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Lion patrol: Learning to share the savannah with big animals

Updated : 2019-10-09 13:12:13

More than 50 lion monitors from communities on the Maasai Steppe conduct daily patrols to help shepherds shield their cattle in pasture, with support and training from a small, Tanzanian nonprofit called African People and Wildlife . Over the past decade, this group has helped more than a thousand extended households to build secure modern corrals made of living acacia trees and chain-link fence to protect their livestock at night.

A young male lion yawns as he wakes up in Tanzania's Tarangire National Park. Across Africa, the number of lions has dropped by more than 40 percent in two decades _ putting lions on the list of species scientists consider
A young male lion yawns as he wakes up in Tanzania's Tarangire National Park. Across Africa, the number of lions has dropped by more than 40 percent in two decades _ putting lions on the list of species scientists consider "vulnerable" to extinction. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
A young lion climbs down a tree in Tanzania's Tarangire National Park. Within the boundaries of Tanzania’s Tarangire National Park, lions sleep on open river banks and dangle from tree branches _ they are, after all, cats _ often ignoring the squadrons of open-top safari tour vehicles passing by. Here, they are mostly safe. But the protected area of the park is only a portion of the land that these lions and their prey depend upon. Large migratory animals range widely, and on the parched savannahs of eastern Africa, they mostly follow the rains. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
A young lion climbs down a tree in Tanzania's Tarangire National Park. Within the boundaries of Tanzania’s Tarangire National Park, lions sleep on open river banks and dangle from tree branches _ they are, after all, cats _ often ignoring the squadrons of open-top safari tour vehicles passing by. Here, they are mostly safe. But the protected area of the park is only a portion of the land that these lions and their prey depend upon. Large migratory animals range widely, and on the parched savannahs of eastern Africa, they mostly follow the rains. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
A lion rests in a tree as an elephant walks by in Tanzania's Tarangire National Park. Across Africa, the number of lions has dropped by more than 40 percent in two decades _ putting lions on the list of species scientists consider
A lion rests in a tree as an elephant walks by in Tanzania's Tarangire National Park. Across Africa, the number of lions has dropped by more than 40 percent in two decades _ putting lions on the list of species scientists consider "vulnerable" to extinction. Lions have disappeared from 94 percent of the lands they used to roam in Africa, what researchers call their "historic range." (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Lions rest under a tree in Tanzania's Tarangire National Park. The survival of lions _ and many other threatened savannah species, from cheetahs to giraffes to elephants _ likely depends on finding a way for people, livestock and wild beasts to continue to use these lands together, on the plains where the earliest humans walked upright through tall grass. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Lions rest under a tree in Tanzania's Tarangire National Park. The survival of lions _ and many other threatened savannah species, from cheetahs to giraffes to elephants _ likely depends on finding a way for people, livestock and wild beasts to continue to use these lands together, on the plains where the earliest humans walked upright through tall grass. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Maasai tribesmen laugh in the village of Loibor Siret, Tanzania. It is one of the few places left on Earth where coexistence between humans and wild animals may still be possible, but it's a precarious balance. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Maasai tribesmen laugh in the village of Loibor Siret, Tanzania. It is one of the few places left on Earth where coexistence between humans and wild animals may still be possible, but it's a precarious balance. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
This picture shows the village of Narakauwo, Tanzania. Over the past decade, more than a thousand households have built secure modern corrals _ made of living acacia trees and chain-link fence _ to protect their animals at night. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
This picture shows the village of Narakauwo, Tanzania. Over the past decade, more than a thousand households have built secure modern corrals _ made of living acacia trees and chain-link fence _ to protect their animals at night. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Maasai tribesmen hang out in the village of Loibor Siret, Tanzania. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Maasai tribesmen hang out in the village of Loibor Siret, Tanzania. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Shepherds return their livestock to their village near Loibor Siret, Tanzania. On the elevated plains of northern Tanzania, pastoralists have long lived alongside wildlife: grazing their cows, goats and sheep on the same broad savannahs where zebras, buffalo and giraffe munch grass and leaves, and where lions, leopards and hyenas stalk these wild beasts. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Shepherds return their livestock to their village near Loibor Siret, Tanzania. On the elevated plains of northern Tanzania, pastoralists have long lived alongside wildlife: grazing their cows, goats and sheep on the same broad savannahs where zebras, buffalo and giraffe munch grass and leaves, and where lions, leopards and hyenas stalk these wild beasts. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
A herd of buffalos in Tanzania's Tarangire National Park. On the elevated plains of northern Tanzania, pastoralists have long lived alongside wildlife: grazing their cows, goats and sheep on the same broad savannahs where zebras, buffalo and giraffe munch grass and leaves _ and where lions, leopards and hyenas stalk these wild beasts. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
A herd of buffalos in Tanzania's Tarangire National Park. On the elevated plains of northern Tanzania, pastoralists have long lived alongside wildlife: grazing their cows, goats and sheep on the same broad savannahs where zebras, buffalo and giraffe munch grass and leaves _ and where lions, leopards and hyenas stalk these wild beasts. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Saitoti Petro, brushes his teeth with a stick before taking his herd to the fields in the village of Narakauwo, Tanzania. Petro says the problem now is that there are too few lions, not too many. “It will be shameful if we kill them all,” he says. “It will be a big loss if our future children never see lions.” And so he’s joined an effort to protect lions, by safeguarding domestic animals on which they might prey. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Saitoti Petro, brushes his teeth with a stick before taking his herd to the fields in the village of Narakauwo, Tanzania. Petro says the problem now is that there are too few lions, not too many. “It will be shameful if we kill them all,” he says. “It will be a big loss if our future children never see lions.” And so he’s joined an effort to protect lions, by safeguarding domestic animals on which they might prey. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Saitoti Petro photographs a lion print near the village of Loibor Siret, Tanzania. Petro is one of more than 50 lion monitors from communities on the Maasai Steppe who walk daily patrol routes to help shepherds guard their livestock in pasture. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Saitoti Petro photographs a lion print near the village of Loibor Siret, Tanzania. Petro is one of more than 50 lion monitors from communities on the Maasai Steppe who walk daily patrol routes to help shepherds guard their livestock in pasture. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Saitoti Petro, centre wearing blue, tracks lions near the village of Loibor Siret, Tanzania. Petro is one of more than 50 lion monitors from communities on the Maasai Steppe who walk daily patrol routes to help shepherds shield their cattle in pasture, with support and training from a small, Tanzanian nonprofit called African People and Wildlife. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Saitoti Petro, centre wearing blue, tracks lions near the village of Loibor Siret, Tanzania. Petro is one of more than 50 lion monitors from communities on the Maasai Steppe who walk daily patrol routes to help shepherds shield their cattle in pasture, with support and training from a small, Tanzanian nonprofit called African People and Wildlife. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Saitoti Petro holds a cow before taking his herd to the fields in the village of Narakauwo, Tanzania. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Saitoti Petro holds a cow before taking his herd to the fields in the village of Narakauwo, Tanzania. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
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