Our Lion Watch programme strengthens the collaboration between the tourism industry and wildlife conservationists. Through Lion Watch, we provide advanced training to safari guides to help them become experts on lion identification and ecology, which translates to a richer experience for their guests.
Using Citizen Science to Scale Up Lion Conservation
Lion Watch is a unique partnership that benefits both conservation and tourism in northern Kenya. Lion Watch utilises “citizen science” to enhance lion conservation by leveraging the knowledge and presence of safari guides. Select guides are trained to collect data on lions while they are on their daily game drives. At the same time, they inform their clients about lion conservation. This increases the scale of lion monitoring and research by Ewaso Lions in our study area while also raising awareness about lion conservation to visitors.
How It Works
Ewaso Lions has certified over 20 Lion Watch Guides. Ewaso Lions trained these Guides in all aspects of lion identification, monitoring, ecology, and GPS. We provide Guides with lion ID cards, aging books, and smart phones equipped with special apps for recording lion data. These smart phones allow Guides to easily collect lion IDs and locations. The data they collect is uploaded into an online database, analysed, and discussed in periodic meetings with the guides. This data will also help shape local policy for lion conservation.
“After the [Lion Watch] training, now I know more about lions and the individuals we have in Samburu. I have been watching these animals for years. Now I know their stories and can share that with my guests. They will love it.”
– Julius Lesooli, guide at Elephant Bedroom Camp
“This initiative by Ewaso Lions is a fantastic one,” said Tom Lesarge, CEO of the Kenya Professional Safari Guides Association. “It will not only help in monitoring the lion populations in Samburu, but trigger a passion and genuine concern for lions in all people that will engage in the programme.”
> Read our blog about training the first Lion Watch Guides.