Fulfilling our aims and objectives to support lion conservation efforts we were thrilled in December 2017 to send off our first donation to aid lion conservation efforts. With money raised by Noah's Ark Zoo Farm and the 'Pride of Knowsley' Tough Mudder Team we could make the donation of £1080 ($1500) to the organisation Lion Guardians and started our association with them. Our support of Lion Guardians contributes towards our conservation strategy focus areas to involve local communities and lions outside of protected areas. Please click here for their website.
Who are Lion Guardians?
Founded in 2007, Lion Guardians has trained and supported communities at seven different sites to successfully protect lions across the continent. The mission of the organisation is to promote sustainable coexistence between people and lions using cultural values, community participation and science. Lion Guardians currently trains and supports a team of more than 80 East Africans who are actively protecting lions covering approximately 5,500 sq. kms (1.3 million acres). Lion Guardians are committed to workable solutions that are scientifically-driven. Firstly starting out just outside the Amboseli National Park in Kenya, their work has now expanded to three more locations scattered around Tanzania. Focusing in the non protected areas nearby protected reserves ensuring that the wildlife remains protected whilst outside those designated areas.
What do they do?
"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. Our approach involves recruiting young, non-literate 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 Core Values
Participation and community-oriented: The participation of local communities as full and active partners in all of our work.
Trust: Relationships of trust within our organization, with our partners, our donors and supporters, and with all of the communities with whom we work.
Science-based: Conservation programs based on science, and the integration of social and biological sciences, including traditional and indigenous knowledge.
Valuing co-existence: Strong links between local cultural values and conservation programmatic elements.
Collaborative: Partnerships and collaborations are key to achieving long-lasting and broad conservation and livelihood impacts.
How do we help them?
In December 2017 we started our sponsorship of Lion Guardian Lonogi Ole Parsitau, pictured bottom left. Below is some of the feedback from the Lion Guardians team following our sponsorship:
"Longoi is well respected by his peers and extremely hardworking. We would like you to know that your sponsorship provides multiple benefits – strengthening lion conservation and improving local livelihoods. We hire only exceptional candidates and commit to building their skills and capacities so that they grow as individuals and also help strengthen our programs. As part of their training, our Guardians learn to read and write in basic Swahili, use GPS tracking devices, and gain field research and data collection skills. All of this helps the Guardians monitor and protect the lions in their communities. In addition to supporting successful conservation, your sponsorship provides employment to Longoi, who is a member of the local community where employment opportunities are hard to find. He uses his monthly wages to buy food for his family and pay medical bills."
We are very proud to sponsor Longoi and to aid a project that not only helps the local lion population but also focuses on the people who have to live amongst them. By empowering the local people to take an interest in their wildlife and understand their importance, wildlife really can stand a chance.
Kuya Kipampa, our sponsored guardian since 2019
We heard in the Summer of 2018 that Longoi has decided to retire from Lion Guardians. We were delighted to hear in November that a new Guardian has been recruited from the local community to take on Longoi's previous zone called Risa which borders the Amboseli National Park. Our new Guardian is named Kuya Kipampa, pictured top right. Trustees updated his sponsorship in January 2019 by donating £1167 ($1500) to cover him for a year. Below is some information from the Lion Guardians Team about Kuya.
"Kuya's father died when he was very young, an event which pushed him to quickly become a responsible young man at a very tender age. Upon becoming employed by Lion Guardians he was thrilled to further increase his responsibilities and improve his skills"
Trustees have continued to support Kuya by sending the annual donation of $1500 to cover his salary in December 2019, January 2021 and January 2022, now covering Kuya into 2023! We look forward to sponsoring Kuya throughout his career with the Lion Guardians and to support them in the important work that they carry out.
For more information please follow this link to the Lion Guardians website. We are proud to support this great organisation and in total we have donated £5628.62 that has gone towards the sponsorships of these Lion Guardians in this community based programme. We would like to thank everyone at Lion Guardians who has communicated with us over the years and specifically Kuya himself for sending us letters through the Lion Guardians administration team that have been truly wonderful to receive. We look forward to continuing our support for this brilliant organisation long into the future. We would also like to credit John Merishi for the photos of Guardians Longoi and Kuya shown above.