Category Archives: Community

Please Help Us Run for Lions

This Saturday, May 4th, Ewaso Lions is holding our 4th annual Running for Lions half marathon in Samburu. We are so excited to see the community come together under the banner of lion conservation.

We need your help to raise $500 for the event. It’s a small bit of money for a huge positive community event.

Runners take off in the 2011 Running For Lions race. (Photo by Tony Allport)

This year there will be two races: a 21km half marathon for elders and warriors, and a 7km race for women (the community requested to separate races for men and women). The races take place in the stunning Westgate Community Conservancy just west of Samburu National Reserve, here in northern Kenya. We are sponsoring the race this year with Sasaab Lodge, Westgate Conservancy, and Carter Safaris.

As usual, the prizes consist of goats!

Life in Samburu is hard — security issues, human-wildlife conflict, drought — so Running for Lions offers people a day to come together, have fun, and raise awareness about the positive benefits of lions and wildlife. Please help us make this year’s race the best yet.

Please support the race by making a donation through the link below. We only need $500 for the event. Any amount will help!

Click here to donate

Announcing the new Kenyan Kids on Safari Camp 2013

Our Kenyan Kids on Safari programme started in 2009 through the support of our friend Todd Cromwell. Initially, the programme involved taking children on safaris into Samburu National Reserve to give them a positive wildlife experience. Surprisingly, many children who live just on the edge of the Reserve have never even been inside.

Shivani introduces the upcoming KKOS Camp to students at Lpus Leluai Primary School.

More than 100 children have been taken on safari through this programme. We give the children digital cameras and binoculars so they can take their own photos, which we later print for them, so they share and remember their experiences in the Reserve. To date, Sasaab Lodge and Samburu Intrepids have supported this programme, and children from Sasaab village, Lpus Leluai, and Kiltamany Primary schools have benefitted from these safaris.

In 2013, we are initiating a new and exciting experience for children in Samburu. This month, we will hold a Kenyan Kids on Safari Camp in Westgate Community Conservancy. From April 17—20, children will be taken on bird walks, game drives, watch wildlife films and documentaries, and participate in workshops and sporting events. On the final day, four local primary schools will participate in a Wildlife Drama competition.

Children from the four schools were selected to participate through a creative competition with the theme “Conservation and Conflict”. Seven children with the best artistic entries from each school were invited to participate in the Camp. The results from the creative competition were fantastic – we had lions made out of beans, birds made out of sand and much more!

> Read more about Kenyan Kids on Safari here.

Here are some of the winning entries from the creative art competition:

Children submitted entries into the art competition in order to get a spot in the KKOS Camp.

A lion made of beans! One of the entries for the art competition.

The following is a winning poem by Antonella Sainety:

Lion my best friend
Lion my friend I pitty you
Lion my friend I love your nature
Lion my friend I like your beauty

What can I do lion
What best fit you lion
Where better keeps lion
Why are you in danger

Sad to hear people complain
Sad to hear people hunting you
Sad to hear dead lions
Sad to miss lions in Kenya

Hoi lion extinctions!
Lion extinction hurts my heart
My ears
My brain
My spirit
And destroys the environment

Hoi lions bring benefits!
To students
To teachers
To parents
Hoi – conserve Lions!

Lions my heritage
The splendour of my country
The beauty of my mother land
Hoi Conserve lions for future generations

 

Exposure Tour Shares Conservation Lessons Across Two Communities

With the recent severe lion conflict occurring within the Nakuprat-Gotu Conservancy, Ewaso Lions initiated an exposure tour for residents to visit Westgate Community Conservancy to learn about the conservation activities taking place there, which might be adapted and applied in Nakuprat-Gotu.

Nakuprat-Gotu is a primarily Turkana community located to the east of Samburu Naitonal Reserve in northern Kenya. Ewaso Lions organized the exposure tour in February in conjunction with the Kenya Wildlife Service, Nakuprat Conservancy management, Samburu National Reserve and Westgate Community Conservancy.

The Chairlady of Nakuprat-Gotu Conservancy discusses wildlife conservation and tourism benefits to community members during the exposure tour visit to Samburu National Reserve.

Following discussions within Nakuprat in late January, it was apparent that general conservation awareness among the community was low, and there were concerns over carnivore predation of livestock. Importantly, community members wanted to get involved and become informed. We decided to bring together the residents of this conservancy and take them to Samburu National Reserve and Westgate Conservancy for an exposure tour.

Gabriel Lepariyo, Warden of Samburu National Reserve, welcomed the group and addressed key issues such as the importance of wildlife within the region and the benefits of having tourists visit Samburu and Buffalo Springs. Charles Lekirimpoto followed up with a discussion on how important working with the communities was in conservation.

Next, the group stopped into Save the Elephants research centre, where David Daballen, head researcher, addressed the group about poaching and the current problems facing elephants.

The Chairlady of Nakuprat-Gotu, Josephine Ekiru, was instrumental in bringing together the key community members and encouraging them to learn from this experience and to take the message back to their homes and spread the knowledge. She challenged the group to learn to live with wildlife and to frequently report any problems.

The group spent the afternoon visiting Westgate Community Conservancy and was welcomed by the Interim Manager of Westgate, Francis Lalampaa, the Grazing Chairman, Michael Lesachore, and the Chairman of the Board, Ltepeswan Lesachore. The group discussed the various steps in how Westgate became a successful Conservancy and the benefits it now receives through wildlife – which include school bursaries, water projects, health clinics, security and much more.

Chairman of Westgate Community Conservancy discusses the benefits his conservancy has received from wildlife.

Steve Okoth, the Community Warden from Kenya Wildlife Service, addressed issues such as compensation for human death, the importance of reporting on any wildlife conflict and building on a successful relationship between the community and the wildlife officials. Over lunch, we were able to show the group an educational and informative film on the importance of natural resources and how better to protect livestock against predators. Following this, the group visited the Core Conservation Area and Buffer Zone in Westgate to learn about successful grazing management in the area.

The Nakuprat-Gotu community members responded very positively to the talks and freely spoke of their problems with wildlife. We were impressed with their honesty and also their open-mindedness to conservation. The elders said they were impressed with what they saw on the exposure tour, and they are open to learning more about Westgate’s success in community conservation. They requested continued awareness about the importance of wildlife and the potential of receiving benefits through tourism or wildlife research within their own Conservancy.

Ewaso Lions thanks the Westgate Conservancy Management for all their assistance with the Nakuprat Community members and the Kenya Wildlife Service, Save the Elephants and Samburu National Reserve for their support during this exposure tour.

The group visits the grazing zone in Westgate Conservancy.

Jeneria from Ewaso Lions shows the group one of our reinforced bomas that prevents hyenas and other carnivores from preying on livestock.

 

84 Runners Compete in Race Sponsored by Ewaso Lions

Our third annual “Running for Lions” half marathon was a great success.  Held on the 2nd of June in Westgate Community Conservancy, the run attracted 84 runners from all over the conservancy, including a few runners from as far as Wamba town.  We had a 21 km run for the elders and warriors, and a 7 km run for women and children.

The Ewaso Lions team did great!  Moses, our Ewaso Lions Scout, came in 3rd position in the Elders race; Letupukwa, our cook, finished in 3rd position in the Warriors race; AND Yesalai, our Assistant Community Officer, finished in 7th position in the Warriors run.  The rest of the team were scattered at check-points on the half-marathon course.

Start of the Half Marathon

On the route through Westgate Conservancy

Moses passes a check-point

Winner of the Half Marathon, Lengures

Ladies line up to receive their prizes

Ewaso Lions Team: Letupukwa (left), Yesalai (middle) and Moses (right)

Jeneria presents Yesalai with his prize

The Running for Lions 2012 Group

The event was sponsored by Westgate Conservancy, Sasaab Lodge, Carter Safaris and Ewaso Lions.  We are already looking forward to next year’s event!

Book Donation to Lpus Leluai

Thanks to the Desai Memorial Foundation, in Nairobi, Ewaso Lions was able to donate a large number of school text books that were lacking at the Lpus Leluai Primary School in Westgate Community Conservancy.  The headmaster, Johnson Lenasalia, met with all his teachers at the school and came up with a list of all the books that the growing number of children required.  With the final year examinations coming up, these books were urgently needed.  We approached the Desai Memorial Foundation who agreed to make the donation.  The books were delivered recently and there are some happy children at Lpus Leluai now!

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This is our second book donation to the school  –click here to read about the first donation.

Many thanks to the Desai Memorial Foundation for their continued support and donation.

Local Samburu Children Go On Safari with Ewaso Lions

I always love going on game drives. But taking 31 laughing, bouncing, squirming little kids on a game drive is the best. Today we took kids from the local primary school into the park to get up close to wildlife. We piled the kids into two Land Cruisers along with two teachers and Ngila, our Community Officer. Sasaab Lodge graciously lent one of their vehicles.

Samburu kids on their first trip into the park.

The children belong to the Wildlife Club and Scout Club at the local school we support, Lpus Leluai. This school sits on the border of the park, and most of the children live nearby. Despite living next to the park, 28 of the kids today had never been inside Samburu National Reserve! This might sound impossible to some readers, but it’s true. That’s why we think this program – called Kenyan Kids on Safari – is a good one. It gives kids the opportunity to see wildlife safely and enjoyably. It allows them the excitement of a game drive, which most local people don’t get to experience.

I met the kids at Lpus school at 8am and they could hardly control themselves they were so excited. After a short talk on proper game drive etiquette such as staying inside the vehicle and talking quietly, we were off.

Me and the kids from the Wildlife/Scout Club at Lpus Leluai primary school. They are wearing their cool Club outfits!

We had great wildlife sightings. At one spot along the river, we found a fantastic scene of gerenuk, impala, reticulated giraffe, baboons, Beisa oryx, and Grevy’s zebra all browsing together.  We also spent time only a few meters away from a family of elephants. Many of the children looked rather worried to be so close to the large animals, but eventually their concern turned to wonder.

All morning long I had been keeping my eye out for one animal in particular: a lion. The sight of a lion would have made the day. And fortunately, sitting in the shade of the river bank, there was Pixie. Later, many of the kids said that seeing the simba was their favorite part.

Watching the lioness Pixie through binoculars.

The sun was harsh and the road was bumpy, and kids are kids. So by 1pm we began to head home and as we approached the school, the kids started singing. A great end to a perfect game drive.

Another great day of ‘Kenyan Kids on Safari’

“Running for Lions” Half Marathon a Huge Success

Our second annual Half Marathon “Running for Lions” took place on the 2nd of May in Westgate Community Conservancy.  Sponsored by Westgate Conservancy, Sasaab Lodge, Ewaso Lions and new sponsors, Carter Safaris, the event was bigger and better than last year’s run.  We first held a “Totos or Children’s Race” on May 1st at the Sasaab Airstrip.  More than 50 little children under the age of 10 ran 2 kms and we even had a few 3 year olds run 1 km!  All children were generously rewarded for their efforts with books, pencil cases, shirts and bubbles!

DSC_0866Start of the Children’s Race

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DSC_0893Children Running on the Sasaab Airstrip

The Half-Marathon and Women’s 7 kms Run was held the following day.  All scouts, warriors and check-points were in place by 6:15 am and both races started at 6:30 am. Over 100 runners had registered, including marathon runners from Wamba town, Samburu ladies from Sasaab and Ngutuk Ongiron, Warriors from Westgate and Kipsing, Westgate Conservancy rangers, and staff from Sasaab, Ewaso Lions and Carter Safaris.

Marathon 2 Tony

Marathon 3 Tony

Start of the Half Marathon

Marathon 4 Tony

Start of the Women’s and Kids Race

The Half-Marathon and Women’s Race was over by 9 am.  Goats were distributed as prizes with medals and shirts for everyone.  Everyone had a great time and we ended with talks about the importance of wildlife and lions in particular. We were lucky that the elephants stayed off the route this year although driving back to camp, there was a huge bull feeding at the side of the road!  We were all relieved no one had bumped into him!  Moses from Ewaso Lions came in 8th position and was the first ranger to complete the Half Marathon.  Moses is now training hard for the Lewa Marathon next month.

Marathon 7 Tony

Moses finishing the Half Marathon in great time!

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The Ewaso Lions team!

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Winner of the Half Marathon

Marathon 5 Tony

Group photo of 2011 “Running for Lions” Half Marathon

Thanks to Tony Allport for great photos, Sasaab Lodge and Westgate Conservancy for their support and Carter Safaris for stepping in at such short notice to make this an extra special event with banners, medals and shirts!  We look forward to another event in 2012 with new routes and more runners!

“Running for Lions” Marathon Scheduled for May 2nd 2011

After the huge success of our first marathon last year on May 1st in Westgate Community Conservancy, we are now getting ready for the second marathon to be held in a few days.  This year will be bigger!  We’ve received interest from many communities around Westgate and people here in Westgate are already training hard.  The Sasaab airstrip is the perfect training ground – although we had hyenas whooping at us on Day 1 and jackals surprised to see a group of warriors running on the airstrip on Day 2 of the training.

This year we have 3 races – a Half-Marathon, a Women’s Race and a Children’s 2 km Fun Race.  The event has been co-sponsored by Westgate Conservancy, Carter Safaris, Ewaso Lions and Sasaab Lodge and will have representatives from all taking part in the races.  Goats will be prizes once again with additional kids prizes this year. Please consider making a donation for this event so we can get more prizes for the kids and others running.

We’re all very excited and everyone is talking about this upcoming event.  Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for updates of the event!

Group photo at 2010 marathon

Group photo of 2010 “Running for Lions” marathon

Warriors at Work

The Warriors from the Warrior Watch Programme have been engaged in conservation since January 2010.  Following the success of the programme, we recently expanded into the neighbouring Mpus Kutuk Conservancy.  We now have 16 warriors actively involved in wildlife conservation.

Since December 2010, each of the warriors have spent a number of weeks with us in camp.  They have been busy learning how to use GPS units, recording data, visiting schools and talking to the students about their roles in conservation, digging waterholes for the wildlife, tracking and spotting lions, setting up camera traps and much more.  We now have 5 warriors who are able to record their own wildlife sightings using GPS units and binoculars donated by Afrique Horizons.  Jeneria has supervised and worked closely with all the warriors, teaching them on a daily basis.  We are really proud of the warriors who are so excited by their roles in conservation.

Jeneria training Lpuresi

Jeneria shows Lpuresi how to use a GPS unit

Lpuresi in the field

Lpuresi records a gerenuk sighting in the Conservation Area

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Lpuresi proudly displays his notebook!

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Sopili sees a plane close-up for the first time at the Sasaab airstrip

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Lentiyo spots lions and learns their identities in Samburu National Reserve

Lentiyo school

Lentiyo speaks to the school children about wildlife and their importance in Westgate Community Conservancy – the visit was sponsored by Sasaab Lodge

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Lpuresi sets up a camera trap in the Conservation Area

We require your assistance to keep this programme going – we need more GPS units and binoculars, funds for training, food stipends and more.  Please consider making a donation to this programme.  Thank you!

Warrior Watch Expands to Mpus Kutuk

Warriors in Westgate have been engaged in conservation and part of our Warrior Watch programme since January 2010.  The 5 warriors from Westgate Community Conservancy have remained enthusiastic and excited about their roles in conservation through 2010 as they reported on wildlife sightings, attended conflict cases and held meetings of their own with other warriors on the importance of wildlife.  They attended training sessions, visited the reserves on educational tours and also spent weeks with us in camp learning and getting involved in research activities.

Following the success of Warrior Watch in Westgate in 2010, we recently expanded into the neighbouring Mpus Kutuk Conservancy in February 2011.  Mpus Kutuk is located South of the Ewaso Nyiro River, directly opposite Westgate.  Mpus Kutuk also hosts the crucial Kipsing corridor, where lions, elephants, endangered wild dogs and Grevy’s zebra connect between Samburu and Laikipia Districts.

Following an initial meeting with the Northern Rangelands Trust, we held a few meetings between us, Westgate Conservancy and the management of Mpus Kutuk.  Soon after this, the Head of Security Teti and manager of Mpus Kutuk Peter, selected 6 new warriors to join the Warrior Watch Programme.  At the same time, Stephen the Head of Security of Westgate selected an additional 3 warriors from Westgate.  We had identified 3 gaps in Westgate Conservancy where we had no warriors and after managing to secure some funds, we now have 8 warriors active in conservation in Westgate supervised by our very own Jeneria Lekilele.

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The Warrior Watch Programme group from Ewaso Lions, Westgate and Mpus Kutuk Community Conservancies

We held a 2-day training session with the new warriors.  The training was an intensive 2-day event where we covered all the important topics related to wildlife conservation in the region.  We also took the new warriors on a drive in the Westgate Conservation Area (thanks to Sasaab lodge for their vehicle) and they were very impressed with this wildlife zone and the grasses that were currently there in the midst of a drought.

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Training the warriors

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Taking a drive in the Conservation Area

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Teti from Mpus Kutuk explains to the warriors about the importance of a Conservation Area

Following the training, the warriors returned to their homes.  We met them 10 days later to hear their feedback and progress.  All 9 new warriors were doing well and excited about their new wildlife conservation roles in their home regions.  We’ll keep you posted on their progress.

Training group

We need funds to keep this vital programme going.  Please consider making a donation towards the Warrior Watch programme so we can engage more warriors in conservation and create a network of warriors in conservation in Northern Kenya.