It is always a surprise this time of the year to realize that we’re halfway through it already. In the bush, there’s a steady stream of incidents to respond to, wildlife to assist, and community issues to help sort out. The seasons are marked by the rains, or sometimes lack thereof, and the green landscape that hopefully comes with them.
We got some rain in the second quarter, but not enough. The land has already shifted back to dry season conditions, and with it have come the usual complications. We can only hope that the abundance of rain from last year will carry us forward. In the meantime, the watering holes are looking a bit crowded.
Speaking of crowds, we are practically tripping on lions. If the pun can be forgiven, I’m quite proud of the large prides we’re now seeing on Maasai community lands. Twenty years ago, a lion sighting was an extremely rare thing; retaliation by local community members was high for depredation of livestock and ingrained social norms, so the lions kept their distance. The handful of lions that survived these retaliatory attacks hid in the lava in the hills around my home.
Now with predator compensation available for local livestock owners, and shifting attitudes thanks to the Maasai Olympics, as well as the work of our local partners, our lion population has rebounded to upwards of 200 in the ecosystem today—roughly 10 times as many as when we started. And quite a few them enjoy the grassy fields that are my back yard, much to my dogs’ dismay.
We’ll be hearing a lot about lions in the coming weeks thanks to a certain movie I hear is being released. We are grateful to our partners at the Disney Conservation Fund for using this opportunity to support lion conservation. Maybe someday soon I can enjoy this re-envisioning of The Lion King, with vistas inspired by Big Life’s area of operation, with my own children. If I leave the bush in time to make it to a theatre, that is.
In the meantime, Big Life’s rangers will keep protecting the wildlife and wild lands of this magnificent ecosystem for the benefit of us all. To all of our supporters who make this possible, thank you.
Co-Founder and Director of Operations, Big Life Kenya