In this series of blog posts, we want to give you an in depth and personal look at some of the work of our Simba Scouts that work in the field, tracking and protecting the lions of Kuku Group Ranch.
HOW THE MWCT TEAM SUCCESSFULLY COLLARED A LIONESS, NAISOLA:
Our Maasai warrior and Simba Scouts Co-ordinator, David Kanai shares his experience on June 16th:
“It was on a Saturday morning and I went out to prepare my day for lion tracking. I called my team of Simba Scouts for a briefing and divided ourselves into 5 different groups of two to cover more ground and ensure the collaring was successful. Myself and one simba scout covered Kuku plains and the Kuku dry river, we took almost the entire day tracking and after some time we decided to head into the Kuku river where we also decided to quench our thirst by taking a sip from the river. Afterwards, we found some lion tracks and concluded that the tracks we found were old, so we continued for several hours and we finally found fresh tracks and knew that there were a pride of lions that were drinking from the same river. It was hard for us to locate the exact location of the lions so we decided to leave the river and call the rest of the team to find out if they had better results. Two groups were successful and also found fresh tracks and decided to meet at iltilal village to discuss further the way forward. The fresh tracks from the other two groups were from lions that were already collared so we made the decision to station the call-out for the collaring that evening in the same area I was tracking, Kuku plains. We organised to leave with the MWCT team and the KWS Mobile Veterinary Unit around 430pm and located a good place to station a call-out. After 45mins of calling, two lioness responded and showed up in the area, from there the team moved quickly and darted one of the lioness and efficiently collared her, naming her Naisola which means “winner” in Maa. Both the MWCT team and KWS Mobile Veterinary Unit stayed with Naisola until she woke up from her sleep and walked back into the wilderness on her own. “
The collaring mission was also a great teaching opportunity for the 50+ students from Naisula and Skagerak International School that MWCT HQ hosted. They participated and learned about every aspect of our programs, as we hoped to inspire the next generation of leaders! The entire team all worked together to make this happen for the students and we couldn’t be happier to be able to create such an unforgettable educational moment for them and their teachers. They all had a very brief moment in groups with the MWCT team and the lioness to ask questions and take photos at the permission of the Veterinary Unit while the team took the biometrics. After the students had a chance to observe, they headed back to MWCT HQ while the MWCT team and KWS Mobile Veterinary Unit stayed until Naisola had woken up from her sleep and was stable enough to be left alone back in the wild to meet up with the rest of her pride.
Note: The blue painted spots on the lioness is an antiseptic treatment that is sprayed on any wounds found by the Veterinarian. MWCT has been collaring lions for several years and work as quick and respectfully as possible to not cause any unnecessary stress on the animal. The collar transmits extremely useful information for the protection of lions within the area. This is temporary as our ultimate goal is once we have learned and created a full tolerance through our Wildlife Pays Compensation Program, we envision not having the need to collar lions any longer.