Progress Report from the Mara Naboisho Lion Project, Kenya
May 7 2012

Injuries in the Enesikiria pride

The African Impact team has been monitoring the Naboisho core prides closely while I was away leading a safari in March and are doing a wonderful job in doing so. The Enesikiria pride is back in there normal range and several individuals have been sighted. The six young males are again frequently seen together. It was unpleasant however, to find two of them with ugly facial wounds, most likely sustained from kicks by a female giraffe, who was defending her calf that the young males killed.

Fortunately though lions, as with many other carnivores, heal quickly and they are both now doing well.

Lemayian - one of the injured sub-adult males, immediately after the attack and 5 weeks later

Lemayian - one of the injured sub-adult males, immediately after the attack Lemayian - one of the injured sub-adult males, 5 weeks later

Some of the Enoolera lions have returned

As mentioned in the previous report, the prides had changed their ranging pattern after the heavy rains in November/December, shifting into other pride areas and the Enoolera pride was nowhere to be found, except for one sighting of a single female. In April however, three of the five known pride females have been sighted, two of them with the three Enesikiria pride adult males.

The three Enesikiria pride males

The three Enesikiria pride males

Therefore, we are uncertain who currently has control over the Enoolera pride. We have not been able to find the usual three Enoolera pride males and as previously mentioned, two lions were killed in the Enoolera pride area in January, which could very well have been two of the three pride males. This is one possible explanation for finding the Enoolera females with Enesikiria males within the Enoolera area.

The surviving cubs are doing well

You may recall that Teriano, an Enolera female, was seen with three very young cubs in the beginning of January. They have been seen again during March and April and are all seem to be doing fine.

Teriano & her 3 cubs as of mid-April

Teriano & her 3 cubs as of mid-April

Mickey from the Enesikiria pride has apparently lost one of her three cubs, however, the remaining two, a male and a female which are about one year old now, are in good health as is their mother.

Mickey and her 2 remaining cubs

Mickey and her 2 remaining cubs

Esiriwua and Tikki, also from the Enesikiria pride, who both had cubs in early November last year, have been seen again although no cubs were present. Tikki still looks as if she is lactating but Esiriwua does not, therefore, we are assuming for now that she has lost her three cubs. Nevertheless, there should be plenty of lions, both young and old for the upcoming safari guests to enjoy, as the high season approaches.

The search for the Pardamat pride continues

The elusive Pardamat pride, which I studied in 2005-6 and followed up on from 2007 - 2009 has moved away from their previously known pride area. As more settlements have emerged in the Pardamat locale, it seems as if the pride has been pushed further away. We have been spending time talking with families from old and new villages asking about encounters with lions and they seem to agree that they have not heard or seen lions over the last few years in the area in which we had previously found them. We therefore continued our enquiries on the western sides of the Paradamat hills, near Mbitin, talking to villages that have recently sprung up there. These families on the contrary, report that they are hearing and even seeing lions. Therefore, we assume – as we have been suspecting for a while – that the Pardamat pride are resting on top of the hills during daytime and then coming down to the area where these new villages are during the nighttime. Many of the conflicts reported in previous reports, including the killing of a 12-year-old boy in November of last year, are close to this region and have been thought to be the responsibility of this pride. We have placed a couple of camera traps in these suspected areas but have so far been unlucky. The camera traps currently being used are unfortunately old and unreliable and we are currently looking for funding for more advanced traps with IR sensors which are approximately 260USD.

Reduced conflicts

Only one incident of human-lion conflicts resulting in retaliation has been identified over the last two months. A lion had killed a calf which resulted in the killing of two lion cubs of different ages near Endoinyo Erinka Primary School. MNLP project assistant, Dominic Sakat, was the first to respond and successfully prevented further revenge attacks. Dominic is also still visiting schools as an attempt to create awareness among the youth, in addition to community awareness meetings in local villages.

Support the Mara Naboisho Lion Project

ALERT affiliate program, the Mara Naboisho Lion Project, is seeking funding for technical equipment to enhance the effectiveness of this collaborative study between the Kenya Wildlife Service, Basecamp Foundation Kenya, African Impact, the Danish Zoological Society and ALERT.

Based in Kenya’s Mara Naboisho Conservancy the program focusses on population monitoring, human-wildlife conflict prevention and mediation and capacity building.  It aims to:

a) conserve lions outside the conservancies by monitoring and mapping pride ranges in addition to education, documenting conflicts, and providing incentives for the local community to conserve their natural habitats and improve their livestock enclosures;

b) conserve lions inside Naboisho conservancy by monitoring and analysing the prides that utilise the conservancy.

Current challenges faced in achieving the project’s aims include a lack of technical equipment to improve efficiency, the impact of the project and the quality of the data collected as well as insufficient funds to cover basic expenses such as fuel for the project car and accommodation for the staff.

The project findings are disseminated via a variety of means, including: bi monthly progress reports (emailed to a wide spectrum of interested parties and affiliates); scientific journal articles; national and international newspaper articles; tv documentaries; and presentations to communities, tourists and volunteers. MNLP also regularly meets with the management of Naboisho Conservancy, the Naboisho Big Cat Project steering committee and Kenya Wildlife Service in order to evaluate and review progress.

Budget

Projector and screen: USD 360 + 100
5 x camera traps: USD 1,175
2 x canvas tent:  USD 2,000
2 x GPS-satellite collars: USD12,000
Fuel for the project car (for one year): USD 3,000
Materials for lion proofing livestock enclosures: USD1,200

For more information about how to help fund this project please see the funding proposal below, or download it as a pdf here.

For more information about volunteering in the Mara Naboisho Conservancy to support the work of this program, please visit here.

 

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