Shivani Bhalla was 8 years old when she promised her parents she was going to spend her life protecting big cats.
She doesn’t like to use the term ‘field work’ because she has been living and working in the Samburu-Isiolo landscape in northern Kenya for the past 20 years.
In this video, she shares her journey in conservation and lessons learned along the way.
Born and raised in Kenya, Shivani believes the key to lion conservation is working in partnership with local communities. These communities have been living with wildlife for generations, but the landscape is changing and coexistence has been getting harder in recent years. Successful conservation for the future means investing in local communities.
She founded Ewaso Lions in 2007 to promote co-existence between carnivores and people. Together with her team, she works with communities to reduce livestock loss to carnivores and monitors the existing lion population within the Samburu-Isiolo landscape.
“Lion conservation isn’t really about lions, it is about people,” says Shivani. “And everything we do is rooted in traditional values and the culture of the communities here. If we wanted to make any headway in lion conservation, it was about really investing in the communities here, making this about them and not me. Their projects, their lions. Coexistence has always been a part of their life so I felt that my role was how to make it slightly easier for them to continue to live among lions.”
Learn more about Shivani and her work at https://ewasolions.org.