An innovative project, which employs 32 non-literate Maasai warriors in Kenya as community conservationists and field biologists, has won this year’s St Andrews Prize for the Environment.
The Lion Guardians have created an entrepreneurial solution through employment and empowering communities to conserve lions as a long-term livelihood strategy. The programme includes literacy training for the Maasai, mitigating lion-livestock conflict, monitoring lion populations by combining traditional and modern tracking with local participation, preventing lion killing and naming of the lions by the Maasai.
At a ceremony in the University of St Andrews on Wednesday, Dr Leela Hazzah, director and Founder of the Lion Guardians team, was presented with the winning prize of $100,000 USD.
She told the Citizen: ‘‘I am delighted - this money will cover the core costs of the programme, which are the backbone of our organisation. We will continue to develop and improve the educational, technical and communications elements of each site, ensuring they have a customised programme to fit their specific needs.’’