Exchange among lion conservationists: Workshop with the CLAWS organisation

lion protection Botswana

The newly formed SAVE Lion Ranger team had the opportunity to benefit from the knowledge and experience of the lion conservationists of CLAWS for one week. CLAWS has been working for many years in Botswana to solve the farmer-predator conflict. The exchange was so fruitful because both SAVE and CLAWS have the same goal: namely, the peaceful coexistence of humans and lions in so-called wildlife conflict areas.

As part of the SAVE project “SAVE Lions – Living with Lions”, the lion conservationists from CLAWS first showed the SAVE team how they build a boma. This is a movable kraal, usually made of thorny branches of the camel thorn tree, into which the cattle are driven every night.
This spiky enclosure is impenetrable to lions and other predators, so the cattle herd is well protected from predator attacks.

A boma has another advantage: the regular cow dung fertilises the barren soil. The grass grows better, which in turn means high-quality food for the cows.

The workshop continued with the question of what farmers can do for healthy livestock. The CLAWS staff trained the Lion Rangers in the non-violent handling of the animals and gave them tips on how to examine them without stress. The rangers can now pass on this knowledge to local pastoralists.

Healthy animals are a small building block in capacity development, in which SAVE aims to create sustainable sources of income for the rural poor.
This effort is already being rewarded: Some lodges have joined forces and agreed to preferentially buy meat from local farmers.

At the end of the seven-day workshop, lion researcher Botilo Tshimologo from CLAWS explained to the SAVE Lion Rangers how to track and locate a transmittered lion using a transmitter, antenna and GPS coordinates. In the future, the plan is to identify lions before they approach a village and kill the lot.

All these are many small steps that serve the one goal: to empower the local population and at the same time protect the lions and other predators from being shot.

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