Rift Valley Project
Wildlife-human conflict, disease, poaching, and illegal wildlife trade have seriously impacted the lion’s chance for survival. The Rift Valley Lion Project is conducting a lion population census, estimating prey species abundance, examining lion dispersal, and assessing biodiversity in locations such as Massai Mara.
Wildlife Biologist Tina Ramme and Dr Jonathon White, veterinarian from Scotland, take samples from a tranquilized lion.
The overall goal of this project is to understand dispersal among lions. Only with regional samples can we determine the provenience of lion populations outside protected habitats. Do these areas represent self-sustaining populations or are they “sinks”, with park populations representing the source?
The project is working to determine the current distribution and relative abundance of lions, to restore and establish continuous, suitable habitat across neighboring districts and international boundaries, and to develop and implement culturally defined community conservation initiatives and education programs with indigenous tribal populations of pastoralist communities with whom lions share habitat. It also serves as a comparative study of mane variation in lions with the Tsavo Lion Project and contributes to understanding lion variation across habitat types.
Human-lion conflict issues
It’s urgent to find a way for humans and wildlife to co-exist. This program trains and employs a number of Kenyan and Massai participants, works with a range of collaborative partners within Kenya, and provides conservation education and capacity-building programs to local residents. We are committed to using the knowledge of indigenous peoples who have shared habitat with lions and other wildlife for centuries to develop culturally-defined, community-based conservation programs that are self-sustaining and self-regulating.