Kope Lion Ngorongoro
The lion – a symbol of wild Africa - is threatened. Across much of Africa, lions are in dramatic decline. Now, even the world’s most iconic king of the beasts – the Ngorongoro lions – are in danger.
This is Kope Lion
Kope Lion strives to foster human-lion coexistence in Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Here intensifying human-wildlife conflicts has been tough on the lions. In the last decades, the lions have begun to disappear entirely from their former ranges, separating the famous Ngorongoro Crater lions from the Serengeti. The area’s mission for harmonious coexistence is collapsing, with both people and wildlife losing out. Kope Lion was founded in 2011 with the aim to change this trend. By working directly with residents, KopeLion strives for sustainable human-lion coexistence in Ngorongoro for the benefit of both people and lions.
Kope Lion, comprised of local experts and international scientists, employs former lion hunters to actively protect the remaining lions and reduce conflicts. Our work builds upon data collected over the last 50 years, representing the best-known, best-studied lions in the world. This offers the unique opportunity to measure the effects of our efforts on a population of lions, studied for generations.
Lions – global situation
Lions across most of Africa are threatened. Rapid decline and the breaking up of larger populations into smaller isolated and more vulnerable ones puts Africa’s top predator’s future at risk. While lion numbers show positive trends in certain protected areas in Southern Africa, those populations are intensely managed and divided up into many smaller semi-artificial fenced-in reserves. Like other large carnivores, the lion needs large and ecologically functioning landscapes for its long-term survival. The growing demands from increasing human populations, rapidly eats away at those landscapes. This loss of habitat is the main cause for our recent century’s dramatic decline in lions. Where lions still co-exist with people, their main threat is persecution resulting from human-lion conflicts.
Maasai and their livestock wandered into this area around 200 years ago. They pushed off the Datooga, also known as Barabaig, who remain as a minority in the east and south of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Both peoples are traditional pastoralists, living almost solely on their livestock, which they revere above anything else. Traditionally, these pastoralists were nomadic, moving with their livestock in a continuous search for grass and water. They have since become more settled as they are now obliged to attend school or require regular services of health clinics. Additionally, these peoples have less available space as their populations increase within the limited landscape of NCA.
Maasai are the best known of the ethnic groups in Ngorongoro, and today they make up 98% of the resident population. The remaining 2 % are Datooga, in addition to very few Hadzabe families who live on the very edge of Ngorongoro by Lake Eyasi.