In 2010, Ewaso Lions launched Warrior Watch, which protects lions by engaging Samburu warriors, a group traditionally neglected in conservation decision-making.
Warrior Watch makes warriors ambassadors for lions within their communities, while raising awareness about conservation and advocating for peaceful co-existence with lions and wildlife. The programme builds on warriors’ traditional protection role by increasing their ability to mitigate human-carnivore conflict. The warriors serve as a network working across multiple communities, enabling us to monitor threatened species and record conflict incidents over a wide-ranging area.
Why It Helps
The programme engages and empowers these young Samburu men in conservation. In turn, the warriors spread a conservation message to their peers within their communities. A rigorous evaluation of Warrior Watch found that the programme had significantly improved attitudes and tolerance towards large carnivores, contributed to the social and political empowerment of the warrior demographic and garnered widespread community support, despite targeting only a small sub-section of the population.
How It Works
Ewaso Lions works with local community leaders to select Warriors. We train Warriors on wildlife ecology, conservation, human–wildlife conflict transformation, security issues, and more. Over time, Warriors are trained to collect data and use GPS, allowing us to map wildlife presence and movements.
Following lion attacks on livestock, Warriors encourage herders not to take retaliatory action and help recover lost livestock. Warriors investigate problem animals and consider different solutions for reducing future livestock attacks. Warriors promote conservation and tolerance of carnivores at the community level by facilitating dialog about conflict and conservation.
Each week, the Warriors meet as a group with Ewaso Lions staff to report on wildlife sightings, incidents of human-wildlife conflict, community awareness meetings, and livestock issues. In turn, Warriors receive educational lessons in English and Kiswahili and arithmetic, as well as a small monthly food stipend and meals during the weekly meetings.
Our vision is to create a network of warriors working across community conservancies in northern Kenya for conservation. We evaluate the programme to improve Warrior Watch going forward and to make sure it is the best it can be. Through Warrior Watch, we are hopeful that wildlife will have a secure future among the local people in this part of Kenya.
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