2021_06 1428 Collared lioness feeding cubs in Ndutu Emmanuel lufilisha

Despite facing unforeseen and significant challenges in 2021 and 2022, KopeLion’s efforts in Ngorongoro have successfully maintained the lion population in the conservation area with many cubs surviving in Ndutu this year.

The prolonged drought, along with an increased influx of pastoralists into the dry season grazing area due to the closure of access to water sources in the newly annexed Pololeti Game Controlled Area, presented significant hurdles. The increase in invasive species and a decline in grasslands has a direct impact on the local community’s livelihoods, prompting pastoralists to shift towards favoring sheep and goats over cattle in the dry season grasslands. These changes have exacerbated conflicts, thwarting KopeLion’s efforts, and increased the occurrence of lion attacks on livestock.

Lions that established themselves in a community-occupied area on the edge of the crater in 2020 continued to multiply and attacked numerous livestock in 2021. Since 2023, they no longer reside here, having possibly overstayed their welcome. Despite these challenges, the community’s tolerance toward lions has remained high and the sanctions on traditional killings of lions have been maintained. By the end of 2023, efforts by KopeLion resulted in a reduction in the number of lions killed compared to the levels seen in 2020.

IUCN Save Our Species, co-funded by the European Union, have supported us to establish a second corridor of tolerance for lions in Kakesio, linking the Ngorongoro highlands to the Makao Wildlife Management Area and the Maswa Game Reserve lion habitats and working with the communities who share this habitat.

KopeLion’s three new Ilchokuti zones in Kakesio increased our area of work by 304 sq.km and has allowed us to collect data and establish a baseline on the presence of lion in this area and their attacks on livestock, as well as to provide vital support to the pastoralist communities living here. Building people’s ability to tolerate lions increases the likelihood of their safe passage through the area and continued connectivity to the meta population of lions.

Over the course of our two-year IUCN grant, KopeLion has forged a close partnership with the Ngorongoro community, establishing trust and solidifying our relationship. Our commitment to assisting them in coexisting with lions has seen various approaches. Although the idea of painting eyespots on cow’s buttocks to deter lion attacks proved unpopular among pastoralists, the construction of 20 robust livestock enclosures was met with high demand. This initiative not only continues successfully but has also attracted additional funding support.

Our dedicated team of 30 Ilchokuti, responsible for safeguarding people, livestock, and lions, has played a crucial role in supporting Ngorongoro’s livelihoods throughout the two-year project. They have been enabled to provide assistance through utilising the skills learned through training, and the provision of basic veterinary supplies. The recovery of 87% of lost livestock, totaling 7,816 animals with a value of $626,630, and the treatment of 2,086 animals for wounds inflicted by predator attacks reflect the impactful outcomes of their efforts. Ilchokuti members also contribute to repairing livestock enclosures breached by predators, attending every lion attack event, and meticulously recording lion observations and other wildlife activities in their areas.

KopeLion’s recent engagement with secondary schools in Ngorongoro, including day trips for 200 students into the crater, has led to the initiation of a new project in 2024 collaborating with primary schools and their conservation clubs. Through our trial program, which pays for the presence of lions in six villages, we’ve supported students by providing secondary school supplies and primary school food programs, amounting to approximately $35,000.

While acknowledging the challenges of coexisting with lions and the unpredictable nature of the environment, through the support from IUCN’s Save our Species grant, we observe a positive shift in community attitudes towards lions, as their needs are better understood and supported.

IUCN Save Our Species

With the support of IUCN Save Our Species, co-funded by the European Union

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Kope Lion

Kope Lion

KopeLion Inc. (short for Korongoro People’s Lion Initiative) is a non-profit NGO registered in USA and in Tanzania. Our mission is to foster human-lion coexistence through participatory research and sustainable community-based conservation.

4 days ago

Kope Lion
We're looking for a mechanic to take care of all the basic repairs and regular maintenance of our vehicles.Based in Ngorongoro.Please apply by 30th May to applications@kopelion.org ... See MoreSee Less
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6 days ago

Kope Lion
It's gratifying when the impact of your work lives and breathes.This is one of nine surviving cubs from Twin Hill in Ndutu. Born in the dry season, raising these cubs caused a great deal of conflict and the loss of many sheep and goats. The tolerance of the traditional pastoralists in this area is admirable, and testament to KopeLion's team and their work in the area.Now grown, this lot will keep the team on their toes, before the males eventually disperse and find a patch of their own. The ultimate success would be if they were to cross the 'corridor of tolerance' between Serengeti and the Crater and spread their genes.Lion Recovery Fund Lion Recovery Fund PAW Foundation Lincoln Park Zoo Lincoln Park Zoo NABU International NABU International Naturschutzstiftung The Donald Slavik Family Foundation Ndutu Safari Lodge Ndutu Safari Lodge Global Conservation Global Conservation Safina Lion Conservation Fund Nomad Tanzania Asilia Africa Asilia Africa Nomad Tanzania #corridortoftolerance #communityconservation #livingwithlions #humanwildlifecoexistence #coexistence #ngorongorolions #ngorongorocrater #ngorongoroconservationarea #ngorongorodistrict #ngorongoro #lionconservation #ndutu Photo: Roimen Lelya ... See MoreSee Less
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2 weeks ago

Kope Lion
A lion pedicure and more!KopeLion's newest 'corridor of tolerance' through Kakesio is currently booming with lions.It is so useful to be able to understand lions in this area, to enable us to reduce any conflict with people and livestock, keep everything safer and ensure connectivity across lion landscapes.KopeLion's Ilchokuti, Ndoyai, recently located lions and sent in their position. With news that the collaring team were on their way, despite having no phone charge left, he climbed a tree and stayed with them until dark, when the team finally found him.Ndoyai, together with the TAWIRI lion research team and NCA's veterinary officer, Dr Wambura, then assisted to collar a large male lion. In the company of one other male, he is about 7+ years, and was found with an odd looking ear, a large puncture wound on his thigh and an injured pad from a claw that could not retract. After some first aid and putting on a GPS collar, he was soon up and about.The three Kakesio Ilchokuti have had a refresher training on using the telemetry set to locate the collared lion, and he was spotted 10 days later with his companion, and full bellies after killing a buffalo.We look forward to sharing their adventures and hope they take a trip to the crater! #livingwithlions #corridortoftolerance #communityconservation #humanwildlifecoexistence #ngorongoro #ngorongoroconservationarea #ngorongorodistrict #ngorongorolions #kopelion #ngorongorocrater ... See MoreSee Less
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