Category Archives: West Gate Community Conservancy

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.

 

“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

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.

Water for Wildlife

Over the past few weeks, the drought has worsened in the area.  The Ewaso Nyiro River has been dry for a while now and we’ve been digging waterholes in the dry river-bed for the wildlife.  Fortunately, the number of elephants has increased in the area and they have assisted in providing water for the other animals by digging with their tusks.  However, large areas have no water at all.  We surveyed the entire river in Westgate Community Conservancy and selected 3 strategic locations for digging holes.  We don’t have to dig too far down – just a couple of feet before clean water seeps up through the sand.  However, livestock during the day and elephants at night often push the sand into the holes and we often have to re-dig the entire hole the next day.  We’ve been doing this for a few weeks now and have got everyone involved.  Sasaab Lodge has 4 holes in front of the lodge and the Westgate scouts have dug east of the lodge.  We have the entire Conservation Area covered with our holes and have had volunteers, warriors, researchers and guests all digging every day.

Jene digging

Yesalai

Jeneria and Yesalai, two Samburu warriors, dig holes for the wildlife

Chip digging

Chip Owen, our great friend and supporter of Ewaso Lions, digs a hole too!

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Scouts and warriors come to check the holes in the morning for tracks to see what has come to drink from them (Photo taken by the camera trap)

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A real treat – just as we were finished digging this hole, a pack of 20 wild dogs came running down the river and started drinking from the hole we had just dug – right in front of us!

At each hole, we have set up camera traps to capture images of the animals that are coming to drink from the holes and to see how effective they are.  We have had huge success and know that these waterholes are really helping these animals.  All the predators have come to drink  -striped and spotted hyenas, leopard and jackals.  We’ve even had the endangered Grevy’s zebra, elephants daily, mongoose and loads of birds.

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This striped hyena is a daily visitor

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Elephants come every night!

We will keep digging and helping these animals daily.  However, we’re waiting for the rain to come and the river to start flowing again.  We can’t wait.  There are signs of rain….which is the good news!

Samburu Faces Another Drought

Samburu has been hit yet again by another prolonged dry period.  The area was devastated in 2009 with a very severe drought which killed many animals; both livestock and wildlife.  People really struggled for water and it was a tough year.  Finally early 2010, it rained and floods washed through the area.  The area began to dry up quickly from July onwards.    In November 2010, we received a little rain but it was very localised and some areas such as Westgate Community Conservancy did not receive any rain at all.  We were hopeful in February as it looked like it was going to rain, and fortunately we received 15 mm in one morning.  It is amazing to see that with a little bit of rain, the grass begins to grow immediately and it actually looked green for a short period!  However this was not enough and although the river flowed for a few days, it is dry once again.

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Lentiyo from the Warrior Watch Programme in the dry Ewaso Nyiro River

People and their livestock have all migrated to the North in search of pasture.  Westgate is quiet at the moment.  In the reserves and in the Core Conservation Area in Westgate, wildlife have all converged in the riverbed and are not moving far away at all.  It is an easy time for the predators who all lie in the riverine bushes and ambush their prey.

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Elephants dig into the riverbed for water and a pair of Somali ostrich drink from the same elephant waterholes

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This impala is feeding on one of the few remaining green patches in Samburu National Reserve

lion river

Lioness walks in the dry river searching for water in March

As it gets drier, animals are struggling for enough food and water.  In the community areas, spotted hyenas are causing problems as they enter villages at night and end up taking livestock skins that are in the houses.  With most of the livestock and people gone, they are wandering far into the night raiding villages.  This has led to increased conflict and unfortunately we did lose one spotted hyena recently.

hyena killed

Spotted hyena killed with a club in the Ewaso Nyiro River

Due to the prolonged drought in the region and the potential increase in conflict between livestock and predators, we are currently focusing a lot of our efforts in Westgate Conservancy. We have started digging waterholes in 4 locations in the dry river-bed on a daily basis, communicating with livestock herders about predator locations as they approach the Conservation Area and having the warriors and scouts keep track of the known predators on a daily basis.  We need funds during this critical dry period to continue with our efforts of helping the communities, providing water, mitigating conflict and tracking the predators.  Please consider making a donation now so we can continue with our efforts.

A Week of Leopards in Westgate Conservancy

We have had the most amazing leopard sightings in the Conservation Area of Westgate Community Conservancy, Samburu, over the past 7 days. I’ve never seen anything like this in such a short period of time.    We’ve been fortunate to see them on every drive we have been on.  Fantastic sightings of 3 leopards together walking confidently through the bush,  2 leopards lazing in a tree, and our last sighting yesterday was of 2 leopards mating in the bushes nearby!  In total, we’ve had 11 sightings of these 7 leopards – which is amazing for such a small area of only 9 km2.  Here are some of the photos!

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On top of these fantastic leopard sightings – 21 wilddogs, 2 lion sightings and a bunch of hyena as well!  The rains are beginning and it will most likely become more difficult to see these predators.  We are definitely making the most of it!

New Warrior Watch Programme Engages Samburu Warriors in Conservation

Check out our press release for our Warrior Watch programme (first blogged about here):

On June 8th, nearly 200 people from across Ngutuk Ongiron Group Ranch in Samburu District gathered for the launch of Warrior Watch programme. Warrior Watch is a unique conservation programme in Samburu that engages warriors, or morans, in active wildlife conservation. Warrior Watch was co-founded in early 2010 by the Westgate Community Conservancy and Ewaso Lions, a project that takes a community-based approach to predator research and conservation in northern Kenya. The launch event brought together warriors with wildlife authorities in a context that built partnership for the two groups which are often at odds on wildlife issues.

Through Warrior Watch, warriors report on wildlife sightings and issues such as conflict in exchange for educational lessons and a food stipend. The warriors were trained on data collection, basic wildlife ecology, conservation and security issues within the Group Ranch, and the economic value of wildlife through tourism.

The launch on June 8th was attended by representatives of Kenya Wildlife Service, including the Samburu District Warden, Mr Mohamed Kheri, who was the guest of honour. Others present included representatives from Samburu National Reserve, Sasaab Lodge, Samburu District councilors and chief, Northern Rangeland Trust, Grevy’s Zebra Trust, and Ewaso Lions donors and friends.

Over 125 Samburu warriors were present and had the opportunity to speak about their roles in wildlife conservation. Members of Warrior Watch called on the warriors present to assist in securing a future for wildlife in the region. The launch was opened with a drama played by students from Lpus Leluai Primary School in Westgate. The day concluded with warrior dances and a goat feast.

Success in wildlife conservation relies on the involvement of local people. Samburu warriors have long been neglected in conservation management. Warrior Watch is the first programme to actively involve warriors in wildlife conservation in the region, effectively making them wildlife ambassadors within their communities. Engaging the Warriors instills positive attitudes towards wildlife, with an emphasis on the importance of lions and predators, and this message is spread to other morans in their communities. Through Warrior Watch, wildlife has a secure future in balance with local people in this part of Kenya.

For more information on Warrior Watch:
info [at] ewasolions [dot] org
(+254) 721 696 443
Photos available upon request

Ewaso Lions Mid-Year Report: News on Lions and Community Projects

Dear friends of Ewaso Lions,

We are pleased to present our Mid-Year Report to provide you with news from Samburu, information on our lion research and conservation activities, and to keep you posted on life in Camp. It’s been one of our most challenging field seasons yet – from severe drought to massive floods to increased threats to lions. The Ewaso Lions team pushes forward, working with communities, to ensure the long-term survival of Kenya’s top predators and other wildlife.

Lion News

We are currently monitoring close to 40 lions in the Ewaso ecosystem of Samburu. The lions did well during the drought of late 2009. All cubs survived and thrived when most other animals succumbed to the severity of the drought. Most of the females have cubs at the moment, including Magilani in Westgate. We are very excited to report that she was finally seen in April 2010 with two young cubs. She was last seen in August 2009, so it is a huge relief to see her again, especially with cubs.

Conflict:

Lions face high pressure from recent conflict. Lions are struggling to find wild prey and are turning to livestock. Recently in Westgate Conservancy, lions killed three camels; in response, we have held seven community meetings within the entire group ranch. We addressed the need to make bomas stronger with closed entrances so livestock does not escape and end up in predator territory. Herders need to be extra careful and avoid areas where lions are present. The meetings were well-received and the livestock owners have responded by reinforcing bomas to protect livestock better. We will be actively involved in a boma reinforcing project from May onwards thanks to support from our donors.

A lioness killed in retaliation by a person.

If conflict continues, things could get grim for the lions and we are working hard to continue with our awareness and education programmes. It is thanks to your donations that we are able to go out each day and hold meetings and travel around the group ranch talking to the communities about lions.

To read our blog on the increased conflict, click here.

Radio-Collaring:

After months of trying, we successfully collared the elusive male lion, Lguret, in late February. He was first collared in 2009 and it was time to replace his collar. It was no easy task to find him; we spent a total of 60 field days over the past eight months, averaging 12 hours each day, and driving nearly two thousand kilometers! Lguret now has a new radio/GPS tracking collar and we will be able to capture valuable movement data.

For photos and a detailed account on this collaring operation, click here.

Lguret, the radio-collared lion in Samburu.

We have begun to analyse the data from his old collar and preliminary results already show interesting patterns where he moved out of the reserves to areas where large numbers of livestock were present. Lguret was re-collared before the March floods and we are yet to know where he has gone during this time. We still have plans to collar at least four more individuals.

Collaring lions is very tough work and requires a lot of time and funds. We are grateful for all the donors who have assisted us so far and I urge you all to keep supporting us so we can monitor the Ewaso lions closely.

Camera Trapping:

Thanks to donors, we have acquired two camera traps for the project. Identifying individual predators in Westgate is difficult since they are nervous and often run away before we can take good identity photos. Plus, the candid photos of wildlife in the absence of humans may give us insight into some of their natural behaviours. Each night we place the camera traps in the Conservation Area of Westgate in strategic locations where we know lions, hyenas and other animals pass. It is always exciting in the mornings to go and check the cameras and see what the cameras have captured. So far, we have managed to get some great photos of elephants and hyenas (including one of a hyena biting the actual camera!). We have since built metal boxes around the cameras to deter curious and toothsome hyenas. In time, we hope to have a collection of ID photos to estimate the density of carnivores in this community area.

A spotted hyena captured by our camera trap.

Other Wildlife News:

Many animals died during the severe drought in 2009. Almost all buffalo, waterbuck, warthog and impala died during this time. The rains returned in October and the survivors made the most of the new grass shoots that emerged. Rains in March and April have created a lush green paradise in the reserves. Fattened oryx, huge herds of impala, gazelle and giraffe are scattered all over the reserves and elephants are back in large numbers.

We have been fortunate to have some good predator sightings, including our first cheetah sighting in Westgate. We are excited to have seen wild dogs on numerous occasions both in the reserves and in Westgate, including a pack that passed right behind our camp kitchen! We’ve also seen caracal and had a very special sighting of an aardvark. The vegetation has now begun to dry up and we are busy recording and monitoring all wildlife changes.

Wild dogs seen in the Conservation Area.

Staff News

Paul Thomson joined the Ewaso Lions team full-time in January. Paul has over five years professional experience in African wildlife conservation and is pursuing a Masters degree at Yale. Before joining Ewaso Lions, Paul worked with the African Wildlife Foundation in both Kenya and Washington, DC. We are very excited to have Paul join the team and you will be hearing a lot from him as well. Karibu sana Paul!

In April 2010, we employed two new field members. Moses Letitiya has taken over Jeneria’s position as Lion scout in the Sasaab region. Jeneria is now our head tracker and research assistant. Robert Lenongiro has recently started as Community Officer. Both Robert and Moses are from Westgate. Ricila is now in charge of the Warrior Watch programme (see below) and is Camp Chef. Joseph is Camp Manager and is being trained in data management.

The Ewaso Lions team.

PhD

After some challenges in 2009 due to the security troubles and severe drought, Shivani is busy catching up with PhD-related work and data analysis. She has about another year to complete her PhD with the University of Oxford. She will be traveling to Oxford towards the end of the year to begin writing her thesis. The guys will carry on with activities in the field and in Camp whilst Shivani is away.

News in Camp

Ewaso Lions Camp, located in Westgate Community Conservancy just outside Samburu National Reserve, has seen some real growth this past year. We finally have permanent shade, thanks to our new Mess structure kindly provided by Sasaab Lodge. It is no longer possible to pack up the whole camp in Gypsy the way we used to in 2008!

We still need a lot more in camp: more tents, tables, cooking items, and fuel. Our chairs are broken and solar battery has died. Also, with the rains, our bathrooms have all collapsed and need to be rebuilt. We appreciate any donation towards our Camp needs and are grateful to all of you who have supplied so much to date.

The project has just acquired a Toyota Landcruiser. The vehicle has been christened Winslow (don’t ask!) and is a great companion for the faithful Suzuki, Gypsy. Together, Winslow and Gypsy will allow us to expand the reach and impact of our work across our project area, which covers over 900 km2.

Paul driving around in Winslow, the new project vehicle.

We have hosted many visitors over the past few months. Christina Tsantes from Hunter College, New York, stayed with us for six weeks in July/August and greatly assisted with setting up of databases. Scott Smith from the Wildlife Conservation Society spent a wonderful week in camp in October and witnessed both the severity of the drought and the first rains. Stacey Gardebrecht visited and assisted us for a week in February, followed by Aimee Guha-Roy from the University of Oxford who helped with data and gained some field experience – little did she know she would arrive for the floods! We are happy to host Mary Wykstra and her team from the Action for Cheetahs in Kenya at our Camp whilst she conducts fieldwork in Samburu.

Warrior Watch

We are thrilled to announce our newest programme, Warrior Watch. Through Warrior Watch, Samburu warriors become active within their communities as wildlife ambassadors by reporting on wildlife sightings and issues such as conflict in exchange for a stipend and educational lessons. In partnership with Westgate Conservancy, we selected and trained the first six warriors in January. The programme is already showing signs of success: the warriors seem to genuinely enjoy their new roles; they’ve held meetings throughout the group ranch; and have attended over ten conflict cases in four months. We hope to increase the number of warriors in the programme and are currently seeking funds to enable us to do so. Meet the warriors and see what else they do here.

Shivani working with the warriors on predator tracks identification.

Sponsoring Students

We are happy to announce the first two students sponsored by Ewaso Lions, Samson and Edward. These bright boys completed primary school at Lpus Leluai here in Westgate Conservancy. Under the Ewaso Lions sponsorship, they will continue their education at a highly ranked secondary school in Meru, and their tuition will be covered for four academic years. We received donations from Christina, Nina, Kathy and Trey to enable the boys to go to school. At the end of their first term in their new school, both boys achieved a grade of B- in their subjects, and we are thrilled with these results. Meet the boys here!

New Book: Simba Stories

In May, Ewaso Lions will release Simba Stories, a book of poems, stories and illustrations that celebrate lions, all made by students from Lpus Leluai Primary School in Westgate. The artwork encapsulates their perceptions of lions as they parse together their own young experiences with those learnt in their community and through conservation education programmes. We will be distributing the book locally to increase awareness on the importance of lions and conservation.

Simba Stories will be available for purchase – the details will be posted online. Proceeds from book sales will be used to establish a Wildlife Club at Lpus Leluai Primary School. A very special thanks to Lindsay Morency for putting the book together and making it look so fantastic!

Floods in Samburu

On March 4th, Samburu was rocked by severe flooding, which left eight camps and lodges destroyed, hundreds of people without jobs, infrastructure ruined, and tourism essentially shut down in the area. We were very fortunate – the Ewaso Lions camp was not affected.

Ewaso Lions’ friends and donors responded quickly to our appeals and we were able to assist many Samburu residents with food and clothing. Things are now beginning to recover and lodges and camps are being constructed and repaired. We are yet to assess the impact on wildlife as so many roads are still impassable. See photos of the flood and its aftermath here.

Launch of Kenya’s Lion and Spotted Hyena Strategy

Ewaso Lions was represented at the launch of the National Lion Strategy. Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officially launched it at an event in Nairobi on the 17th of February together with the strategies for spotted hyena, cheetahs and wild dogs. This management plan recognises the current and potential geographical range for lions and the threats facing them, and provides guidance for their conservation and management.

Ewaso Lions played an important role in the management plan by providing data and information on lions and hyenas from the Samburu region. Ricila & Mporian, warriors from our Warrior Watch programme, joined Joseph, Paul, and Shivani at the KWS headquarters for the launch. Mporian was given the honour of opening the ceremony with a traditional Samburu blessing.

Lion Research Safari

In January, we had our first Lion Research Safari in conjunction with Gamewatchers (a fantastic, eco-friendly safari company which has a number of Porini Camps in Kenya). Our guests, the Wills family of Scotland joined us during our research activities in Shaba and visited our community programmes in Westgate. For more information on Lion Research Safaris, and how they help our project, go to: http://www.porini.com/lion-research-safari.html

Kenyan Kids on Safari

We have now taken more than 40 young kids on game drives in Samburu and Buffalo Springs National Reserves. Kenyan Kids on Safari (KKOS) and Todd Cromwell donated cameras, binoculars and a print station to Ewaso Lions to allow us to take young children in villages and schools into the National Reserves to see wildlife. Many of these children have never seen the big cats or elephants close-up and only get to see the negative side of wildlife. Together with Intrepids and Sasaab lodges, we have shown these kids a positive side of wildlife. We hope to take more kids on safari in 2010. For more, visit kidsonsafari.org

Children from Kenyan Kids on Safari.

Tree Project

We have planted 75 trees to date within schools and villages in Westgate. Unfortunately most of the trees died during the 2009 drought. We hope to resume and reenergize the Tree Project over the next few months.

Westgate Marathon

Together with Sasaab Lodge and Westgate Conservancy, we held the first-ever Westgate Marathon on the 1st of May, 2010. The Westgate Marathon was open to everyone. The theme was “Running for Lions.” The marathon was a huge success – we had 30 runners participate including five from the Ewaso Lions team. The winners will be sponsored to run the famous Safaricom Lewa Marathon in June. We hope to hold another Westgate Marathon in 2011 and this time both Paul and Shivani will be out there running for lions!

Joseph running in the Westgate Marathon.

New Ewaso Lions Logo

Ewaso Lions finally has a logo! Paul helped create the bold new logo, which will raise the profile of our growing project and has given our team a sense of identity. We now have stylish new shirts and decals on our vehicles bearing the logo. We hope you like it!

Blog, Facebook and Twitter

Ewaso Lions has launched a full-scale attack on the Internet. We’ve updated our website, we continue to blog as much as possible, and we are more and more active in growing our online community through our Facebook and Twitter pages. Please friend us, follow us, and send us feedback. Also, spread the word and encourage your friends to join Ewaso Lions.

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Thanks to you – our donors and partners – we have come this far in a relatively short period of time. Without your support, our work would not be possible. We are making real progress here, but there is still so much more to be done. We hope you will continue to support this important work as we continue to expand our research and conservation programmes.

Your donations and support are ultimately helping safeguard the future of lions, while improving peoples’ livelihoods, in the Ewaso region of northern Kenya. Donate online here.

For lions. For people. Forever.

With our very best wishes from Samburu,

Shivani Bhalla & Paul Thomson

Directors, Ewaso Lions

Contact

Ewaso Lion Project

P.O. Box 14996

Nairobi 00800

Kenya

Tel: (+254) 721 696 443

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.ewasolions.org

Blog: www.ewasolions.wildlifedirect.org

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