Sosian have worked with Lion Landscapes since its conception and have developed a strong working relationship when it comes to lion conservation in Laikipia.
The goal of Lion Landscapes is to secure a landscape that supports a viable population of wild lions, or any other pinnacle carnivore species. To do this it must also support healthy wild prey populations, healthy habitat, and be successfully addressing poaching and conflict issues between people and large carnivores.
There are approximately 20,000 wild lions in Africa today, down from 200,000 a century ago
Sosian assist Lion Landscapes in identifying key lions and lioness’ that would be beneficial to monitor for the wider community. We know from experience that collaring helps protect lions and livestock by giving us and other livestock owners data on the lion’s movements.
The most recent #collaringforcoexistance in our area, was earlier this year, when 2 lioness’ were identified as key pride members to monitor. Their names are Narok and Labai. Labai was named after a stretch of river on Sosian, and true to her name this lioness is often found in this area.
Following a gestation period of four months, Labai retreated into thick, impenetrable habitat to give birth, keeping her cubs hidden for up to six weeks. As a result, we are usually unaware of when a female has had cubs. However, the GPS maps we download from her collar each morning onto the Save the Elephants app allowed us an insight into the intimate details of where she has been and also what she had likely been doing.
Due to the GPS maps showing her movements we were able to be especially vigilant for a hungry lioness with small cubs as this time, isolated from pride life, is when lionesses are more likely to resort to taking livestock!
Thomas, the senior research assistant at Lion Landscapes was able to see the cubs early on, counting how many were born providing valuable information on cub survival. At birth the cubs weigh around 1.5kg (3 lbs.) and their eyes do not start opening until day three. They remain fully dependent on their mother until they are weaned after 6-8 months.
Labai has raised 2 cubs who are now 3 months old. She has joined 2 other unknown females who have another 2 sub-adults with them. To date we have never seen a mature male with them, but of course they are never far away. Labai and her small pride are seen regularly on Sosian and we are getting to know each of them very well. The youngsters are very confident and inquisitive, giving us wonderful photographic interactions.
We are incredibly happy to see new life in these prides ensuring stability in their populations, which makes for fewer human / wildlife conflicts.