Lion Guardians

From a site-based project to a strategic organization

Maliasili has provided critical organizational development support and structure when it was  needed most, in-kind communication coaching,  and incredible networking opportunities and  helped us think outside the box about traditional  conservation funds.
— Dr. Leela Hazzah, Executive Director of Lion Guardians
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About Lion Guardians | visit website

Lion Guardians turns people who once killed lions into lion protectors. Their model blends local communities’ traditional knowledge with world-class science. With a >90% average reduction in lion killing in the areas where they work, they have proven their model. Lion Guardians began as a pilot project in 2007 in southern Kenya’s Amboseli ecosystem. Today, their approach has been adopted across more than 70 communities across roughly 5,300 km2 of land in Kenya and Tanzania, and they use a training program and other services to spread their conservation method more widely across different parts of Africa.

Our Support

By 2012, Lion Guardians knew they had an effective and scientifically-proven conservation model. It was time to take their site-based experiment in Kenya elsewhere in hopes they could share their approach and knowledge in order to save more lions. Maliasili helped them get there. For three intense years, we worked together to put the right pieces in place to help them grow – a new strategy, focused work plans, a top-tier communications platform, and a strengthened senior management team. These efforts helped Lion Guardians build out their  staff, attract more money and donors, develop a clearer vision, and, ultimately, protect more lions.

Organizational Growth

  • A new Strategic Plan helped Lion Guardians expand its model and guide the transition from a site-based project to an organization with a wider reach.

  • A communications strategy, plan and strengthened brand, helped Lion Guardians over the course of just one year (2013-2014) increase its revenue generation by 28%, quadruple its individual donor base, and increase repeat donations by 39%.

  • A clear and prioritized annual work plan to implement their strategy, resulting in an increased focus on results and impact.

  • Adjusted human resource structure, new hires, and enhanced staff capacities

Livestock recovered

Staff Members


  • From 2013 - 2014, the area of land that Lion Guardians monitored increased by almost 20% to roughly 525,000 hectares.

  • Lion populations in Amboseli ecosystem, which had tripled between 2009 and 2013, has stabilized to around 160 lions. Lions from this population have now been documented as dispersing as far afield as Nairobi National Park and Shompole Group Ranch, helping to maintain genetic diversity between different lion populations

  • Lion Guardians has developed a training program to spread their knowledge, tools, and expertise to sites with conflicts between people and lions around Africa. Most notably, in 2015 they helped train and coach African Parks’ rangers in Rwanda’s Akagera National Park after the reintroduction of lions to the park.