Lions on the Brink
Since the 1990s, half of the African lions—one of the world’s most iconic species—have been lost. If trends continue, free-roaming African lions will disappear from the wild, perhaps in our lifetimes.
There are many factors that have contributed to the significant decline of African lions, but retaliatory killing of lions is one of the main drivers behind the rapid decrease. As human populations in Africa rise, lions routinely come into direct conflict with people over increasingly limited resources. Every year conflicts intensify due to the continuing depletion of wild prey, habitat loss and poor livestock management, further threatening the future survival of the African lion. There is an urgent need to advance practical solutions that reverse the significant decline of African lions.
About Lion Guardians
Lion Guardians is a conservation organization that promotes the coexistence of people and lions in Africa. Founded in 2007, Lion Guardians has trained and supported communities in six different countries to successfully protect lions across the continent through its community-based conservation efforts. In the Amboseli-Tsavo ecosystem of southern Kenya, they are proud to have one of the continent’s only free-roaming and growing lion populations. By empowering warriors who once killed lions and working closely with communities, Lion Guardians proactively minimizes conflict and enables coexistence.
Their innovative approach has reduced lion killing by more than 90%, tripling the lion population in Amboseli and improving connectivity between the Ngorongoro and Serengeti lion populations in Tanzania. They are committed to workable solutions that are scientifically driven, and believe the fate of the lion rests in the hands of the people who live with them.
Lion Guardians is a cost-effective, streamlined operation that achieves these impacts for under one million dollars a year.
The Lion Guardians Model
Wildlife conservation has traditionally focused on wildlife, not people. At Lion Guardians, they take the opposite approach. For almost a decade, they have worked with local communities to protect lions and improve both community conservation by blending traditional knowledge and culture with science.
They believe that the communities who bear the costs of living with wildlife should have a strong role in the development and management of wildlife conservation on their lands.
Lion Guardians’ conservation model is adaptable to various cultures and wildlife species. Founded on local value systems, community participation and science, it is based on a decade of research and rigorous measures of success. Their approach involves recruiting young, not formally educated 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 with lions. By actively engaging in our solutions-based conservation model, people who were once lion killers are transformed into lion protectors.
(*Lion Guardians U.S. is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. )