Lion Tales: On-the-Ground Stories of Lion Conservation

Communications and Outreach Manager
African People & Wildlife
African People & Wilding logo icon
Male and female lions in northern Tanzania
Laly Lichtenfeld/African People & Wildlife

Across the expansive landscapes of Tanzania, the African lion faces a challenging reality. As these iconic keystone species fight to survive, it’s clear that the futures of lions and humans are intricately intertwined. Lion conservation is both a story of big cats and the people who live alongside them.

The survival of lions depends on a delicate balance of factors. Preserving and restoring their natural habitats, reducing human-wildlife conflicts, and supporting the livelihoods of local communities are all pieces of this complex puzzle. A changing climate further exacerbates these challenges, necessitating innovative and long-term lion conservation approaches that bridge the gap between wildlife and human wellbeing.

Telling the Stories of Lion Conservation

While saving lions requires collective responsibility and shared understanding, the reasons people have for taking action can be deeply personal. To help share different perspectives, African People & Wildlife storyteller Emily Paul spoke with our team and community members who have been impacted by our programs.

These "Lion Tales'' offer a glimpse into the complex lives of lions in Tanzania and the dedicated individuals working to protect them. Hear from Laly Lichtenfeld, APW’s Co-founder and CEO, as well as David Castico and Yamat Lengai, staff members on the ground in Tanzania. Listen to the experience of Lamayani Kimisho, a livestock herder living anxiously alongside lions, and Isaya Mollel, a Warrior for Wildlife committed to mitigating conflicts and promoting peaceful coexistence between rural communities and wildlife.

We hope you enjoy each story and come away with a more vivid understanding of what it means to protect lions and support the people who live in places where lions still roam.

Lion Tales: Laly Lichtenfeld, Ph.D.

Laly Lichtenfeld, Ph.D, is the Co-founder and CEO of African People & Wildlife. For more than 20 years, she has dedicated her life to co-creating win-win solutions for lions and those who live in the shared landscapes where big cats roam free. Learn about the biggest threats that lions face today and why she still has hope for their future in Tanzania. Plus, hear about one of the many lions – a large male named Alaraikoni – who captured her heart!

Lion Tales: David Castico

Meet David Castico, a Tanzanian conservationist with a passion ignited by watching “The Lion King” as a child. Today, as a Human-Wildlife Conflict Prevention Program Officer at African People & Wildlife, he's turning cinematic inspiration into reality. David helps oversee the response to human-wildlife conflicts and collaborates with communities to promote coexistence. His dedication blends movie magic with conservation action!

Lion Tales: Lamayani Kimisho

From his home in the northern Tanzania village of Kimotorok, Lamayani Kimisho watches and waits for lions. Maasai livestock keepers like Lamayani can feel helpless as big cats hunt near their homesteads, losing sleep at night as they worry about losing cattle to hungry carnivores. Hear Lamayani talk about protecting his livelihood while living alongside lions, and learn why it’s essential to find solutions that work for both people and lions – especially for communities on the edge of wildlife-rich national parks.

No items found.
No items found.

Lion Tales: Yamat Lengai

Yamat Lengai's path from fearing lions as a young Maasai child to a fierce advocate for their preservation is an inspiring transformation. Working on our Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning, and Adaptation (MELA) team, she now empowers communities with critical wildlife insights. Listen as Yamat shares her journey, harnessing her once-fears into coexistence solutions like Living Walls.

Lion Tales: Isaya Mollel

APW’s Warriors for Wildlife program promotes coexistence, provides education, and supports livestock herders as they secure their livelihoods alongside lions and other carnivores. Join us in Simanjiro District with Isaya Mollel, a Warrior for Wildlife program assistant, as he describes the changes he’s witnessed in rural communities that are saving lions from retaliatory killings.


➤ Share Your #LionTales2023 Story

Are you lucky enough to have had a memorable experience with lions? Or perhaps you've been inspired by their power, beauty, and tenacity? For World Lion Day on August 10th, share your special lion connection and photos on social media using #LionTales2023. Let your family, friends, and followers know why African lion conservation matters to you.

➤ Donate to Protect Lions Now

Your support fosters peaceful coexistence between communities and lions in Tanzania, reducing conflicts that result in lion deaths, protecting big cat habitat, and supporting the human livelihoods that depend on these shared landscapes. Make a gift to support our programs!

No items found.
No items found.