Symbol of Africa
There is little more humbling than to watch a lion from close. Truly the king of the beasts, with its majestic paws and piercing eyes. And probably the most wanted animal to spot during a private safari.
Although Tanzania is the best place to photograph lions, having the highest population in the whole of Africa, these big cats are in critical danger. They have lost over 90% of their historic range. It is estimated that only 20,000 lion are left in the wild, compared to 400,000 in 1950.
Due to loss of habitat, trophy hunting, poaching and human-wildlife conflicts the “King of the Jungle” is now quietly disappearing. Particularly the coexistence of wildlife and traditional pastoralists has become a challenge. For decades, the Maasai having been living alongside wildlife. But as the human population increases, so are the conflicts. Livestock is everything to a Maasai family, their main source of food and income. Therefore they fiercely protect their cattle against any predator that might prey on an easy meal.
Living in harmony with lions
Luckily there is still some hope for the lions in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, thanks to KopeLion. Founded in 2011 by Ingela Jansson, also known as “Mama Simba”, this non-profit organization works closely with the local communities to protect their livestock and find ways to live in harmony with the lions.
First of all, KopeLion tracks and observes lions. With the help of GPS collars, the research team is able to follow their movements and study how they adapt to living among human beings. It is their goal is to establish a safe corridor between the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Serengeti National Park, where lions can roam freely without the threat of human-wildlife conflicts. At the moment, six lions have been collared who move in the area and sometimes in and out the Ngorongoro Crater. The research team also spends time in the Crater monitoring these lion hotspots and the more resident females and prides.
KopeLion is not only about lion research but also focuses on the benefit of the local communities. In each village a local Maasai warrior is trained to become an “ilchokuti”, a lion protector. He works hand in hand with the KopeLion team to warn the Maasai herders when there is a lion in the vicinity. He helps to find lost livestock and assists with veterinary care for injured cattle. The guardian also uses his communication skills and respectability to create more understanding among the community members and prevent retaliatory killing by the herdsmen. Currently, KopeLion works with 17 villages in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, each represented by an “ilchokuti”. However, they are expanding this area due to the numbers of lions in community areas.
Partnership with KopeLion Tanzania
To contribute to the lion’s survival, we have decided to start supporting KopeLion’s valuable projects. For every traveler with Ajabu Adventures we will make a donation of $5 per person. Which at the end of the year will be topped up by us with an additional financial contribution. Further, we are committed to increase awareness about lion conservation and engage more people, such as surrounding communities and schools.
KopeLion has visited our office to provide a presentation to the entire team of Ajabu Adventures, including our safari guides, sharing their knowledge and experience. Therefore, when you travel with Ajabu Adventures, your safari guide can tell you much more about their work, the individual lions that are being tracked, their behavior and the latest developments.
There are so many non-profit organizations around the world, each of them working hard and offering support in wildlife conservation. So why did we choose KopeLion?
- Standing up for the protection of lions in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area
- Empowering local communities by providing employment and engaging them in the projects, yet respecting their traditions and culture
- Recommended by one of our safari guides, meaning KopeLion is very much present and active in the field
- Transparent and relatively small non-profit organization, most team members are local residents of the Ngorongoro Area
- Easy to approach, having their door always open for communication and updates from the field
Become a lion guardian yourself!
Are you touched by KopeLion’s work as much as we are? Join us in our conservation efforts, no matter how small, and help us to save the lions for future generations!
Here are some suggestions to get involved:
- Book a private safari with Ajabu Adventures and visit the home of the “Lion King”. With your safari you will automatically contribute $5 per traveler to KopeLion. Follow us on Facebook or Instagram for regular updates on the lion projects.
- Match our donation (or go beyond!) to KopeLion directly. Any amount is welcome and KopeLion will ensure that your valuable support will be converted directly into conservation yield results.
- Make a close up photo of lions that you spot in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and share them with the KopeLion team. They can recognize lions by their unique whisker spot patterns, ear notches and scars and it helps them to track their movement. You can start preparing now by meeting the individual lions here!
- Raise awareness in your community. Inform family and friends, and engage people via social media. Involve your children and make it fun. How cool would it be to give a class presentation about lions! Together with KopeLion we will be more than happy to share useful and interesting tools and resources to assist you in your efforts.
Bringing back lions together!
Are you planning a safari to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and would you like to know more?
Contact us and we will be happy to discuss how you can become more involved while on safari in Tanzania.
* All photos credit to KopeLion.