“We learnt all about the threats facing lions and rhinos in Kenya and the importance of conserving them.” Winnie Rose, Laburra Primary School
What is the Lion Kids Camp?
Each year, the Ewaso Lions put on the Lion Kids Camp, a multi-day camp for local children that combines wildlife education, game drives, art competitions, and fun. The participants get to have life-changing wildlife experiences.
Most children in northern Kenya have only had negative experiences with wildlife. The Lion Kids Camps enable children to experience a positive connection with wildlife, inspiring them to be the next generation of park wardens, safari guides, and wildlife biologists.
Seeing Lions for first time
In December 2014, Ewaso Lions took their Lion Kids Camp to Solio Game Reserve. This camp was an opportunity for the children who have lived on the edge of Solio for most of their lives to learn about the animals they had rarely seen and why they are important to them and their families.
To be able to attend, students participated in a creative arts competition and were then selected based on their best entries. They had four teachers join the group of 32 kids who kept the entire group singing, laughing and engaged the entire time.
During the Camp, the children saw their first-ever rhinos – both black and white – including many young calves. They also saw some spectacular lions – young males with golden manes, females with cubs and older males with black manes too. For a first-ever sighting of lions, this was amazing.
The children were surprised to learn that most of the wildlife found in Kenya cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Although some had heard about poaching before, not one child realized that it was a major threat to lions in Kenya. The children could barely look at the images of the poached rhinos after seeing them in the wild. They had to accept the sad reality of it.
All of the children did a questionnaire before and after the trip to enable the Ewaso Lions team to evaluate the camp’s efficacy and to better understand what works for future planning. It was a fantastic few days in the Solio camp, and the children left it singing and feeling hopeful about the future.
About her experience at camp, Beatrice Njoki of Honi Primary School said, “When I went home after the Lion Kids Camp, I taught people to conserve the environment. We live near the Ark tourist lodge, where people have been killing dik-diks and gazelles but I urged them to stop because it’s very bad. My family was very happy because I told them I wanted to be a tour guide and also one of my neighbours is a poacher but we encouraged him to stop poaching”.
Who is ‘Ewaso Lions’?
The Ewaso Lions is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to conservation. It strives to conserve Kenya’s lions and other large carnivores by promoting peaceful coexistence between people and wildlife. The organization uses education to foster support for conservation and help guide the long-term conservation management of lions in protected areas and on private lands.
Where is the Group Located?
The Ewaso Lions works in northern Kenya’s Samburu, Laikipia, and Isiolo Counties, which make up one contiguous ecosystem. This region is home to the third largest population of lions, cheetahs, and wild dogs in Kenya. As their Laikipian neighbour, Forum Focus is proud to support the Ewaso Lions. Like them, we believe Laikipia is special because ¾ of its landscape is used in conservation. There is nowhere else like it in Kenya. We believe Laikipia is the perfect learning environment because it is safe and incredibly diverse. We love that the Ewaso Lions are helping us to further develop the brand of Laikipia as a Wild Class.
Putting Local People first
Ewaso Lions firmly believes that the success of lion conservation hinges on the involvement of the local people who live alongside lions. Its programmes promote human-carnivore coexistence and build local capacity for wildlife rangers and community leaders.
What’s Special about Lions?
Did you know that Kenya’s lions could be extinct in the next two decades?
The African lion population has declined by 90% in the last 75 years and lions have disappeared from approximately 80% of their historical range. Kenya’s lion population is now less than 2,000 individuals.
This decline in lion numbers is mainly due to habitat loss and conflict with humans, primarily over livestock depredation. When lions attack livestock, pastoralists may retaliate by killing them. At the current rate of loss, Kenya’s lions could be extinct in the next two decades unless something is done.