Sopa, Hujambo, Hello!

Here in Amboseli, spring is a time for change and new growth. And we, too, are putting lots of energy into growth - specifically, into the development of our team. Three of our senior managers have just graduated from an intensive leadership training through the ALX program , and our program manager, Luke Maamai, has been accepted to a Master’s program at the University of Kent. It is incredible to watch our team flourish with increased leadership experience. We are also evolving as an organization, and to guide this process, we have been working both as a team and in small groups to reflect on the past three years and develop our strategy for the next three years. These gatherings have been filled with ideas, inspiration, laughter, and bonding, and we are excited to share our Strategic Plan 2019 - 2021 soon.

Our internal efforts continue to strengthen our work on the ground as we monitor lions, conduct innovative research, and share our knowledge to increase our impacts. Read on to learn what we have been up to lately.

It takes a community to conserve lions and preserve cultures, we are grateful that you are a part of ours.

Ashe Oleng, Asante, Thank You!
Support Us

We are excited to announce our partnership with Pants for Lions , a brand-new apparel company dedicated to helping promote coexistence. A portion of every sale will benefit Lion Guardians, so you can help fund our work while you shop for some new gear!
You can always support us in other ways as well:
Our 2018 Impacts
Together, we accomplished amazing things last year. While we consistently measure our progress with numbers and statistics, what sticks with us are the stories that embody our impact: successes in tense situations, outreach events that empower the community, and team members achieving great heights. We are pleased to share all this, and more, in the Lion Guardians 2018 Annual Report .
Our Latest Highlights
The Lion Guardians family continues to grow with the addition of two new Guardians. Lankoi Partori Mancha is known for his energy and charisma, and Kutata Kurramben is praised for his great discipline. Both have already proven to be proactive in monitoring and retrieving livestock, notifying herders of lions’ movement, and mitigating conflict. You can get to know Lankoi and Kutata better in our recent blog .
Photo by John Merishi
To help deal with animals that repeatedly clash with humans and livestock (so-called problem animals), we have been collaboratively developing protocols to follow in response to conflicts with lions and elephants. We are currently piloting these steps locally before they are implemented on a national level later this year. These protocols are a huge step toward helping communities and other stakeholders cooperate to reduce depredations and keep lions alive.
In December, we hosted seven participants from the Niassa Carnivore Project and Niassa National Reserve for a knowledge sharing service. Over six days, we shared skills and knowledge and provided the Niassa team with new tools for more effectively and confidently dealing with conflict in their area. Since the training ended, the Niassa team has already hit the ground running with their newfound knowledge. You can read more about the training here .
Photo by Jackson Kikardi
We are thrilled to share that LINC , our open-source lion recognition platform, has been awarded the AI for Earth Innovation Grant from National Geographic with sponsorship by Microsoft. Stephanie, our Co-founder and Director of Science, has been working alongside engineer Justin Downs of IEF R&D to develop the project under our fiscal sponsor Wildlife Guardians. The grant will go toward making the system an even easier-to-use and more powerful tool for conservationists around the world.
We recently held our first murran [warrior] forum to increase dialogue with community members. The group spoke about a range of topics, including community assistance, the difficulties associated with losing livestock, and the benefits of coexistence. We were so pleased with the information, commitment, and trust that emerged, and we look forward to more of these gatherings. You can learn more about the murran forums here .
Photo by John Merishi
We played a critical role in developing the methodology for Kenya’s National Lion Census, and lately we have been busy putting those methods to work on the ground. At the end of last year, we completed an intense effort to count lions in Amboseli. And in April, we completed months of work on the Tsavo census, which has been hailed as the largest carnivore census ever; nine collaborative teams covered about 23,000 km2 and made 1,743 predator sightings. We returned home tired, but proud to be part of such an important and large-scale collaboration to conserve lions.
Meet the Team: Jeremiah Purka
It is heartwarming to watch one of our own develop into an inspiring leader. Jeremiah Purka, a young Maasai man, began working with us in 2013 as a part-time laborer with an unglamorous task: digging pit latrines. He spent weeks breaking rock, digging downwards inch by inch, yet never complaining. Thanks to his great attitude and leadership capabilities, he soon began to manage the construction labor unit. Eventually, he became our go-to guy for camp and vehicle maintenance. As his mechanical expertise improved, we could see that he was itching for a new challenge, so when an opportunity arose on the lion monitoring team, we decided to promote from within. Jeremiah quickly picked up the photography skills needed to supplement his innate tracking abilities, but, having never gone to school, he could not read or write, which made data entry difficult. But Jeremiah’s eagerness to grow won out; in 2018, at his request, he eagerly started attending school to learn to read and write. Jeremiah’s journey with Lion Guardians may have started with humble beginnings, but he is always reaching for the stars and we hope he never stops wanting to learn and grow.
Parting Shot
Our team monitored a total of 230 lions last year, including lioness Entibili (shown here) and her young cubs. Tracking lions and observing their behavior enables us to help keep communities and lions safe while collecting critical information for lion conservation.
Images copyright Philip J. Briggs unless otherwise noted