The past year has been the most difficult, yet most rewarding year for the Lion Guardians program since its inception in January 2007. Recovering from one of the worst droughts in history, Maasai lost more than 65% of their livestock, and lion attacks on livestock increased eight-fold. As a result, lion hunting attempts increased dramatically and the Lion Guardians found themselves between the spears of their angry brothers and the remaining lions. The Lion Guardians’ unwavering dedication, along with that of the other stakeholders in the ecosystem, ensured the continued survival of over 40 lions (more than half of the remaining population) that were hunted by Maasai in the Amboseli region. Unfortunately, during the same time in an area adjacent to the Tanzania border (without a Lion Guardians program), at least 18 lions were killed by both spears and poison. After lengthy meetings with communities and leaders, we expanded the Lion Guardians project to this high conflict region in September 2010. From inception to date, we are thrilled to report that there has not been a single lion killed in the new expansion site.
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