Community led solutions for people and lions to coexist

Lion Guardians

Lion Guardians is a conservation organization dedicated to finding and enacting long-term solutions for people and lions to coexist. Founded in 2007 in the Amboseli-Tsavo ecosystem of Kenya, Lion Guardians draws its strength from using indigenous culture and local traditional knowledge to conserve wildlife. The foundation of the organization is the idea that the Maasai people –those that share the landscape with lions– are in the best position to protect them.
Lions (Panthera leo) once widely roamed across all of Africa but are now classified as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, both as a result of traditional rite-of-passage hunts and increasing conflict with pastoralists over resources. Every year, conflicts intensify due to the continuing depletion of wild prey, habitat, and deteriorating livestock management, further threatening the future survival of lions. Lion Guardians engages local communities in a solutions-based conservation model, transforming people who once hunted lions into lion protectors.
Lion Guardians’ approach to coexistence involves recruiting young, traditional Maasai and other pastoralist warriors to learn the skills needed to effectively mitigate conflicts between people and wildlife, monitor lion populations, and help their own communities live peacefully with lions. Lion Guardians has demonstrated that conserving and protecting lions through participatory monitoring, ownership, education, and employment brings prestige and status to a Maasai warrior.
This innovative approach has led to more than a decade of conservation achievements. Lion killing in the area that the program operates has decreased by nearly 90%, and the lion population has grown more than six-fold. Region-wide, an increasing number of lions have been successfully dispersing out of the area and moving safely through landscapes that were once very hostile. Lion Guardians has helped to establish and support successful community-based conservation programs across Africa and beyond, through training, mentoring, and strategically sharing its knowledge.

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