This month, we held a Lion Kids Camp for 24 Kenyan children to learn about conservation and be inspired by experiencing wildlife from a new perspective. This Camp marked only the second time an LKC has been held outside Samburu. We teamed up with Loisaba Conservancy to hold the five-day camp in the beautiful landscape of Loisaba, located 200km away in Laikipia county.
Similar to the two Lion Kids Camps we have held so far this year, this camp focused on young livestock herders from local communities, rather than school children. The 24 kids, ranging in age from 4 to 16, spent five days with our team learning all about wildlife, conservation and ways to coexist with lions and other large carnivores – and, of course, to have lots of fun in the process!
This was our 8th camp held to date, bringing the total number of Kenyan children participating in a Lion Kids Camp to 214.
Excitingly, this Camp coincided with World Lion Day on the 10th of August. In the hope of showing the children lions on this special day, we set off early for a game drive on Loisaba. It wasn’t long before we received a call from Thomas, who works for our research partner Lion Landscapes, to say he had located a collared female, Victoria, and her pride. Despite the pride having – somewhat unhelpfully – chosen to rest at the top of a rocky hill, the kids were all super excited to watch the lions through their binoculars and asked lots of questions. They spent the rest of the drive excitedly ticking off other species on their checklists and one car was even lucky even to spot a cheetah.
With the Camp taking place on Loisaba Conservancy, there were also some special additions to our regular programme in Samburu. Firstly, the children visited Loisaba’s livestock bomas, where they met the Conservancy’s huge herd of camels and sampled some fresh camel milk, before watching the frenzy as hundreds of cattle were ‘dipped’ to prevent disease.
Loisaba staff then talked to the children about livestock and grazing management. The children also met Loisaba’s bloodhounds, Warrior and Machine, and learnt how these incredible sniffer dogs help local communities and wildlife. The kids even joined in a training exercise that took the form of sniffer dog style hide-and-seek.
In typical LKC fashion, the week closed with the wildlife drama competition, which was performed in front of the children’s parents and Loisaba staff. It was great to see the community support for this initiative – the first time Loisaba has run a kids programme. We were delighted that in recognition of their support, the community even donated a goat for the children.
It was a brilliant week and we hope to work with Loisaba Conservancy again in the near future!
With special thanks to:
• Loisaba Conservancy – for sponsoring and hosting this camp. In particular to Tom, Fiona and Mingistu for their support
• Guides – Sam, Bonnie and Robin, for their support and enthusiasm as team leaders
• Matron – Mama Kelly, for taking good care of the children
• Cooks – Joseph and his team, for ensuring we were all well fed
• Lion Landscapes – our partner in Laikipia for their assistance
• The kids and their families – for embracing the experience and making it such a great week
• Ewaso Lions staff – Letupukwa, Thomas and Jeneria for all their hard work to ensure the camp was a great success
• Tom Cromwell and the Kenyan Kids on Safari programme – for supporting the Camp