KopeLion – Enabling lasting coexistence between people and lions in Ngorongoro
In Ngorongoro Conservation Area, northern Tanzania, people have shared a landscape with lions for the last two thousand years and continue to do so. But today, even in this protected area, diminishing space, climate change and increasing poverty have unsettled the balance between people and lions and threaten both traditional pastoralist livelihoods and a further decline in lion populations.
Increasing connectivity by reducing conflict
Across Africa, lions are disappearing fast. Lion numbers have declined by 50% in the last 25 years. Holding one-third of the world’s lions, Tanzania is important for their long-term survival.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) is a critical space, being a key ‘hub’ for the dispersal and connectivity of the Northern Tanzania and Southern Kenya’s Maasailand lion meta-population.
But cultural and conflict killings over the years have posed the biggest threat to lions in NCA, leading to a loss of rangeland and connectivity, isolating the famous crater lions from the wider Serengeti population and threatening their genetic health.
Ilchokuti: “Guardian, Caretaker – someone that never leaves his flock”
Indigenous people have shared a landscape with lions in the NCA for the last two thousand years and continue to do so. But today, diminishing space, degraded landscapes and increasing poverty has unsettled the balance between people and lions, threatening the traditional pastoralist livelihoods of the Maasai and the Datooga, and a further decline in lion populations.
Our team of 28 skilled former lion hunters, or Ilchokuti as they are known in the Maa language, act as guardians to the livestock and lions and are each responsible for a 60-120 square-km area where they live.
Enabling lasting coexistence between people and lions in Ngorongoro
What We Do
KopeLion works to find solutions so pastoralist communities and lions in the NCA can coexist and prosper together.
Supporting better protection for both livestock and lions, reducing the conflicts, and providing tangible benefits from lion conservation are some of the ways that KopeLion is increasing the tolerance that people have towards lions, reopening corridors of connectivity, and restoring a healthy landscape that sustains all forms of life.