Lion conservation fund projects

Samburu Lion Project

Tess, an adult female lioness with 4 small cubs, was rescued from a poachers snare by scientist at Lion Conservation Fund

Livestock is the only source of income and food for most Samburu and Maasai families, so lion conflict intervention is urgent.

Lions in Samburu in northern Kenya, an area of global conservation importance, are perhaps one of the last and largest free-roaming lion populations outside protected lands in the world, yet virtually nothing is known of their conservation status.

Not only are large carnivores such as lions important to Kenya’s ecology, but low-density lion populations—such as those found in habitats like Samburu—may actually be critically important to ensuring the long term survival of the species!

Samburu, Kenya, at over 250,000 square kilometers, represents a vast expanse of wilderness and represents one of the world’s most important unprotected reservoirs of wildlife and biodiversity in the world. It may also support one of East Africa’s largest unprotected lion populations.

Yet, the exact number and distribution of lions in Samburu is unknown and little is understood of their ecology and behavior. As human pressure increases in temperate ecosystems, free-ranging lions may represent fundamental strongholds for their survival in the wild and may be important keys to conservation of the species and all other species occupying their habitat. Very few, if any, detailed studies have been conducted on them, but this information is essential in order to assess their status and to implement sound lion conservation and management.

Our Goal

Tess, an adult female lioness with 4 small cubs, was rescued from a poachers snare by scientist at Lion Conservation Fund

Wildlife biologist Tina Ramme and field team examine a tranquilized lion for disease, tooth wear, and other health information.

The Samburu Lion Project is working to provide large-scale, long-term research aimed at biodiversity conservation and sustainable management of lions and natural resources in northern Kenya. The Center works collaboratively with other conservation programs to identify research priorities across the Samburu ecosystem. We have partnered with local community conservancies such as West Gate Community Conservancy, Namunyak Wildlife Conservation Trust, Kalama Community Wildlife Conservation Trust, Northern Rangelands Trust, and others.

Research and Conservation

Tess, an adult female lioness with 4 small cubs, was rescued from a poachers snare by scientist at Lion Conservation Fund

Samburu is home to Kamuniak, the lioness who adopted several oryx calves. Read more

Researchers are conducting an ongoing census and survey of the population ecology of free-ranging lions here to establish baseline information about population regulation. This information will contribute to studies of dispersal among lions and will help predict disturbances effects – such as habitat degradation and poaching- on population structure. This ecological focus will provide important information on habitat use which will aid in lion conservation.

Lions are important to this semi-arid lands ecology. It is also thought that low-density lion populations restricted to arid habitats, such as in Samburu District, may be of great importance for lion conservation. With growing human pressure in the more temperate zones, the long-term survival of species such as lions in these remote satellite refugia, especially in Northern Frontier Conservation Areas, may hold an important conservation key for the species. These habitat “islands” are of outstanding national, regional and international importance for wildlife that is increasingly compromised.

Tess, an adult female lioness with 4 small cubs, was rescued from a poachers snare by scientist at Lion Conservation Fund

Human conflict and habitat loss have resulted in the staggering loss of almost 90% of lions over the past two decades.

We train and employ local community members as field assistants, develop wildlife-conflict mitigation and conservation education programs, and provide capacity-building initiatives to local residents sharing habitat with wildlife. We believe it is essential to give the local community an active voice in how the project is run, how funds are disseminated and how it can best ensure continued support to the communities around us, so several Maasai and Samburu community members serve on our board. Recognizing that the health of wildlife, livestock, humans, and the environment in which they exist are inextricably linked, we hope to develop innovative strategies for helping indigenous populations utilize culturally-defined, community-based conservation programs which are self-sustaining and self-regulating.

This program aims to facilitate the long-term coexistence of wildlife and people in the Samburu ecosystem. Working closely with local communities, government authorities and NGOs, through training, research and implementation, we are working to further the understanding of human-wildlife conflict and develop sustainable solutions throughout the region.

This project works in collaboration with:

Namunyak Wildlife Conservation Trust

Northern Rangelands Trust

West Gate Community Conservancy

Kalama Community Wildlife Conservancy

Back to Top

You can support the important research, conservation and protection of lions in Kenya’s protected and unprotected habitats by “adopting” an individual lion or by sponsoring an entire pride. Find out how you can Adopt a Lion click here

Member, The Organization of
Biological Field Stations

Learn More about our Partners. Partnersadmin

Buy books from Amazon.com and support LCF Lionlogo LionConservationFundLogo3