This is the story of Junior, the 13-year-old “Lion Kid”. This boy’s story is worth sharing because Junior represents the bright outcome of conservation education. Junior hails from Westgate Conservancy in Samburu, northern Kenya.
Junior attended our Lion Kids Camp in 2014, which sparked Junior’s interest in conservation. By the end of the Camp, he was telling anyone who would listen that he wanted to be just like the warriors from Ewaso Lions.
Now, every time Jeneria and the field team head into Samburu National Reserve, Junior – who lives in a village bordering the Reserve – is watching, waiting for any chance to jump in their vehicle to go see lions or head back to camp with his new heroes.
He is quite a character and will stand in the middle of the road with his arms stretched out and school bag ready until Jeneria stops to let him jump in the car. He hates to miss a chance to spend time with the field team and has even been known to hop in barefoot – no time for shoes!
Whilst some like to call him “Jeneria’s shadow,” Jeneria’s own nickname for Junior is “Traffic” because he won’t let Jeneria pass without stopping.
Junior spends his weekends and school holidays at the Ewaso Lions Camp. He stands out from his classmates in their blue and red school uniforms; his red Lion Kids Camp t-shirt being his own uniform of choice and one he is rarely seen without.
Last August, he even participated in our World Lion Day celebrations when our team held a Running for Lions event around the Camp. Junior ran for his favorite lion, Loiwotwa.
When he is not out in the field with the warriors, he spends time in Camp working on his school lessons, drawing, playing with Kura, or scanning for wildlife from our deck. He is a fantastic artist and is being mentored by Samson, our Resident Artist.
We love having Junior in Camp, and when he’s not here we all miss him. He is definitely a treasured Lion Kid.