Kenyan Maasai don’t kill lions anymore

This video from Kenya says about itself:

The Hunt for Medals, not Lions: The First Maasai Olympics

6 May 2013

The Hunt For Medals, Not Lions: The first ever Maasai Olympics, created to help eliminate lion hunting from the Maasai culture, organized and partly funded by Big Life Foundation. Featuring Guest of Honor, 2012 Olympic Gold Medallist, David Rudisha.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Maasai Olympics saves lions

Yesterday, 23:51

Lions benefit from a sporting event in Kenya. In the Maasai Olympics young warriors can prove their perseverance with sports, rather than with the traditional lion hunting. Formerly a Maasai boy could only be a true warrior by killing the predator.

The components of the tournament are inspired by the ancient traditions of the Maasai. Thus, the famous jumping dance of the tribe changed to the Maasai high jump, where participants from an upright stance should jump as high as possible. Also there is javelin and rungu-throwing. Participants throw bats, normally used to drive away jackals.


The multi-day event is held for the second time. Tribal elders decided in 2012 for an alternative test event, because killing lions was bad for the animals and the Maasai.

“You can no longer kill lions because they can help us. Tourists come to see the lions and so we can afford schooling,” said one of the participants.

“Before, we did not realize what the lions could do for us,” says another one. “Now we understand how important they are and we kill them no more.”


The tribe enlisted the help of an American conservationist to organize the event. “They said: ‘Elsewhere in the world boys use sports to impress the girls?” That was the beginning of the Maasai Olympics. ”

Participants compete in four cohorts of boys between 16 and 25 for the honour, the attention of the girls present and prices. The winning team will also receive a bull to take home.

The Kenyan athlete David Rudisha, one of the famous Maasai, came today to encourage the participants. “He has not become famous by killing a lion,” recalled one of the organizers. “He became famous for his sporting qualities.”

Do Maasai women participate in decisions affecting the Naimina Enkiyio (Forest of the Lost Girl Child) in southern Kenya? Here.

7 thoughts on “Kenyan Maasai don’t kill lions anymore

  1. Pingback: Stop lion trophy hunting | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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  4. Dear friends,

    The iconic Maasai of Kenya and Tanzania have been fighting for decades to survive and defend their environment.

    Lately, they’re losing the battle: besieged by shady poachers, billionaires who want to buy up their traditional lands for safari lodges, and sketchy government officials.

    But now a Maasai community in Kenya has had a killer idea to fight back — pool their own land and form their own reserve. This will not only ensure they protect their home and the customs of their ancestors, but will create a new wildlife passage — a crucial corridor where elephants, lions, and wildebeest roam free.

    This could become a shining example for conservation and for our campaigning. Normally if we want to protect a precious ecosystem, we have to campaign for years to get a government park set up, and then all too often officials fail to protect it. This time, the Maasai establish their own reserve, and run it themselves!

    But with a number of foreign buyers eager to take their land, the tribe needs funds fast to get the reserve up and running, educate in traditional and innovative conservation, and pay wildlife patrollers.

    They’ve turned to our community with an urgent request for help.

    Chip in now — let’s throw them a life line, then campaign to help the Maasai, and indigenous communities under threat around the globe:




    YES, I’LL DONATE €16

    YES, I’LL DONATE €32

    To donate another amount, click here.

    For decades the Maasai have struggled to hang on to their ancestral lands as profit-hungry tourism companies and government officials evict, sell-off, and repurpose the countryside that has sustained them for generations. Tourism brings billions into the Kenyan economy — but the Maasai (the land’s rightful owners!) barely see a drop.

    This is our chance to help change that. Experts say giving these communities control over their land is the best way to protect it.

    The corridor is crucial for the survival of some of our planet’s most magical animals who move across the Serengeti to the Masai Mara every year during the Great Migration. The community has pledged 4,000 acres to create the reserve, but the location is also a magnet for tourist outfits that tend to build fences and block the animals’ path.

    If we all donate now, we could provide the first year of funds to this amazing project, then come behind them to leverage international organisations to match our grant, and campaign to defend indigenous conservation worldwide. Chip in now:




    YES, I’LL DONATE €16

    YES, I’LL DONATE €32

    To donate another amount, click here.

    Our community has a proud history of working with the Maasai. When the Tanzanian government tried to kick them off their land so hunters could shoot big game out of helicopters, we came together to stop it. Actions by over 2 million of us helped persuade the Tanzanian President to commit to stop the evictions. Now, we can come to the aid of another Maasai community under threat, and help make their inspiring vision a reality.

    With hope and determination,

    Alice, Allison, Joseph, Dalia, Nic, Rosa, and the whole Avaaz team

    PS: The corridor of land was once home to an ancient elephant nursery — and now we can help bring it back! After only 3 months of work by this community, lions, zebras, giraffes, and elephants, are returning in large numbers — even giving birth there!


    Tanzanian land rights victory earns Masaai leader Goldman prize (The Guardian)

    We have the international momentum: now it is time to act on wildlife crime before it is too late (Independent)

    ‘Tourism is a curse to us’ (The Guardian)

    Stand with the Maasai (Avaaz)


  5. Pingback: Kenyans from lion hunters to lion conservationists | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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