I came across an interesting read on the National Geographic website regarding the return of the lion population on a particular ranch in Kenya.  

Back in 2006 it seemed that the lion population, which was all of 15 in total, was on the brink of being done away with. The article sites the Maasai warriors, in the  region, as being responsible for killing off most of the lions. Mostly the lions where killed as either a manhood ritual or killed to protect livestock.  Very dire situation indeed, until the Living with Lions project was established.

In a nut shell the project aims to compensate herdsmen when livestock is lost due to predators (such as lions). The program also links jobs to the growth or decline of the lion population. So when there are more lions there are more opportunities for young Maasai men to work as lion guardians, if the lion population dwindles so do these opportunities.  

Great program on many levels. First and foremost it is based within the community that is experiencing the affects of the predatory nature of the lion. Second it recognizes the economics behind why individuals are motivated to kill lions and addresses this issue. Most importantly the Living with Lions program incorporates individuals from the community to take active roles in lion conservation. This role is most often fulfilled by the lion guardians who educate their community about the economic need to protect the lion and notify herdsmen when lion are nearby.  

Besides the reference to the Maasai young men as being “uneducated” it’s a good read.  

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