by Fredrick Mwange
juli 10, 2019

While you wonder at the incredible wildlife in the Ngorongoro crater and the beauty of its large landscape, at the lions with their golden eyes looking more massive than you had imagined, stop to consider those who live as their neighbors and how they manage to co-exist.

Lions of Ngorongoro. Photo credit: Kope Lion Lions of Ngorongoro. Photo credit: Kope Lion

 

Ngorongoro is unique in that it blends wildlife together with the Maasai, Datoga and Hadzabe tribes that live in the area. Of course, it’s not easy, especially when making a living for most is through pastoralism. For the lion of the crater highlands, together with other predators, livestock is an easy target and there’s plenty of great places to hide.

Additionally, lion killing is traditionally seen as the ultimate show of bravery for the Maasai warriors, earning you a lifetime of respect and admiration.

Working together with the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority is the Korongoro People’s Lion Project, or Kope Lion as its more usually referred to. Kope Lion work together with twenty Ilchokuti, or Lion Guardians, well respected members of their community who track the lions on the ground daily to warn the herders where the lion are in their vicinity, preventing unnecessary conflict. They also assist to find lost livestock, and to repair and strengthen the fences protecting the livestock at night.

Ilchokutis of Ngorongoro - tracking lion on the ground. Photo credit: Kopelion Ilchokutis of Ngorongoro - tracking lion on the ground. Photo credit: Kopelion
Ilchokuti in the vast expanse of Ngorongoro. Photo credit: Kope Lion Ilchokuti in the vast expanse of Ngorongoro. Photo credit: Kope Lion

 

Without killing the lion these warriors still earn their respect from their community, working bravely and tirelessly to protect their communities and the lion they share their history with.

Building upon a 50-year study of the Ngorongoro lion population, Kope Lion measures and shares their knowledge and the impacts of their efforts on the lions’ population dynamics and tries to understand the human lion conflicts better to enable them to better mitigate.

Kimani. Photo credit: Kope Lion Kimani. Photo credit: Kope Lion

 

Ask your Shadows of Africa guide for more information on Kope Lion and while you watch them, appreciate a little while longer these magnificent beasts, their neighbours and the brave Ilchokuti.

Book a trip to Ngorongoro Crater now through Shadows of Africa

 

 

This entry was posted in Safari Diary and tagged Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Big 5, Hadzabe bushmen.
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