BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Travel Special -

Li­ons are in trou­ble. Though pop­u­la­tion es­ti­mates vary widely – from fewer than 20,000 to more than 30,000 – ev­ery­one is agreed that the species is de­clin­ing, and that loss of prey and in­dis­crim­i­nate killing to pro­tect peo­ple and live­stock are the key causes.

The lion-track­ing pro­gramme at Ol Pe­jeta Con­ser­vancy aims to demon­strate that li­ons and hu­mans, cat­tle and goats can live side by side. Us­ing ra­dio-col­lars, con­ser­va­tion­ists are es­tab­lish­ing the core ter­ri­to­ries of four lionesses, help­ing them un­der­stand which ar­eas the cats use most – and, there­fore, where not to graze the valu­able live­stock.

And – here’s the fun part – guests can be­come the track­ers them­selves, there­fore help­ing the con­ser­vancy keep tabs on their li­ons through­out the year. “Lion track­ing has helped to free up ar­eas that would oth­er­wise have been kept off lim­its be­cause of li­ons, thus cre­at­ing more space for live­stock,” says Paul Gold­stein, who runs trips to Ol Pe­jeta for Ex­o­dus. “It also helps bring har­mony be­tween tourist fa­cil­i­ties and pas­toral­ists.”

Kicheche Laikipia Camp, Ol Pe­jeta Con­ser­vancy

Num­bers of African li­ons may have fallen by 50 per cent since 1980 – but you can help con­serve the Kenyan pop­u­la­tion.

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