FUTURE KINGS PROJECT
Our first major project which sees us focus on a particular target demographic and spread our support to multiple organisations.
Young dispersing male lions at a risk when travelling nomadically. Once forced out of their birth pride they seek safe places to live away from the much larger dominant pride males often going to reside in community areas where conflict is more likely to occur.
We have grouped together our two collaring sponsorships with Kope Lion and the Mara Predator Conservation Programme to form our Future Kings Project. Working in line with our conservation strategy written in July 2018 as part of our key focus area to help monitor and protect young dispersing male lions. By combining both sponsorships this gives us the opportunity to grow the project in the future by potentially adding more collars through different organisations. This page will give you a brief overview on the project, for more details please read the strategy on the PDF button above.
Why do we focus on these young dispersing males?
When male lions reach sexual maturity they spend more time away from their birth pride. This is because their fathers will be less tolerant of their presence and other unrelated resident dominant males will be actively aggressive. This is of more concern if their birth pride has been taken over by new males and their fathers have been evicted. They will then become nomadic and will often follow the herds and will move many miles during this time. However at this time of life they will no be tolerated in the territories of the larger resident males and by trying to stay out of their way they often head into the community areas for their own safety. This however brings a completely different set of problems for them. When these lions enter these community areas, natural prey species may be limited. The presence of cows and goats can become too tempting which can lead to regular killings and conflict with the local communities which can lead to repercussions with poison generally used. Livestock are a very important part of life to these communities and every loss is a loss of income. By putting collars on these young males, their movements can be tracked and communities warned if they are heading towards a particular area. It is hoped that by being proactive it can limit the number of livestock killings and reduce the number of lion fatalities. These lions are vital to the survival of these lion populations.
We work with two conservation organisations as part of this project. After a couple of years of fundraising and planning with Kope Lion and the Mara Predator Conservation Programme we made two donations in 2019 to sponsor two GPS collars.
Donation of £2938 made to the Mara Predator Conservation Programme to cover the collar and veterinary fees.
This collar was fitted onto Ole Cook, a 4 year old male lion living in the Ol Kinyei Conservancy in the Maasai Mara.
Donation of £2587 made to Kope Lion to cover the collar and annual transmission fees to follow.
This collar was fitted onto a 5 year old male lion named Laipangwa living on the slopes of the Ngorongoro Crater.
In February 2020 we visited the headquarters of the Mara Predator Conservation Programme to launch the Future Kings Project and to spend some time with the MPCP team and to try and find some of the potential candidates for the collar. These video blogs show some of our time there.
Laipangwa, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania, February 2022
MPCP Team Fitting Ole Cook's Collar
Both of these male lions have interesting stories important from a conservation perspective. Laipangwa is living in a multi-use community area that has not seen a lion presence for several years where conflicts still occur. His collar is a useful tool for the team to use to alaert the community of the lions if they are heading to heavily populated areas where livestock may be at risk. Ole Cook is living in a coalition trying to increase its territory, recently they ventured further and disappeared and when they returned one brother was missing. With no trace of the brother he is believed to be dead but it is unknown whether he was killed by other lions or people. The collar therefore is vital to track the movements of the two remaining males if they venture to the same area again. For more updates on Laipangwa, the collared lion via Kope Lion click on this link here. You can also see this brilliant video made by Gamewatchers Safaris & Porini Camps of the Mara Predator Conservation Programme team fitting the collar onto Ole Cook above. Thank you to both organisations for the use of these brilliant pictures, especially Roimen and Emmanuel from Kope Lion of the pictures of Laipangwa on this page.