Napirai and her cubs sneak through the bushes, almost unnoticed. Napirai is no ordinary lion. She has made a successful life for herself and her cubs in community lands, rather than inside the adjacent national reserve. Like many other lions, she has chosen this life. In Africa, 60% of lion range lies outside of protected areas. Lions live alongside people.
Coexistence takes courage, both for lions and for the people they live alongside. For lions, prey can be scarce, and the land is traversed by people and their livestock. Napirai and other community lions must navigate around villages while still finding enough prey to hunt, water to quench their thirst, and safe areas to rest and raise cubs. The temptation to go after people’s livestock is high. For people, losing livestock to lions is difficult, and understandably causes anger, but tolerance is building.
The reason Napirai survives is because she’s smart, solitary and careful; but also because of the work of a local conservation organization called Ewaso Lions. Ewaso Lions sees no distinction between communities and professional conservationists when it comes to protecting lions. Together, they are all conservationists. Each day, the Ewaso Lions team goes out to monitor the whereabouts of these lions, and lets herders know of their movements so that both lions and livestock are safe. As Napirai moves through community lands, she is one of many symbols of success of community-led conservation, helping people and lions safely share the landscape.
Half a world away in San Diego, an organization called Mission Wildlife works to raise funds for organizations such as Ewaso Lions that make the difference between species conservation and extirpation; between co-existence and conflict; between a healthy ecosystem and degradation.
Mission Wildlife events have become quite the talk of the town. The afternoon starts with a stunning vista, a glass of wine, and a ‘snuggle’ with a porcupine and other ambassadors. It only gets better and more unique, as soon, conservationists speak about their passion for saving wildlife, and benefiting their communities.
Jeneria, a Samburu elder, translates what Mparasaroi and Munteli, proud ‘Mama Simbas’ tell the assembled guests about their feelings regarding lions. “We are so excited to represent women who live with, respect and even love the lions and other wildlife that live around our home.” Jeneria, along with Mparasaroi and Munteli, flew from their villages in remote Kenya to America to personally share that they cannot save lions alone. And that’s where you come in…
Mission Wildlife fundraising events are fun and interactive. They educate, inspire and raise much-needed funds for imperiled species, including lions, elephants, cheetahs and others. Attendees learn about conservation and the issues facing wildlife around the globe with the help of our live wild ambassadors. If you live in the San Diego area, come join us . If you want to help Jeneria, Mparasaroi, Munteli and many more community conservationists, please consider a donation: https://www.missionwildlifeconservation.org/ – we all, including Napirai and her cubs, thank you!