Collaring Lions for Coexistence at Loisaba

March 20, 2018 - 2 minutes read

Elewana’s Loisaba Tented Camp supports efforts to protect lions and their prey, as well as moves to have the big cats and humans achieve peaceful coexistence. One of these initiatives is Lion Landscape at Loisaba Concervancy.

As part of the program, the matriarch of the Narok pride was recently fitted with a new iridium collar. Narok is one of the area’s largest prides and members have been collared for the past ten years, allowing for a wonderful insight into their family dynamics as well as a reduction of human encounters with unfortunate consequences like retaliatory killings.

Currently the pride consists of the matriarch, two younger females and six young cubs. Four adult males have also been associating with this group.

Last year, poorly guarded community livestock resulted in an escalation of conflict between lions and humans in the Laikipia ecosystem. Collaring lions that have learned to kill livestock allows for tracking their whereabouts in real time and safeguarding the livestock without harming the cats.

UC Berkeley‘s Living with Lions, Oxford University’s Lion Landscape, The Nature Conservancy and Tusk Trust have all contributed collars to this program. And Save the Elephants has developed a user-friendly app that maps the big cats’ whereabouts on Google Earth, giving livestock owners the knowledge to avoid the lions or increase protection efforts for their livestock in response to actual lion presence.

Meanwhile, Savannah Tracking has designed a Boma Shield System that responds to chips imbedded in the lion collars — a system that sets off alarms and lights when the cat comes within 200 meters of a boma (livestock enclosure).

Lion Landscapes is currently running a trial of this system on Loisaba Conservancy. Recently a collared lion tried to use the cover of darkness to approach a camel enclosure but the collar triggered the alarm system which woke the guards just in time to see the lion hightailing it away.

Elewana hopes the combination of real-time movement data and boma shield systems allows for lions and livestock to forever live in harmony.