Kenyan warriors of young generation are no longer pursuing lions to show off their hunting prowess and bravery, they are competing for monetary prizes in javelin throwing at the Maasai Olympics instead.
“We have changed the outdated lion hunting culture, as there was a time before the Maasai Olympics when we were killing animals, but now we are protecting them as we coexist in harmony,” 22-year-old Moran Joseph Tipape Lekatoo said.
Lekatoo was competing for his Mbirikani Manyatta group in the fourth edition of the Maasai Olympics, where youthful morans, or warriors, from four Manyattas (settlements) — Rombo, Mbirikani, Kuku and Elselengei — gather to compete.
“If you compare me to the past warriors, they used to go and kill lions and that does not help you in anyway,” said Moses Ntimama, another warrior and participant in the Olympics at the Sidai Oleng Wildlife Sanctuary at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro, near Kenya’s border with Tanzania.
Government-run Kenya Wildlife Services informs there are about 2,000 lions in the East African country, and the biggest threat to them and other carnivores is conflict with humans.