conflict.
Our team on the ground – which has spent the last year rushing between communities to diffuse tension – is so grateful for your support. Below, conflict team member Jeremiah Purka shares his gratitude.
We are so proud of our work assisting communities and lions, and thrilled that we will be able to have bigger impacts on the ground. Communities will get a faster, more effective response when they need our assistance, and lions will be safer and more secure. And all this is because of you – a critical part of the Lion Guardians family.
We truly would not be able to do what we do without your help – thank you for making our work possible, and for supporting us so generously. Happy new year!