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Chalisa Proves that Lion Populations in Northern Kenya are Still Connected

February 03, 2017

Colleagues at Ewaso Lions in northern Kenya have reported that a young male lion that was last seen in November 2013 in Samburu has been sighted here at Lewa.

Lewa, with partners Marwell Wildlife, have been working closely to establish strong monitoring tools for large carnivore conservation on the conservancy and its surrounding landscape. Mary Mwololo, Lewa's Research Manager, noticed that a new male lion had appeared last month and shared photos, which Ewaso Lions were able to compare against their own records from further north in the rangeland.

Using whisker spot pattern identification, they confirmed that the male was indeed known and had been named, Chalisa, meaning "Polite" in the Borana language. Chalisa, who was last seen in Buffalo Springs National Reserve, some 50 km distant as the crow flies, now provides support for the theory that populations of wildlife in the northern Kenya rangelands and Laikipia are still connected. We are excited by this news and appreciate the collaboration with our partners Ewaso Lions, Marwell Wildlife, Lion Landscapes and the surrounding communities to ensure continued movement of lions through this landscape.

Recently, our Research Team tracked down the elusive lion and fixed a GPS-enabled collar to enable us track his movements across the landscape. This will help us establish his patterns and movement routes and create a better understanding of lion behaviour and dynamics on Lewa, the neighbouring communities and beyond. 

Occasionally, Chalisa joins one of the female groups that range north-west of the Conservancy, but it seems that this adventurous lion is fond of solitude.