Inspiring Warriors to Conserve Lions in Kenya

Photo of Samburu warrior

Morans, the warrior age-class of the Samburu tribe, traditionally play a central role in protecting their communities and livestock from external threats, including predation by lions and other large carnivores. Yet, these young men represent one of the most neglected groups in conservation decision-making in northern Kenya. As a moran himself, Jeneria Lekilelei, Ewaso Lions’ Field Operations & Community Manager, saw that the only way to succeed in protecting lions would be to engage his own age-set; encourage and inspire them to be ambassadors to keep lions safe. In 2010, Ewaso Lions’ flagship program – Warrior Watch – was born.

“Warriors are the eyes and ears in the bush and involving them is key to the conservation and security of [my] region’s wildlife and people.” — Jeneria Lekilelei

Samburu moran, Jeneria Lekilelei, came up with the idea behind Ewaso Lions’ flagship program, Warrior Watch. (Photo by Tony Allport)

Warrior Watch encourages morans to become engaged in conservation, advocating for peaceful coexistence with carnivores. Their involvement in mitigating human-carnivore conflict is a natural extension of their role as providers of security – be it teaching herders good husbandry practices or discussing the value of lions amongst peers. Similarly, the time they normally spend patrolling in the field has been easily adapted to incorporate data collection and wildlife security duties.

One of our Warriors’ key roles is to monitor individual lions and inform livestock herders when they are in the vicinity, encouraging them to move their herds on to a different area. The idea being that this will help reduce the number of livestock lost to carnivores and, in turn, the potential for retaliatory attacks on lions.

Lemeen, a Warrior Watch warrior, and Jeneria inform these young herders of the lions’ presence. Neither of the girls had seen lions or their tracks in their —> Read More