Increased Impact through Involving Communities

August 8, 2019

Leela Hazzah, 2014 FFN Award winner and founder of Lion Guardians has shared some highlights of the great work she and her team continue to do after winning the award. Read her update below.

Taking Huge Steps

To help deal with animals that repeatedly clash with humans and livestock (so-called problem animals), we have been collaboratively developing protocols to follow in response to conflicts with lions and elephants. We are currently piloting these steps locally before they are implemented on a national level later this year. These protocols are a huge step toward helping communities and other stakeholders cooperate to reduce depredations and keep lions alive.

Sharing Knowledge

In December, we hosted seven participants from the Niassa Carnivore Project and Niassa National Reserve for a knowledge sharing service. Over six days, we shared skills and knowledge and provided the Niassa team with new tools for more effectively and confidently dealing with conflict in their area. Since the training ended, the Niassa team has already hit the ground running with their newfound knowledge.

Receiving Another Award

We are thrilled to share that LINC, our open-source lion recognition platform, has been awarded the AI for Earth Innovation Grant from National Geographic with sponsorship by Microsoft. Stephanie, our Co-founder and Director of Science, has been working alongside engineer Justin Downs of IEF R&D to develop the project under our fiscal sponsor Wildlife Guardians. The grant will go towards making the system an even easier-to-use and more powerful tool for conservationists around the world.

Communicating with Communities

We recently held our first murran [warrior] forum to increase dialogue with community members. The group spoke about a range of topics, including community assistance, the difficulties associated with losing livestock, and the benefits of coexistence. We were so pleased with the information, commitment, and trust that emerged, and we look forward to more of these gatherings.

Putting Methods to Work

We played a critical role in developing the methodology for Kenya’s National Lion Census, and lately we have been busy putting those methods to work on the ground. At the end of last year, we completed an intense effort to count lions in Amboseli. And in April, we completed months of work on the Tsavo census, which has been hailed as the largest carnivore census ever; nine collaborative teams covered about 23,000 km2 and made 1,743 predator sightings. We returned home tired, but proud to be part of such an important and large-scale collaboration to conserve lions.

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