Category Archives: Other news

Lion, Cheetah, Grevy’s Zebras, Hyenas Killed on New Highway

Earlier this week, Ewaso Lions met with other conservation stakeholders from Samburu and Isiolo districts to discuss the heavy loss of wildlife killed by speeding automobiles on the newly tarmacked (paved) A-2 highway.

In March, a lion cub was killed by a car as it crossed the road with its mother and brother. Then in September a cheetah was killed in the same spot. Just last week, a motorist plowed into two endangered Grevy’s zebras, a mother and her foal. With less than 2,000 lions remaining in all of Kenya, and only about 2,500 Grevy’s zebras left on the planet, can we afford to lose any more as a result of careless drivers?

In the past year we have witnessed a worrying amount of dead animals along the road, including striped and spotted hyenas, many small carnivores — and even an elephant was hit. In response, Ewaso Lions and several others called for a meeting to bring all conservation stakeholders together to discuss the issue and determine a course of action that might stave off this unnecessary loss of biodiversity.

Human loss is also a major concern as many people have been killed or injured along the road.

 

This striped hyena was killed on October 12, 2012. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for us to see such sights when we drive from Nairobi to Samburu.

The A-2 Highway runs north from Isiolo town, cutting between Buffalo Springs National Reserve and Shaba National Reserve, and borders Kalama Conservancy and Samburu National Reserve. It was recently tarmacked, which has enabled motorists to hurtle down the road at high speeds. The road bisects several wildlife corridors, so wildlife passing through risk being hit by cars, especially at night, as they cross the road mainly to access water sources.

The group is compiling road kill data to identify key areas along the roads where speed bumps and signage might help slow down motorists and make them aware of crossing wildlife. We will then advocate in close partnership with the Kenya Wildlife Service to encourage the National Highways Authority to implement measures to prevent further road kill.

This week’s meeting was held at Kalama Conservancy and included a range of conservationists (including a curious Beisa oryx).

Stakeholders present at the meeting:

Ewaso Lions Project
Grevy’s Zebra Trust
Kalama Community Conservancy
Nakuprat Community Conservancy
Reticulated Giraffe Project
Samburu Game Lodge
Samburu National Reserve
Save the Elephants
Sera Community Conservancy
Westgate Community Conservancy
Eseriani Wildlife Association

Annual KWS Carnivore Conference Held in Nairobi

Ewaso Lions attended and presented at the annual Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Carnivore Research and Conservation Conference in Nairobi from July 26th and 27th. It was an excellent opportunity to hear updates from our partners in large carnivore conservation across Kenya, and to inform the group of our latest activities in Samburu. This was our 5th time to present at this annual conference.

Jeneria, Ngila, and Emma at the KWS Carnivore Conference.

I provided an update on our conservation research and community programmes between 2011 and 2012. The update included progress such as lion monitoring in Samburu, the completion of a pilot study using camera traps, and new methods that the project has adopted in data collection. I ended my presentation by describing some new projects we are embarking on including Lion Watch, where tour guides from the reserves will use smart phones to get to know the lions of the area and share information with their guests, and Wazee Watch which will complement our successful Warrior Watch programme by focusing on engaging village elders.

Jeneria and Ngila gave presentations which were very well received. This was Ngila’s first time in Nairobi, his first time to give a presentation – and a presentation to the country’s key carnivore specialists! We are immensely proud of both Ngila and Jeneria. One of the KWS Senior Scientists even told the group, “It is great to have morans here giving presentations.”

Jeneria delivers a presentation on Warrior Watch at the KWS Canivore Conference.

Ngila and I gave a joint presentation on human-predator conflict and how reducing conflict is beneficial for both people and predators. He explained how the goals of the Ewaso Lions Conflict programme are to first collect all the baseline data relating to conflict depredation in the area and to analyse it to provide solutions for reducing this conflict. Ngila himself responds to conflict incidences and fills out a detailed questionnaire which includes information on the context, species, time, weather, etc. I continued by explaining the kinds of conflict we are seeing in Samburu, and providing recommendations for reducing livestock loss to carnivores.

Jeneria and Ngila delivered a presentation on our Warrior Watch programme. They explained how it was launched in 2010 with five warriors, and has now grown to involve 16 warriors in two community conservancies. Warriors report on wildlife sightings in exchange for education and a food stipend. Ten warriors can now read and write and use data sheets to collect information from the field on wildlife. Warriors have also been active in the field, where they have been using camera traps to capture images of wildlife and responding to conflict cases. Lastly, Ngila discussed a rigorous evaluation assessment of Warrior Watch which is underway.

We wish to thank all our partners who presented their work, and also the Kenya Wildlife Service for hosting this important gathering of the countries carnivore conservationists and researchers.

Ewaso Lions Launches New Website

We are happy to announce the brand new, completely redesigned Ewaso Lions website (www.EwasoLions.org). We’ve worked hard over the past year to make this a site that truly showcases our work, our challenges, and our passion for large carnivore conservation in northern Kenya.

The new website puts our blog up front so you can easily find out the latest news on lions, Warrior Watch, updates from Camp, and more. We also integrated our adventures in social media throughout the site so you can connect to us through Facebook, see our latest tweets, and watch our YouTube videos. You can also see our immediate needs and how you can help Ewaso Lions.

We would love to hear what you think.  Please write to us with your thoughts on the site, questions, or suggestions. We want to see our website continue to evolve and help us better connect with you, our friends and supporters. Please post your comments below!

A special thank you to our generous anonymous donor who funded the website project!

Shivani receives the Virginia McKenna Award for Compassionate Conservation

We have exciting news! Shivani recently won the innagural Virginia McKenna Award for Compassionate Conservation. Below is the news from the press release. Congratulations, Shivani!

Shivani Bhalla, Executive Director of the Ewaso Lions Project, was awarded the Virginia McKenna Award for Compassionate Conservation by the Born Free Foundation for her work to conserve lions and other large carnivores in northern Kenya.

Bhalla is the inaugural recipient of the Virginia McKenna Award, to be given annually by the Born Free Foundation in consultation with the University of Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) and the Compassionate Conservation Network. It is intended to provide support and recognition for researchers, practitioners, organisations and projects that promote and develop the consideration of animal welfare in conservation practice.

“I could not be happier that Shivani and the Ewaso Lions Project are the first recipients of this award,” said Virginia McKenna OBE, co-founder and trustee of the Born Free Foundation. “She and her team face many challenges, but they are true champions of lions and their survival in Kenya. I send my warmest congratulations and feel sure they will be an inspiration to many.”

Shivani is presented the award by Mwenja from Born Free Foundation.

Bhalla, who founded the Ewaso Lions Project in 2007 to address lion decline and human-wildlife conflict in northern Kenya, works with local communities to reduce conflict and help them understand the importance of lions and other wildlife.

“I am honoured to be the first recipient of the Virginia McKenna Award for Compassionate Conservation and for Ewaso Lions to be recognised as an effective conservation project which is working to secure the future for lions in northern Kenya,” said Bhalla.

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About Born Free Foundation
The Born Free Foundation is a dynamic international wildlife charity, devoted to compassionate conservation and animal welfare. Born Free takes action worldwide to protect threatened species and stop individual animal suffering.
www.bornfree.org.uk

About Ewaso Lions
The Ewaso Lions Project was formed to ensure a future for lions and other large carnivores in northern Kenya. Ewaso Lions uses scientific research and community-based outreach programmes to promote coexistence between lions and people, and is the only project in northern Kenya to focus on lions in and out of protected areas.
www.ewasolions.org

Human-Wildlife Conflict – or is it Human-Human Conflict?

I was fortunate to attend a week-long training course facilitated by Francine Madden of the Human-Wildlife Conflict Collaboration. The training was held at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy and I am very grateful to the Denver Zoological Foundation for funding to attend the training.

We were a large diverse group that attended, from all over the world. The East African contingent was huge! There were representatives from Uganda and Tanzania and a large group from northern Kenya.

We learned a lot about mediation, conflict resolution and conflict mapping over the week and used many local examples to put it all into context. It became clear to us that Human-Wildlife conflict is more about conflict between people and we learned many ways in how to address this.

Overall, it was a fantastic training course and I was excited to return to Samburu to practice what I had learned. We also teamed up with Grevy’s Zebra Trust (GZT) and shared our experience and knowledge with our field teams and Westgate Community Conservancy.


Working on a conflict case


The Ubuntu-Mtetezi group in Ol Pejeta


Our teams in Samburu practice their conflict mapping


Stephen from Westgate and Peter from GZT role play a conflict case

Shivani Featured in New Wildlife Heroes Book

I am honoured to have been selected to be featured in the new book WILDLIFE HEROES. The book combines unique real-life stories, stunning photographs, and fascinating animal information to make a point: we can turn the tide and save species in decline. The individuals profiled in the book have dedicated their lives to preserving compelling creatures that are struggling for existence.

With introductions to each chapter by icons such as author Kuki Gallman, actor Ted Danson, actress Stefanie Powers, Congressman Jay Inslee and animal advocate Jack Hanna, and a back cover endorsement by world-famous wildlife expert Dr. Jane Goodall, this book aims to bring broader awareness for the critical efforts taking place to save these amazing species.

It is a real privilege to have been featured in this book alongside such inspirational people, and I think the book is beautifully put together!

Wildlife Heroes is available in books stores and on-line beginning tomorrow (March 6, 2012). For more information, or to purchase the book, please visit WildlifeHeroes.org.

Happy Holidays from Ewaso Lions

Hi everyone!

As the year comes to a close, we want to wish everyone a very special holiday and express our deepest gratitude for your support this past year. Ewaso Lions would not be able to function without you. And we mean it.

2011 has been a big year marked by success and struggle. We were delighted to see the birth of cubs in the Reserves; the Warrior Watch programme is charging ahead, involving young Samburu warriors in conservation; but we also had hardships like Magilani’s injury and disappearance.

We have big plans for 2012 and hope for your continued support. Conservation efforts here are daunting, but we truly believe in the potential for coexistence between people and lions in Kenya.

Wishing you a wonderful holiday — and thanks again.

The Ewaso Lions team

PS If you would like to make a tax-deductible year-end gift to Ewaso Lions, click the link below. It would mean the world to us.

https://www.gifttool.com/donations/Donate?ID=1274&AID=1085

Jabdu and Cubs in Buffalo Springs

Jabdu and Cubs in Buffalo Springs

Latest Ewaso Lions Newsletter Now Available

The November 2011 issue of the Ewaso Lions Field Report is now available. Click here to download the PDF.

cover-shotIn this issue:

  • Message from the directors
  • Lion Update – Magilani’s injuries; new cubs in the Reserves
  • Paul’s Human-Predator Conflict Study
  • ‘Running for Lion’ Marathon
  • Camera Traps update
  • Cheetah, Leopard and Wild Dog News
  • Renovation of Enter into Samburu National Reserve
  • Support Local Schools
  • Warrior Watch
  • New Camp Cook
  • Ewaso Lions in the media
  • Upcoming activities
  • Talks and Conferences
  • Funding Update
  • How You Can Help – New Research Centre Fund, Sponsor a Scout, Escalating Conflict

Read it now.

Let us know what you think. We would love your feedback!

Warmest regards,
Shivani and Paul

Ewaso Lions Selected for the Green Travel List 2011

The Guardian has just released its Green Travel List for 2011 and guess who is on it! Ewaso Lions and our Warrior Watch programme, in conjunction with Sasaab Lodge, is listed as one of this year’s 25 most innovative projects. The list was published in the Saturday edition of The Guardian, the British national newspaper. The list was compiled by a panel of experts who were looking for “authentic community projects worldwide that genuinely give back to the local people and the destination.”

Warrior Watch is one of only 25 projects selected from hundreds of nominations by readers of the Guardian and Greentraveller.co.uk.

Our partner, Sasaab Lodge – a top eco-tourism destination  – supports Warrior Watch and guests who stay at the Lodge can get involved by visiting the warriors and helping with the Sunday education component.

We are very honored to have been chosen! We hope this brings a lot of new exposure to the project and Samburu.

For more, visit www.greentraveller.co.uk

For more on Warrior Watch, click here.

Speaking at the Conservation Conflicts Conference

I have just returned Aberdeen, Scotland, where I attended the ACES conference.  The conference theme was “Conservation Conflicts: Strategies for coping with a changing world”.  This was the perfect opportunity to give a talk on Warrior Watch and the work that Ewaso Lions is doing with the Samburu communities related to human-lion conflict.  My presentation was well received and opened up a lot of new discussion and ideas on conflict mitigation and strategies that work globally.

It was a productive few days with multi-disciplinary plenary sessions and talks, highlighting ecological, social and at times political issues all relating to conservation conflict.  With presenters from all over the world – including a few from Kenya – I learned a lot about how conflicts occur over a range of scales from the local management of single species to international conflicts over the management of resources, and ways people are working to reduce this conflict.

ACES ConferencePresenters from Kenya (from left to right):  Shivani Bhalla, Winnie Kiiru, Irene Amoke

If any readers attended the conference, let me know what you thought. I’d love to hear from you.