Category Archives: Pride of Kenya

Leakey interview in SWARA and on NTV Wild Talk at 10 pm

NTV Wild Talk, broadcast an interview with Richard Leakey about the past and the present for wildlife and heritage in Kenya. It aired on Tuesday March 15 on NTV at 10 pm.
I also want to draw attention to the new article in SWARA here  in which he states

“Parks will only be sustainable if Kenyans want them to be sustainable. Middle class Kenyans who own TV sets watch international soccer, international vanity shows and news but none of them watch wildlife programmes because they’ve never been put on air in this country.”

Richard Leakey

This sentiment is the reason that we created NTV Wild. For those who have not been able to catch previous episodes, NTV Wild is a partnership between NTV, WildlifeDirect and KWS to broadcast wildlife documentaries made in Kenya and Africa on national Television for the first time in our history to inspire Kenyans to visit our parks and appreciate our spectacular wildlife heritage. The program airs on Saturdays and a discussion program on Tuesdays.
This is the list of all the NTV Wild documentaries so far on Saturday’s at 8 pm
1. Mzima Haunt of the River Horse – Mark Deeble and Vicky Stone
2. The Last Lions – Derek and Beverly Joubert
3. African Cats – DisneyNature
4. Here be Dragons – Alan Root
5. Battle For the Elephants – Nat Geo
6. The Queen of Trees – Mark Deeble and Vicky Stone
NTV Wild Talk on Tuesdays at 10 pm

 

Launching the series with Jonathan Scott

 

NTV Wild Talk S1 E1 “The mystery of Mzima”

 NTV Wild Talk S1 E2 “Kenya-US relations in protecting wildlife”

NTV Wild Talk S1 E3 “Stopping wildlife trafficking through Kenya”

NTV Wild Talk S1 E4 “Saving Kenya’s big cats”

NTV Wild Talk S1 E5 “Safeguarding Karura Forest”

 

TV Wild Talk S1 E6 “Wildlife Newbies & Champions”

In this episode: Kitili Mbathi shares the challenges & successes at KWS, Lena Munge tells of how she hopes to transform the Masai Mara, Najib Balala explains why he jumped off a plane for conservation & 12 yr old Luca Berardi stresses the importance of wildlife for future generations.

Both the documentaries and the talk shows have been trending on twitter since we began 7 weeks ago and people are telling us that they are setting their alarm clocks to catch the programs. We are already on week 7 and we have 45 more  to go! Enjoy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#NTVWild panel discussion: Understanding the wild in Kenya with Jonathan Scott

It was a pleasure to listen and watch Jonathan Scott LIVE in studio. Many have watched him on Big Cat Diaries but few have ever met him. Along with Dr. Paula Kahumbu, WildlifeDirect CEO and Paula Mbugua from KWS, they talked about the new series #NTVWild that Premieres on NTV KENYA on Saturday January 16, 2016

Watch the discussion here:

 

 

 

NTV WILD Season Premiere on 16th January 2016

We are proud to announce the official premier of NTV Wild, a partnership between NTV one of Kenya’s premier broadcasters, WildlifeDirect and the Kenya Wildlife Service.

NTV Wild is a partnership between NTV, KWS and WildlifeDirect. The first ever broadcasting of the Award winning wildlife documentaries made in Kenya and Africa every Saturday.

We will awaken your sense of awe and wonder at our magnificent wildlife heritage, which you own and have a responsibility for protecting.

Help us save it. Visit our magnificent parks, and take actions against anything that threatens our protected areas, wildlife spectacles, wild landscapes and endangered species.

Tune in every Saturday (from the 16th of January) at 8 pm. Share this widely through your networks and on social media using the hasthag NTVWild
We look forward to your feed back

 

The Marsh Pride: end of an era

Jonathan Scott: The poisoning of members of the Marsh Pride, the world’s best known lions, highlights the need for a lasting solution to human–wildlife conflict in Africa

 

Lioness Bibi in her prime in the Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya. Bibi was a member of the Marsh Pride that featured in the BBC TV series “Big Cat Diary” from 1996 to 2008. Bibi died on 6 December 2015 after being poisoned along with other members of the pride. Photograph: courtesy of © Andrea Scott. All rights reserved.

Lioness Bibi in her prime in the Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya. Bibi was a member of the Marsh Pride that featured in the BBC TV series “Big Cat Diary” from 1996 to 2008. Bibi died on 6 December 2015 after being poisoned along with other members of the pride. Photograph: courtesy of © Andrea Scott. All rights reserved.

On Sunday morning (6 December 2015) news broke of the poisoning of members of the Marsh Pride. These are the lions that Angela and I have followed since 1977 and were the stars of our “Big Cat” TV series, that documented the fascinating and often tumultuous life of the pride over a period of more than 12 years.

The Marsh Pride occupies a territory on the edge of the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, one of Africa’s foremost protected areas. All members of the “big five” (lion, leopard, African elephant, African buffalo, and black rhinoceros) are found on the vast plains of the Mara, plus a wealth of other wildlife.

On Saturday night, the lions had killed cattle belonging to a family living near the reserve. In retaliation, a member of the family sprinkled pesticide onto the carcass, knowing that the lions would return. He was intentionally trying to kill them. How many lions have died as a result is still unclear.

 

The body of Marsh Lioness Bibi, who died from poisoning at 7.30 am on Sunday 6 December 2015, along with other members of the Marsh Pride. Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya. Photograph: Courtesy of Patrick Reynolds

The body of Marsh Lioness Bibi, who died from poisoning at 7.30 am on Sunday 6 December 2015, along with other members of the Marsh Pride. Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya. Photograph: Courtesy of Patrick Reynolds

I wish I could say that this was shocking news, but there is nothing shocking any more about what is happening in the Masai Mara. Tens of thousands of cattle encroach in to the Reserve every night when visitors are safely out of sight – but when the likelihood of conflict with predators such as lions and hyenas is at its greatest. This makes no sense.

This sorry state of affairs is testimony to the appalling management of the Reserve east of the river. This is a situation that has existed for at least as long as I have known the Masai Mara. Management failures contributed to the precipitous decline in the Mara’s black rhino population from an estimated 150 to 200 in the 1960s to just 11 by 1983 (it has risen again to between 30 and 40).

The BBC filmed the hugely popular TV series ‘Big Cat Diary’ in Marsh Pride territory from 1996 to 2008. Our base in the Mara was – and still is – a stone cottage at Governor’s Camp. This is a safari camp set in the heart of the reserve, in the vicinity of the glorious Musiara Marsh after which the Marsh Lions were named.

The Marsh is the heart of the Marsh Pride’s dry season territory, while to the east the intermittent watercourse known as Bila Shaka was the traditional breeding site and resting place for the pride. Bila Shaka means ‘without fail’ in Swahili, testimony that the guides could always find lions here. Not now.

Each year Governor’s Camp outfitted a special tented camp for us along the Mara River just upstream from Main Camp. The foundation of the series was that we always knew that we could find lions, leopards and cheetahs in the area on a daily basis. The Marsh Pride were at the heart of the series, and virtually never let us down.

The Marsh Pride at home in the Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya. Photograph: courtesy of © Andrea Scott. All rights reserved.

The Marsh Pride at home in the Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya. Photograph: courtesy of © Andrea Scott. All rights reserved.

But that all changed when the authorities decided to turn a blind eye to the incursion of cattle into the reserve, forcing the lions to move out or risk death. The Marsh Pride has always been vulnerable since its territory spreads beyond the reserve boundary. This is particularly apparent in the wet season when Musiara Marsh (and Bila Shaka at times) becomes waterlogged and the lions move to higher ground to north and east.

Each year we lose lions to poisoning or spearing by pastoralists. That was always part of life for the lions. But in the last few years the situation has escalated beyond all reason, with the Marsh Pride becoming increasingly fragmented by the influx of cattle and herdsmen. Today it would be impossible to film Big Cat Diary in the same location. What a damning fact that is.

This year the impact of livestock has been all too apparent. Huge herds of cattle would camp during the daytime along the boundary of the reserve waiting for the tourists to head in to camp. Soon the Musiara area looked like a desert and each night you could see dozens of flickering torches as the cattle were driven in to the reserve after dark.

The deep tracks leading into the reserve are testament to this, along with piles of cattle dung scattered deep inside it. And the Musiara area is not alone. Guides from other parts of the Mara have been complaining about this situation for years. But nobody seems to be able to do anything about it.

These incursions are threatening the social cohesion – and very existence – of the Marsh Pride. Earlier in the year a breakaway group of young Marsh Pride females with young cubs were forced to cross the Mara River and set up home in the Kichwa Tembo area. The older females – Bibi (17), Sienna (11) and Charm (11) – and their cubs increasingly avoided Bila Shaka and the Marsh, loitering at the fringes of their traditional territory, forced to encroach on neighbouring prides.

The pride males – Scarface and his three companions – no longer visit the Musiara area, ever since Scarface was shot in 2013. He was treated and recovered but knew better than to stay.

In the past pride males often only managed a tenure of 2 years – sometimes less – before being forced out of their pride by younger or more powerful rivals. It was not uncommon to see groups of five or six young nomadic males roaming the Musiara or Paradise area together. I have counted as many as nine travelling as a group. That was a sign of a healthy lion population with lots of dispersing sub-adults.

Now Marsh Pride males are able to remain as pride males for many more years, due to a decline in the number of young nomadic male lions vying to replace them. The scarcity of these nomadic males suggests that they are not surviving as well as in the past, due to the disturbance that lions are facing on a nightly basis in parts of the Mara from livestock and herdsmen, or from trying to survive in less optimal areas beyond the reserve boundary.

Lions are always going to kill livestock if it comes within range – and of course they will sometimes kill livestock outside the reserve and must bear the consequences when they do. The only way to prevent this happening is if there are sufficient incentives to persuade the herdsmen that lions equate to tourists – and that means a financial return.

And that is the key point. Many Masai do not think of the Masai Mara Reserve as a source of income. They often feel that it is unfair that wildlife is allowed to share their pastures, and sometimes kill their livestock, while they are not allowed to reciprocate by bringing livestock in to the Reserve during dry times.

The Masai have roamed these areas for hundreds of years, long before it was given official protection. Understandably the Masai claim the Mara as their own. The authorities urgently need to address this issue by ensuring that everyone benefits from tourism to the Mara in a truly tangible way.

There will be no safe place for the Marsh Lions until the reserve authorities decide to address all of the issues that have been debated ever since I first came to live in the Mara in 1977. Measures must be taken now to ensure an equitable distribution of revenue from the reserve to the local community, and to increase support for the wildlife conservancies created on private lands around the reserve, where cattle grazing is permitted on a rotational basis.

Within the reserve, there should be a moratorium on any further tourism development, and an embargo on grazing of livestock.

What a miracle it would be if the demise of the Marsh Pride became the catalyst for serious dialogue and change as to how the Masai Mara is managed. The Governor of Narok County, the Honorable Samuel Ole Tunai, pledged to do just that when he called a Masai Mara Stakeholders Meeting in Nairobi in September 2015.

I attended that meeting and was impressed by the number of people who made the effort to come along and by the Governor’s openness to dialogue. Since then a small group of concerned individuals drawn from all walks of life have worked to support the Governor’s initiative.

We can only hope that we are about to witness tangible steps towards securing the future of this iconic landscape and its magnificent wildlife.

 

Paula Kahumbu writes: This is an edited version of an article written by Jonathan and Angela Scott and published on their blog on 7 December 2015. Jonathan and his wife Angie are award winning authors and internationally renowned wildlife photographers. My sincere thanks to Jonathan and Angela for permission to publish the article here.

Responding to a tip-off from visitors, the Kenya Wildlife Service and local authorities acted swiftly to bring the culprits to court, while the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and other local conservation organisations were prompt to treat the affected lions. But despite this veterinary support three lions have already died. At the time of writing, another four are still sick. The condition of others is not known.

Kenya has never before charged a person with poisoning wildlife, even though it is a frequent crime that has devastating effects on populations of lions, vultures and other predators.

However in this case the new Wildlife Crime Prosecution Unit has moved quickly to charge the suspects of this crime with offences against endangered wildlife species under Section 92 of the 2013 Wildlife Act, which could result in a fine of Ksh 20 million (USD 200,000) and/or life imprisonment.

This is another welcome sign that Kenyan courts are now taking wildlife crimes seriously. As Jonathan eloquently argues, this needs to be backed up by action to address the root causes of wildlife crime, inspired by the vision of a common future for people and wildlife

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/africa-wild/2015/dec/09/the-marsh-pride-end-of-an-era#_=_

GLOBAL MARCH FOR ELEPHANTS AND RHINOS, NAIROBI 2015

Cabinet Minister flags off the March

Cabinet Minister flags off the March

It was an outstanding event that really showed the world that Kenya is a country of wildlife lovers. The atmosphere was celebratory, there  were rangers, students, corporates, bikers, cyclists, roller bladers, vuvuzelas, Kenyan flags, placards reading “Fight Back” and “I am Justice for Wildlife, Are You?”.  Marchers of all ages and backgrounds participated including 4 year old Seya who celebrated her birthday by bringing her friends to the march and made a donation of 75 thousand towards 175 children going into Nairobi Park today (curtis of KWS). Representatives of several embassies were present including the Ambassador of Belgium Roxane de Bilderling and Bob Godec of USA.
Bikers leading the March

Bikers leading the March

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The Cabinet Secretary Prof Judi Wakhungu walked the entire 14 km which was the longest Global March  (it took place in over 150 cities around the world). The Kenyan marchwas also the biggest in terms of participation.  This year our theme was Justice for Wildlife and Judge Nzioki wa Makau made a speech on behalf of the Chief Justice in which he committed to strengthening the judicial response to wildlife crime.
Justice for Wildlife

Justice for Wildlife

 

shouting

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Prof. Wakhungu also spoke about redoubling efforts to work in cooperation with all stakeholders, and neighbouring countries. She was applauded for the results already achieved in Kenya, and reminded Kenyans that we could not be complacent. Just across the border 30 elephants are dying each day in Tanzania. We stand to lose too much if we do not stop the poachers.  She promised that Kenya will be taking some very strong positions at the upcoming CITES conference in South Africa next year to return all elephants to Appendix 1.
She applauded the US and Chinese governments for recent announcements to end domestic trade in ivory.
Roxane murgor godec paula roxane
US Ambassador Bob Godec spoke on behalf of the donor group and applauded Kenya’s efforts and committed to further support.
Peter Moll of Stand Up Shout Out spoke about the powerful role of the youth. Speaking for all NGO’s.  In my speech I congratulated the government for the successes achieved in the last 12 months which has seen poaching drop to very low levels, and suspected traffickers being prosecuted for the first time. I welcomed the cooperation between state and NGO’s and invited all participants to volunteer with the NGO’s and government to get more involved in conservation. She thanked the Nation Media Group for screening wildlife documentaries as an important contribution towards creating awareness and love for our heritage.
The speech that stole the crowd was 12 year old Luca Berardi, youth Ambassador of WildlifeDirect, who sent a powerful message to Asians “You don’t need ivory or rhino horn to prove your wealth, there are millions of other things that you can put on your mantle piece”.
Entertainments included a number of super performances and one dance that got us all off our seats feeling very happy.
The Global March in Nairobi was organized by WildlifeDirect, Stand Up Shout Out and KWS.
Photos courtesy of Megapixels

 

Press release: Lion Sculpture to Send Anti-poisoning Message

WildlifeDirect issued this press release on Thursday, 3 September 2009 after Dr Richard Leakey inaugurated the ‘Androcles Lion’ by appending his signature as support for the campaign against lion (and other wildlife) poisoning using carbofurans (Furadan). The release received audience among readers of Nairobi’s Capital FM’s site, was picked by AFP, and blogged about at the Big Cat News blog. I thought you should also have the opportunity to refer to it.

Nairobi, 3 September 2009 – Renowned Kenyan conservationist, Dr Richard Leakey, who is also the chairman of WildlifeDirect, today inaugurated the display of the WildlifeDirect lion statue that will be creating public awareness about poisoning of lions by cattle herders using Furadan. The lion statue, which is part of the Pride of Kenya campaign to create awareness about the status of, and to raise funds for, conservation of Kenya’s remaining 2,100 lions, will be on public display at Yaya Centre, a popular shopping mall in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.

On Tuesday, September 2, WildlifeDirect joined the Born Free Foundation in the official launch of the Pride of Kenya campaign at the Nairobi National Park. Integrated in this campaign to save the last lions of Kenya is the inauguration of WildlifeDirect’s call to have all carbofurans – especially Furadan, a lethal agricultural pesticide that is behind the death of 75 lions in the last 4 years – banned in Kenya.

With the life-sized lion statue christened The Androcles Lion as the centerpiece of their campaign, WildlifeDirect seeks to rally support from prominent Kenyans and the general public to have the deadly carbofuran class of pesticides banned from the Kenyan market by the Kenyan Parliament. The Androcles Lion, which is painted Fuchsia, the prominent colour on the retail packaging of the most used carbofuran in Kenya – Furadan – and with chains around it denoting bondage by these poisons, seeks to communicate the threat that carbofurans are posing to the survival of this charismatic species.

Prominent personalities such as Kenya’s renowned conservationist and anthropologist Dr Richard Leakey – who became the first person to endorse the campaign – UNEP Director Achim Steiner, Nobel Laureate Wangari Mathai among others, have been invited to show their support for the push to have Furadan banned in Kenya by inscribing a signed message supporting the ban on the body of the lion. The objective is to initiate public debate and support of the proposed ban such that Kenya’s Parliament will finally discuss the motion and eventually pass a law that makes it illegal to import, manufacture, repackage or sell this killer pesticide and anything else in it’s class.

Kenya’s lion population is declining at an alarming pace and climate change, habitat destruction and conflict with humans have been the key drivers for this precipitous fall in numbers. On Monday, August 17, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) announced that Kenya’s lion population has been declining by an average 100 animals per year in the last 7 years and now stands at a little over 2,000 individuals. In the 1970s there were about 30,000 lions in Kenya. Given the current decline rate, lions will become extinct in Kenya in just two decades. KWS spokesman Paul Udoto told the media on 17 August that “communities are the largest threat to the lions and other cats.”

It is through conservationists blogs hosted by WildlifeDirect that the widespread use of Furadan by cattle herders for retaliatory poisoning of lions suspected of killing livestock first came to the limelight. With increasing reports of lion and other predators as well as birds of prey and scavengers being poisoned using Furadan, WildlifeDirect convened, in 2007, a meeting to bring together affected conservationists and Furadan importation firms in order to chart a way forward in addressing this situation. The meeting resolved that a total ban on Furadan would be the best way to eliminate herders’ access to this lethal poison and thus reduce poisoning of lions. The Stop Wildlife Poisoning campaign was thus launched.

On 29 March this year, American broadcaster, CBS, aired a documentary showing the devastating effect that Furadan was having on Kenya’s lions. Following this documentary, and the information that WildlifeDirect had provided the Member of Parliament for Naivasha, Honourable John Mututho – who brought the issue to parliament – the question of banning Furadan was discussed in Parliament. Parliamentary recommendation was that a committee be formed to craft a notice that would, if integrated into law, make it illegal to import Furadan and other carbofurans into Kenya. The Honourable Minister for Wildlife and Natural Resources, Dr Noah Wekesa, instructed that that committee be formed.

With the distinctively pink lion with a mane covered with replica Kenyan currency notes, representing the greed that is driving the sales of a poison that has already been banned in the US and Europe WildlifeDirect will continue to drum up support to the member for Naivasha and all those parliamentarians who support banning the substance. WildlifeDirect’s quest is to end the poisoning of lions by herders using Furadan, and that is the message that the Androcles Lion will be sending as it goes on public display at Yaya Centre.

WildlifeDirect is a non-profit conservation organization based in Kenya that uses the internet to create awareness about conservation issues and to raise funds for conservation through Web Logs (blogs) written by field conservationists. WildlifeDirect endeavors to create a movement powerful enough to produce a virtual endowment capable of reversing the catastrophic loss of habitats and species. WildlifeDirect is Registered as a charity in the USA and in Kenya.

# # #

For more information and high-res pictures contact:
Samuel Maina [email protected]

Low res pictures of the inauguration by Dr Leakey are published in the Baraza blog http://baraza.wildlifedirect.org/2009/09/03/the-mighty-androcles-lion-comes-home/

To learn more about the Stop Wildlife Poisoning campaign go to http://stopwildlifepoisoning.wildlifedirect.org

The CBS 60 Minutes documentary can be found here
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/03/26/60minutes/main4894945.shtml

The Pride of Kenya campaign website is http://www.prideofkenya.co.ke/ and their blog here http://prideofkenya.wildlifedirect.org/

The Androcles lion tells the Furadan story

Kenya’s lions are in trouble. Over 30,000 lions once prowled the wildlands of Kenya, today only 2100 are left! About 70 lions die each year after eating carcasses laced with deadly pesticides.

So what has a pink lion got to do with conservation? Well, if you haven’t guessed it already – the poisoning of lions using the pesticide carbofuran (Furadan) is thought to be the main cause for the decline of our lions, and it could push Kenya’s tiny population over the brink and into extinction.

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The first thing you notice is that the Androcles lion is painted magenta pink.

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It’s the colour of the brand Furadan, which is made in USA by the firm FMC and is distributed by Juanco SPS in Kenya.

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Every lion in Kenya is estimated to be worth US$ 1 million. This is why the Androcles lions mane is made up of a thick layer of cash (photocopied money under permission from the Central Bank of Kenya). Money is also why lions are endangered, the commercial value of carbofuran is one of the main reaons why this dangerous poisonous product is being sold in Kenya. After realising that Furadan is killing lions, FMC said they have withdrawn Furadan from East Africa – but it’s still available in shops in Kenya and Uganda.

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The Androcles lion is bound in a silver chain, each link is labeled, with the impacts of the chain reaction caused by this pesticide. On farms it kills insects, which are eaten by rodents, birds and small mammals. Hippos, antelopes, cattle and other wildlife eat the crops covered in Furadan and when they die, vultures, hyenas and other scavengers eat the carcasses and in turn they get poisoned. Many animals die from deliberate poisoning including lions, eagles, wading birds, and animals deemed to be pests like baboons, moles, stray dogs and rats. Some birds and even fish are poisoned for human consumption – so Furadan also threatens humans. Dino Martins has told us that bees and many other valuable insects are especially vulnerable to this deadly pesticide.

Although carbofuran sold in Kenya, it is made in USA where its use has been banned there due to its deadly effects on wildlife. To break the chain we must ban carbouradan in Kenya, Africa and the world (Carbofuran is currently banned in the EU and the EPA has revoked all tolerances for carbofuran in USA).

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The Androcles lion will stand on a concrete base at the Yaya shopping center in Hurlingham just a stones throw from the offices of WidlifeDirect. The base will be covered in crushed purple glass, just like the purple granules of the pesticide. Carbofuran granules are purple but is hardly visible when sprinkled on a carcass. It has no taste or smell, it kills anything that eats the carcass, including lions, hyenas, jackals, and vultures. It only takes a few granules of Furadan sprinkled on a cow carcass to kill an entire pride of lions.

We owe so many people BIG thank you’s

  1. Peter Greste for taking the lovely photos
  2. The BBC Network Africa for airing the story on World News!
  3. David Mascal a lion lover like no other – for the roar – you’ll hear it soon!
  4. Boy Genius Tonee Ndungu who is creating something we can’t talk about yet
  5. Elizabeth Klem, MD of the Yaya Center who gratiously agreed to host the Androcles lion for the next 2 months
  6. The Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya who approved the wild idea of using photocopied Kenyan currency on the lions mane (yes it’s illegal without permission)
  7. The Card Center in Yaya for fabulous poster pens – we’ll tell you about those later
  8. John Muturi, Val Leakey and Mr Mwangi and all the Friends of the Nairobi City Park who initially offered to host the Androcles lion. It wasn’t possible this time – but perhaps next time?
  9. Jake Grieves Cook for donation of a prize – weekend for two at a luxury camp in Masai Mara – we’ll tell you about the raffle later
  10. Alice and Wanja of the Born Free Foundation for their patience and amazing tolerance – you guys are amazing

and most of all

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THANK YOU MARY COLLIS – an amazing Kenyan woman who worked 24/7 to get the Androcles Lion ready on time.

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More sneak peaks of fabulous painted lions

As the artists gear up to complete their lions, we’ve been sneaking in to get first impressions – well, here are three amazing lions I saw today.

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Here’s Butterflion and his creator – yes you guessed correctly, its our very own Dr Dudulittle, Dino Martins our resident entomologist who writes Dudu diaries. This lion sponsored by Kenya Data Networks (KDN) is a puzzle of butterflies and other bugs that children will have to find…Dino has hidden little gems like ticks in uncomfortable places..you’ll have to come see it Butterflion to understand

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Ole Simba is a mosaic lion being put together by these two absolutely lovely ladies (talk about gigantuan patience! It’s slow hard work)

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And Mr. Bones reveals the insides of the lion, sadly the artist, an apprentice with Nani Croze of Kitengela Glass was not there but her work is pretty amazing!

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His other side is totally different

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Pretty impressive aren’t they?

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The artists working at Kitengela on the edge of Nairobi National Park are especially motivated because the parks lions are in peril. These artists are busy working away to complete the lions by the big day – September 2nd which is the launch of the Pride of Kenya. It will take place at KWS head quarters and the 50 lions will be loaded onto trucks and taken to Uhuru Park in Nairobi’s city center. The KWS band is apparently going to play! It should be great fun.

Every one is very excited, Nairobi is certainly in for a very interesting experience.

If you want to participate but are not in Nairobi you can! Just send us a message or a promise to lions and we will make sure that it will be seen. You can also tell all your friends, share the information with your networks on Face book or Myspace, twitter etc, Send us ideas of activities that we can conduct during the next two months to inspire the world to care about lions.and if you have a spare dollar, send us a donation and we’ll use it for kids activities. If you don’t have a spare dollar, why not send a letter to someone you know who will sponsor this event? If you’d like to know more about how you can help, email me on [email protected] I really look forward to hearing from you

To follow the event Pride of Kenya please visit our blog “Pride of Kenya“. The event is a collaboration between The Born Free Foundation and a British organization called Wild in Art (remember Go Elephants in Norwich, or Superlambbanana in Liverpool…well Pride of Kenya is part of that series).

 There are only 2100 lions left in Kenya – help us save them, Donate now

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Pride of Kenya: We Have a Lion

We are bringing the Pride of Kenya to life!

pride lion
The making of the Pride: lion statues at Kuona Trust, Nairobi

We have partnered with the Born Free Foundation in Kenya to raise funds for lion conservation. Our campaign will focus on ending lion poisoning using Furadan. The centrepiece for this campaign will be a life-sized lion statue made of fibre glass. But it is much more exciting than that!

There shall be fifty such lions in different locations in Kenya forming the campaign which has been named the Pride of Kenya. Each a plain canvas for artists to create their masterpieces on. Our lion will be at our office in Nairobi, Kenya, where it will be in display before and after it gets its beautiful artwork.

Then, in November, all the lions will come out of their dens and prowl the streets of Nairobi followed by an auction in which each lion will be sold to the highest bidder. Proceeds from the sale of each statue will go directly to lion conservation work. The Pride of Kenya will be all in the same place at the same time. I can’t wait for that! But, first things first: we need to make our lion the best looking lion of them all. We need artwork.

This is where you come in. We need ideas for the art we shall create on this ‘canvas’.  I know you have lots of ideas. Send them to us. We are thinking that it would be great if we could send a global message about lion conservation with our lion. You can be as creative as you want. You can even suggest modification of the lion – as long as it still looks like a lion. But we cannot put advertising. No logos.

You can start sending your suggestions now. We have to ‘pimp’ our lion by the end of August.

A few lines about lions

The lion is the fabled kings of the jungle. But lions are losing their kingdom. Lions are virtually extinct outside of Africa except for the 80 or so ‘Gir’ lions that remain in India. Kenya has lost 90% of its lion population most of which has been lost in the last 20 years. There are now only 2100 lions left in Kenya.

Recently, Kenya lost an estimated 75 lions to poisoning – mostly by Furadan. The Kenya wildlife Service estimates that more than 200 lions have been killed in this recent period due to intolerance followed by killings through poisoning and spearing. Lion habitat is also shrinking. Human-lion conflict is also quite high due to human invasion into lion territory.

The Maasai community are best known for their warrior skills. They are also famous for co-existing with wildlife for millennia. They however have never tolerated lions mostly because – I believe – the lions prey on their cattle. To become a moran (warrior) the young Maasai man has been required to kill a lion. A group of progressive morans have refused to kill lions and have become Lion Guardians. This is one of the groups we support and they are now preaching the message of tolerance and value of lions. We also have the Stop Wildlife Poisoning Campaign against Furadan and other poisons.

Pride of Lions
Some lions of the Tara Pride monitored by Lion Guardians

Lions are the most valuable species for Kenya’s tourism – the number one foreign income generator for the country. Kenya cannot afford to lose the lion.

Who’s involved?

Kenya was home to Elsa – the star of the Born Free movie series written by Joy Adamson and acted by Virginia McKenna. Virginia’s son Will runs the Born Free Foundation. It’s their 25th year anniversary in November hence the timing of this event. Virginia will come to Kenya for the auction.

The Kenyan business community is quite excited about the idea and some have taken up their own fibre glass lions. With your help, ours will still be the best.

Get involved

You want to get involved? You can send us a design suggestion for the artwork that will be interpreted by a Nairobi-based artist on the lion ‘canvas’. But we also need to raise funds. So you can donate here (look out for the Pride of Kenya donation item). We need to raise at least US$25,000 for this particular lion. If you suggest a design, you can support it with your donation of any amount. The higher the donation the better the lion will like you.

Here is more excitement: We need to name our lion. Do you have a name for him? Suggest a name and support your name suggestion with a donation. Who says you can’t have fun while saving lions?