Dr. Shivani Bhalla is a fourth generation Kenyan Indian who grew up going on safaris with her family, which nurtured her obsessionwith wildlife. Her passion has always been big cats, in particular, Cheetahs. When Dr. Bhalla moved to Samburu to research cheetahs for her master’s project. But she never saw any cheetahs. Instead, she saw lions that tended to be solitary or in pairs, which piqued her interest because she was only familiar with seeing lions in large prides as a child.
Dr. Bhalla was soon curious to learn more about the lion population and decided to create Ewaso Lions in 2007, a nonprofit dedicated to conserving lions and other large carnivores by promoting coexistence between people and wildlife.
Africa’s lion population has declined by some 90 percent over the past 75 years, primarily due to loss of habitat and human-animal conflict. In Kenya, there are fewer than 2,000 lions left. Ewaso Lions took a community-based conservation approach where they work hand-in-hand with local communities - Samburu warriors, women and children - to provide education, training and improved conservation practices that help people and wildlife.
One of the ways in which Ewaso Lions collaborates with local communities is through Warrior Watch, which is a group of Samburu warriors who conduct daily patrols around the region to prevent lions coming in contact with herders and their livestock
“They themselves really understand what it is like to lose livestock to carnivores, they can empathize with the person who has lost his cow or camel, and they are able to really convince them why it’s important not to retaliate.”
Because of Ewaso Lion, Shivani, and the Samburu Warriors, nearly 100s of lion killings have been ceased.
Ewaso Lions, Shivani and the Samburu Warriors are a powerhouse in lion conservation. From the intricacies of funding conservation, to Kenyan Indian conservation, to her hopes of the future, this week's episode is one you don’t want to miss.
About Dr. Shivani Bhalla:
Born and raised in Kenya, Shivani believes the key to lion conservation is working in partnership with local communities. She founded Ewaso Lions in 2007 to promote coexistence between carnivores and people. Together with her team, she works with Samburu communities to reduce livestock loss to carnivores, and monitors the existing lion population within the Samburu-Isiolo landscape in northern Kenya.
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