KopeLion – Korongoro People’s Lion Initiative
With the goal of developing and implementing a sustainable model for positive coexistence between resident pastoralists and lions in Ngorongoro, this initiative is long overdue (and extremely important for both parties, especially the lions).
KopeLion, Korongoro People’s Lion Initiative, is a collaboration between lion researchers and the people of Ngorongoro, Tanzania. Our goal is to develop and implement a sustainable model for positive coexistence between resident pastoralists and lions in Ngorongoro. Acknowledging the efforts needed to reach such goal, KopeLion is based on-site and we aim for long-term commitment in the area and with the people we partner with.
Long-term lion monitoring
Our work expands and builds upon Serengeti Lion Project’s unique, long-term dataset on lions from the Ngorongoro Crater, including family histories and population genetics, reaching back to 1962. Now our lion research also covers resident prides at the Serengeti border, and the few lions that still persist in the central section of Ngorongoro linking the Crater with nearby Serengeti. With access to the detailed lion data-set we have a rare opportunity to measure the effects of our lion conservation efforts on the vitality of the lion population.
Beyond lion research
Since 2011 our focus has gone beyond lion research and expanded to community conservation because we believe local engagement is paramount to the continued existence of lions in this landscape. We employ local warriors, many of them former lion killers, for culturally appropriate duties in lion monitoring and protection, livestock-wildlife interaction surveys, and in direct conflict mitigation. Our work is inspired by the Lion Guardians Ltd., and with them as partners we implemented their model here in 2014, adapted to the Ngorongoro conditions. We now have positive collaboration with local communities that have embraced our efforts, becoming the foremost ambassadors for lions.
Partners, sponsors, supporters and collaborators:
Lion Guardians Ltd, National Geographic Big Cats initiative, Panthera, Serengeti Lion Project, Swedish Research Council, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Dept. of Wildlife & environmental studies, NABU, Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority, Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute, TAWIRI, Ndutu Safari Lodge, Lake Masek Tented Camp, Crater Lodge
FOUNDER: Ingela Jansson
Ingela began working with lions for Serengeti Lion Project in 2006. In 2011, by engaging Ngorongoro community members, she expanded the long-term lion survey, founding KopeLion. Ingela leads KopeLion's operations and research, while also tackling a PhD on the lion-human coexistence theme at SLU university in Umeå, Sweden.
Courtesy: Kope Lion