My name is Kylie, or Esupat if you prefer my new Maasai name which means ‘the mama with a good heart who helps everybody’ (or possibly in reality, the BIG SUCKER who can’t refuse to help anyone!). I’m the new Living with Lions project biologist on Mbirikani Group Ranch, doing much the same sort of work as Stephanie on Eselenkei and Olgulului but without the stress of having a PhD to complete (although I am hoping to start one soon).
This photo is of me with Lion Guardians Olubi and Pilenanka, the owner of the cow who was eaten by the lioness and Lion Guardian Mokoi at Narika’s recent collaring.
Although new to big cats, I’m no stranger to Africa having spent three years working for the Jane Goodall Institute in Uganda, helping to conserve and protect chimpanzees and their natural habitats. Prior to that I was home in Australia where an environmental and wildlife consultancy firm (Ecoplan Australia) kept me busy with the Australian fauna. Some of the first zoology work I ever did involved radio tracking koalas. Now I find myself using those same skills to track our collared lions.
Here’s a photo of me radio tracking lions from Ol Donyo Wuas:
I have loads of fun working closely with the Lion Guardians who keep me busy with frequent lion reports. Communication is sometimes difficult with my current lack of conversational Swahili but I’m really trying to learn. In the meantime, there are lots of laughs and enough is understood to get the general messages across!
Here I am radio tracking with Luke and Lion Guardian Kapande:
I feel incredibly lucky to be working in one of the most stunning areas of Kenya as part of such a dedicated team, helping to protect and conserve such beautiful animals, which without help, risk local extinction on non-protected lands. I hope Stephanie and I can keep you entertained and updated as we share our adventures and lion stories.