Linking together all of our donations that support work with communities and the local people to promote coexistence with lions.
Working with the local people is critical to the long term success of wild lion populations.
This project aims to reduce the risks and increase the value of the presence of lions within these community areas to gives lions a value to the people who have to live alongside them.
We have grouped together all of our community based work to create our coexistence project. We have supported organisations like Lion Guardians since 2017 and with the addition of support to Kope Lion and Lion Landscapes to carry out similar work it has made sense to combine them all together. This all works in line with our conservation strategy written in July 2018 as part of our key focus areas to involve local communities and lions outside of protected areas. By combining these sponsorships this also gives us the opportunity to grow the project in the future by potentially adding support in different ways through either our already existing conservation partners or different organisations. This page will give you a brief overview on our project.
Why focus on the communities and not the lions themselves?
Wild lions require huge landscapes to thrive and once lions covered vast areas of Africa into the Middle East and parts of Asia. Due to habitat fragmentation caused by growing agricultural practices and other changes of land use as well as hunting and poaching their populations have dwindled to small isolated pockets spread throughout the African continent. In these last strongholds, lion populations are often surrounded by community areas, making it harder for lions to disperse. This can in extreme circumstances cause inbreeding which can affect the genetic health of populations over the course of a few generations. Their complex social structure as well requires a lot of space which often now edges into these areas where they may not be tolerated. Nowadays their historic ranges are now also shared by people and livestock. Where lions and people overlap, lions impose significant costs for communities, mainly through attacks on livestock, which are vital economic and cultural assets for the local people. Constant attacks and issues can cause conflict to arise which can ultimately lead to lions and other large carnivores such as leopards and hyenas being killed.
Much conservation work in recent times is now based about minimising these potential risks but giving more of an economic and cultural benefit to the presence of these lions rather than them being seen simply as a persistent problem causing personal and community losses. Loss caused by retaliatory killings has grown in recent years as the pressures between rapidly growing human populations has met with lions populations struggling to stay within the set park boundaries and often a loss of wild prey species. These retaliatory killings often occur by poisoning via a carcass, not only does this have an adverse affect on the lion population but can also affect any other scavenging species that may feed from it including jackals and vultures. Trying to increase the tolerance of local people is key to the long term survival of lions in the wild, this can be achieved through better communication with conservation organisations, involvement in these programmes either through benefit schemes or even employment and to ensure that the local people benefit from the presence of lions in their areas. This project aims to support our conservation partners to achieve this objective.
Since December 2017 we have sponsored the salary of a Lion Guardian annually. In our first year we sponsored Longoi Ole Parsitau, left. Since 2019 we have sponsored Kuya Kipampa, right.
In January 2022 we sent $150 to Kope Lion to strengthen a boma within the multi-use area of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. In May 2022 we donated £500 to Lion Landscapes to cover the sponsorship of two camera traps as part of the community camera trapping programme. The pictures below show communities being shown how to work the camera traps and members of the community receiving benefits from the Lion Landscapes team.
In May 2023 we launched our brand new Boma Strengthening Scheme in association with KopeLion. Having visited the team in February we saw first hand the bomas that the team had strengthened and learnt of the huge importance of them within the local community. We have therefore launched a brand new scheme which will improve bomas for £180, 80% of the total cost with the boma owner, paying the remaining 20%. Our goal is to reach £1800 to be able to fund 10 bomas this year. This should reduce the chances of predation at night, keeping cattle and people safe and lions out of conflict.
We are proud to work with the following conservation partners as part of our Coexistence Project. For more information on these organisations please click on the individual logos. We look forward to increasing our conservation efforts over the following years to assist with important community based work that is vital to restoring tolerance and encouraging coexistence between people and lions.