KopeLion, Timan

Timan Naidoso

KopeLion, TimanIn another life when he was a young Morani, Timan killed nine lions. His hunting success has given him a high status and level of respect within his community, making him a pivotal member of KopeLion. When Timan started with KopeLion in 2014, he barely spoke any (Ki)Swahili. As Timan grows with KopeLion, he helps us stop lion hunts (his favorite part of his job), while we try to teach him a few words here and there. He is nearly conversant now!

Area dry season: Natukuree zone
Area wet season: Isilale zone

KopeLion, Sandet

Sandet Kitumi

KopeLion, SandetSandet is KopeLion’s strong and steady Ilchokuti. Sandet is from Esinoni, Nayomi’s (a collared lioness) regular territory. His strength and bravery comes out when Nayomi is in trouble. He guards her like his prize cow, repeatedly physically stepping in between Nayomi’s pride and herders grazing and/or warriors on a lion hunt. During the dry seasons, Sandet goes out every day to help monitor lions, his favorite part of his job, and help negate potential conflicts.

Area dry season: Esinone zone
Area wet season: Kiloki zone

KopeLion, Mosonic

Mosonic Olekiboo

KopeLion, MosonikIf we had to pick one word to describe Mosonic, it would be curious. Mosonik constantly wants to learn as he assists in checking camera traps, picks up English words with ease, and loves the research aspect of his job most. As he and managers hike into camera traps, they regularly hold healthy debates, conversing about the possible origins of Maasai/English languages, how people decided to start drinking goat milk, and how skin pigments evolved. In addition to extra research tasks, Mosonic covers Esirwa, arguably the most rugged zone in our project, without complaint (and typically a smile on his face).

Area: Esirwa zone

KopeLion, Mbekure

Mbekure Ndekerei

KopeLion, MbekureMbekure is new to the KopeLion team as of the spring of 2016. He was a very traditional Maasai, coming from Ngidokun, a remote and lesses known part of Ngorongoro Conservation Area. When Mbekure began with KopeLion, he spoke very little (Ki)Swahili and he had never held a pen or pencil! With the guidance of other Ilchokuti, Mbekure can now write several words and can even use a GPS unit. Although Mbekure is new to the team, we are confident he has the potential to protect any lions that wander into his zone and spread KopeLion’s mission throughout his community.

Area: Ngidokun zone

Lukas Moiri

lukasLukas, a seemingly serious character, has a great laugh and has become one of our best Ilchokuti. When Lucas first joined the KopeLion team, he was a bit lack-luster. After a year of training on the job, he now excels in every aspect of his job: community outreach, communication with management, reinforcing bomas, and finding lost livestock. Lucas covers the Malilima zone, a central area in the project and Ngorongoro Conservation Area itself. Due to its location, Lucas’s zone sees many livestock pass though. Luckily, finding lost livestock is Lucas’s favorite part of his job. He enjoys seeing the faces of owners as he returns their livestock home and avoids possible depredation and conflict with predators.

Area: Malilima zone

Lili Gutumuhoga

liliLili, our newest Ilchokuti, is Datoga (also known as Barabaig or Mang’ati). Datoga is an ethnic minority within Ngorongoro Conservation Area, but like the Maasai, Datoga are traditionally pastoralists. Lili is a traditional leader within his age class in the Datoga community. As a leader, he has great respect from his community. When he speaks, people listen. Although he is our newest member, Lili gets it. Lili truly understands the mission of KopeLion, passionately reaching out to his community to not only stop lion hunts, but to share the benefits of lion conservation.

Area: Embarway zone

Kitasho Kiludie

kitashoKitasho’s stature (our tallest Ilchokuti) pairs his role on the KopeLion team. Despite covering Ormoti, the furthest west zone in the project, Kitasho is a mentor to our two new Ilchokuti, is a spokesperson for the Ilchokuti team, and is a great cook out in the field. Kitasho loves his job and his lions. His favourite lion is Nayomi for her strength and ability to protect and raise her cubs, even in areas of dense Maasai communities.

Area: Olmoti zone


KopeLion, Kisyombe

Kisyombe Telele

KopeLion, KisyombeOur management team is quite smitten with Kisyombe. Whenever something needs to be done, Kisyombe steps up. If a lion comes into his zone or if there is a potential lion hunt by members of his community, Kisyombe immediately monitors the lion or deters the hunt. When we needed help with checking camera traps, Kisyombe took on the task with ease. Not only is Kisyombe hardworking, but he is yearning to learn. Whenever someone opens a book, he is immediately there, reading what he can and asking questions.

Area: Ngarusi zone

KopeLion, Katakara

Katakara O. Katero

KopeLion, KatakaraKatakara is our whistler extraordinaire, winning a competition up in Kenya, and one of the luckiest guys on the KopeLion team. On Katakara’s first day of work he found lion spoors near his home and, within the next few hours, he helped Kope Lion collar a beautiful male lion, which he then named Bahati meaning Luck in (Ki)Swahili. Bahati was collared near Katakara’s boma in Orbili, where there are stunning rock formations and more sand than the beach. Katakara is a superb tracker and regularly helps our new staff members develop their skills.

Area: Orbili zone