Protect lions in Namibia from retaliatory killings

by Kevin Richardson Foundation NPC
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Protect lions in Namibia from retaliatory killings
Protect lions in Namibia from retaliatory killings
Protect lions in Namibia from retaliatory killings
Protect lions in Namibia from retaliatory killings
Protect lions in Namibia from retaliatory killings
Protect lions in Namibia from retaliatory killings
Protect lions in Namibia from retaliatory killings
Protect lions in Namibia from retaliatory killings
Protect lions in Namibia from retaliatory killings
Protect lions in Namibia from retaliatory killings
Protect lions in Namibia from retaliatory killings
Fitting the GPS-Satellite collar to Npl-38
Fitting the GPS-Satellite collar to Npl-38

Namibian Lion Trust Report April - July 2022: 

Thanks to the generous GlobalGiving donation and the Kevin Richardson Foundation, we have been able to continue with our Human-Wildlife Conflict Mitigation and Lion Research & Monitoring Programmes, most importantly supporting the dedicated Lion Guards in the field.

1. Monitoring male Lion, ID # Npl-27 + Lioness ID Npl-38: this includes the GPS-Satellite Collar & Satellite fees, Veterinary fees & drugs, food parcels, community support, foot & vehicle patrols, fuel & vehicle maintenance. Male lion ID Npl-27 was collared in August 2021.No incidents of livestock mortalities were reported until early June 2022, when Npl-27 rapidly moved northwards out of his home range, not to return; it was clear that his tenure had been replaced by another male. As a solitary male lion, he has since moved out of his known range onto communal & resettlement farmland, taking easy prey, i.e., donkeys and cows. At present, he remains solitary and threatened. Our Lion Guard Teams have increased patrols in the immediate area, in an attempt at mitigating lion-farmer conflict but the harsh terrain is challenging, and farmers are intolerant of more livestock losses after the extended drought.

June 18, the Ministry of Environment, Forestry & Tourism decided to return Npl-27 to his home range, in the hope that the relocation would allow him to settle down. Npl-27 was taken to another location, this territory already filled by Npl- 33 and his pride; two days later Npl-27 moved southwest. We continue to patrol and monitor his movement in the hope that he will soon join a group and settle down. 

Lioness, ID Npl-38, was collared in June 2022. Npl-38 was first observed in March 2021, in the company of resident male Npl-33, two small cubs, ca.3 months of age, and a sub-adult female, approx. 3 years of age. Due to the absence of other pride females that could take care of the cubs should unforeseen death occur during the immobilization, we decided against fitting a collar on Npl-38 until her cubs were at least one year old. Also, in the hope that other females may be observed as part of the same pride, providing the necessary support in such a case. We returned to the area in June 2022, to find that only one of the cubs, a male, had survived; thus, collaring the lioness at that point would have been a great risk to the survival of the single cub. Observations of the sub-adult female indicated that her neck-size was too small to fit a GPS-Satellite collar. June 2022, with the assistance of the Ministry of Environment, Forestry & Tourism, the said female, ID Npl-38, was successfully collared. The small pride, including the male, Npl-33, her 18-month-old male cub (who miraculously survived his first year during the worst stage of the 9-year drought) and the young adult female, remain in this Exclusive Wildlife Zone, with the occasional forage onto adjacent communal farmland. 

2. Supporting 10 Lion Guard Wages & Food Parcels: our dedicated teams spend most days & nights in the field, patrolling & monitoring lions, mitigating conflict between lion and livestock farmer, also searching for signs of bush-meat poaching, snares, and poisoned wildlife.

2.1. Kanisius Kenahama: “My work with the Namibian Lion Trust allows me to Live my passion for nature and to STOP the killing of lions”. Kanu, as we all know him, is a registered Tour Guide, also an accredited Hunting Guide, with 15 years’ experience as a tracker. His knowledge of animal behaviour and his ability to identify the known lions is crucial to locating them when on fi eld trips with his team. His loyalty to the Trust is sincerely appreciated. During the Lion Ranger Training, Kanu shows compassion for the farmers’ plight but is steadfast in his belief that the lion should enjoy greater protection from retaliation, supporting stricter Law Enforcement. He has two young children, also taking care of his elderly parents. 

2.2. Barman Guim: Barman Guim’s love for the elusive Black Rhino that survives in this inhospitable, semi-arid area, is luckily shared with the few lions that are also found in this wilderness. This treacherous yet unique landscape is Barman’s ‘backyard’, his instinctive knowledge invaluable when monitoring lions. Barman & his wife Marianna, farm on communal land, their children almost done with school take every opportunity to join on patrols, gaining experience from their father. 

3. Patrols into Exclusive Wildlife Zones (EWZ): to establish lion presence & body condition, prey base numbers, food and water availability. The NLT collaring team, accompanied by MEFT Wardens & Dr Mike Thorne, a Zimbabwean national with more than 30 years’ experience as a wildlife veterinarian, recently spent ten days in the Exclusive Wildlife Zones (EWZ). Our aim was to locate resident lions that had ‘disappeared’ towards the end of 2021. Due to the extensive drought, these areas were devoid of graze & browse, despite some perennial springs providing water for smaller mammals and birds. Insufficient food forced the surviving herbivores to migrate elsewhere, with no trace of the resident spotted hyaena, lion and other predators. June 2021, one of the resident collared lionesses, Npl-30, had shifted her range out of the EWZ primarily due to lack of natural prey, intermittently moving into the neighbouring conservancy, where she was poisoned in January 2022. As we have no further information on the remaining known groups and individuals, we set out to search for any sign and to attempt collaring any male or female lion found so as to re-establish our monitoring programme in this area. Two small groups of lions were found, one group comprising a mature male and female with approx. 3 sub-adults; the other group of two adult females and 3-4 sub-adults were only seen on trail-camera footage. Both groups were extremely skittish, moving out of the immediate area as soon as we arrived. Bait stations & trail cameras have been set up in order to improve on our knowledge of the pride composition & age-groups, in the hope of collaring at least one in each group. 

4. Lion Ranger Programme, which includes the Namibian Lion Trust Lion Guards, was established in 2020. Candidates were selected from 9 Conservancies where lions are resident or move through as migrants. This programme was initiated by the Ministry of Environment, Forestry & Tourism (MEFT), inviting the lion-orientated NGO’s present in the Kunene Region to join forces, aimed at providing more ‘boots-on-the-ground’ in these remote areas, monitoring lion movement in relation to livestock herds & settlements, warning and guiding the farming communities in the conflict hot-spots, as well as gathering reliable information on retaliatory killing of predators, by poison especially; bush meat poaching has increased since COVID-19 put many out of work, with the Lion Ranger Programme proving to be a most valuable community support system and wildlife protection activity. 

Our Lion Guards, are dedicated to protecting the lion as well as mitigating farmer-lion conflict in Namibia’s north-west. The Namibian Lion Trust Lion Guard and the Ministry of Environment, Forestry & Tourism Lion Ranger Programmes collaborate daily, deploying several teams comprising a combination of Lion Rangers & Lion Guards each representing his or her Conservancy; they are active in areas where farmer-lion conflict is rife, providing increased protection for the lion, simultaneously supporting the farmers who share habitat with wildlife. Foot patrols into remote areas effectively monitor illegal activities such as bush-meat poaching and wildlife crime. Ranger Training Programmes are aimed at uplifting morale and improving expertise, increasing the efficacy of the Lion Guard / Lion Ranger Programmes by encouraging and supporting long-term co-existence. 

5. Livestock Protection Mobile ‘Bomas’: shade-cloth for 4 mobile ‘bomas’ have been purchased, proved to be a valuable protection method when in the field, will be allocated once farmers are forced to move their livestock away from their homesteads where stationary ‘bomas’ protect the herds at night. Good rains fell in most parts during January – April 2022, breaking the 9-year drought, with little need to graze and to spend the night further afield at this point. 

The Lion Guards assist in locating within the study area, the lion to be fitted with GPS-Satellite tracking collars that provide invaluable data at 2-hourly intervals (the intervals may be set according to need); - monitor the whereabouts of both collared and uncollared lion in order to establish movement patterns and, together with the data retrieved from the widely dispersed trail cameras within their area and lion-sightings by community members, the Lion Guards are able to forewarn farmers who live in conflict zones (‘hot-spots’); - when the Early-Warning System (EWS) detects lion movement or when an incident is reported, the Lion Guards (who form the Rapid Response Unit) move out to support the affected farmer or community as well as to protect the lion; - their night- and / or day-time patrols contribute to the protection of both the livestock and the villagers; - the collection and evaluation of valuable information on lion whereabouts, livestock management as well as lion and livestock mortalities, provides for reliable reporting and assessment. The Lion Guards contribute towards greater understanding and acceptance of wildlife. This takes time and patience, with many hours spent ‘under-tree’, meeting with farmers and traditional leaders to discuss workable solutions. By providing guidance and encouragement, they help the farming community to adopt our Livestock Protection Programme, which includes employing herdsmen and protecting their livestock at night. Last but not least, Lion Guards identify communities in need of our support and livestock protection ‘bomas’. Together with the Ministry of Environment, Forestry & Tourism (MEFT) and the Department of Veterinary Services staff, they patrol & repair Protected Area fence-breaks, also reporting on poaching and other illegal activities. 

The work of a Lion Guard is never done: a change of heart & mind-set, attitudes and behaviour, especially ‘modernizing’ age-old farming practices, takes time, determination and steadfastness... but will bring us all one step closer to co-existence between man and lion. 

Cultivating greater tolerance and appreciation of Namibia’s wildlife amongst the younger generation will determine what world we leave behind for the next generation, and what that generation we leave behind for the world... 

We thank GlobalGiving & the Kevin Richardson Foundation for their tireless devotion to all things ‘wild’ – their enthusiastic support of Namibian Lion Trust keeps us ‘out there’, doing what we do best. 

Yours in Conservation 

Tammy Hoth-Hanssen 

Kanisius Kenahama
Kanisius Kenahama
Barman Guim
Barman Guim
Patrols into Exclusive Wildlife Zones
Patrols into Exclusive Wildlife Zones
Patrols into Exclusive Wildlife Zones
Patrols into Exclusive Wildlife Zones
Lion Ranger Programme
Lion Ranger Programme
Lion Ranger Programme
Lion Ranger Programme
Lion Ranger Programme
Lion Ranger Programme
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Lion Npl-27
Lion Npl-27

GlobalGiving Donation: GPS-Sat Collar monitoring Lion ID Npl-27, Lion Guard Salaries & Food Parcels 

Thanks to the generous GlobalGiving donation to the Kevin Richardson Foundation July 2021, we continue to: 

  1.  to physically monitor the male lion Npl-27 (this includes vehicle patrols), 
  2.  pay salaries to Lion Guards and the Office Administrator, as well as 
  3.  provide food parcels to the Lion Guards in the field. 

1. Monitoring Lion, ID # Npl-27: this includes vehicle patrols, fuel                               

On 27 August 2021, we successfully fitted a new GPS-Satellite collar to Npl-27, a male in his prime at approx. 7-8 years of age. His approx. 560 km2 range includes the Otjijapa / Okavariona Springs, within the safety of an Exclusive Wildlife Zone. Location fixes from the GPS-Satellite collar indicate that at times, when following antelope herds, Npl-27 and his pride move into adjacent livestock farming areas. Our Lion Guard Teams increase patrols in the immediate area to mitigate lion-farmer conflict. After nine years of drought, the first good rains fell in this area during February 2022. 

2. Supporting Lion Guard Wages & providing Food Parcels:

2.1. Uezekandavi Nguezeeta:

Fondly known as Kandavi, joined the Namibian Lion Trust as a Lion Guard in 2015. He patrols an area of approx. 80 km2, adjacent to the Hobatere Concession, an extension to the west of the Etosha National Park. Mostly on foot, Kandavii covers vast areas of inhospitable terrain, mitigating conflict between livestock farmers, lion, and other large carnivores. His determination to protect Conservancy wildlife, especially the Hobatere lions when they follow the Hartmann’s Zebra herds out of the safety of the Park onto neighbouring farmland, is commendable. Kandavi has watched the Hobatere lioness named Ai, raise two sets of cubs; she recently shifted her home range onto communal farmland adjacent to this Protected Area, making his commitment to protecting her & her offspring from farmer retaliation, more challenging. 

2.2. Rinoveni Tjauira

Joined our team in 2019 and is proud of his role as Lion Guard in the Omatendeka Conservancy, one of the most pro-active in lion conservation. Despite high livestock losses to predation, his Conservancy believes in the protection of all wildlife, also conflict species such as elephant and predators. His dedication to protecting lions from persecution became clear when he helped weigh a male lion during a collaring exercise. “Touching that sleeping lion changed the way I see them today”. Renoveni never misses an opportunity to patrol his area, diligently completing his monitoring and data collection forms.  Renoveni is well-liked by his peers and has shown great leadership potential during Lion Guard Training Courses. 

2.3. Jackson Kavetu: “I love to see the lion cubs in our Conservancy, as this shows me that our lions are healthy” – NLT senior Lion Guard, Jackson Kavetu.

Jackson became a Conservancy Game Guard when he was a young man and has been a dedicated lion conservationist ever since. He joined the Namibian Lion Trust in 2012. As a First Responder when calls for support come in from the field, his passion for wildlife protection motivates him to do all he can, to minimize conflict between farmers and carnivores. Married, with three school-going children, Jackson farms goats on communal land close to Etosha’s border. His successful livestock protection methods are testimony to the efficacy of the Namibian Lion Trust’s practical, workable systems.  

2.4. Naphtalie Awarab:

As a child, Naphtalie remembers the challenges of farming livestock in areas where wildlife such as lion and elephant roam. His family’s cattle, goats & donkeys fell prey to predators that leave the Etosha National Park. Naphtalie’s knowledge of the natural world gained as a young herdsman, is an asset to the Namibian Lion Trust as is his passion for mechanics and brickwork. He has three children, the youngest is Ivan, who is in grade 5 and hopes to become a pilot once he completes his schooling.

Our Lion Guards, are dedicated to protecting the lion as well as mitigating farmer-lion conflict in Namibia’s north-west (Kunene Region).                

The Lion Guards: 

- assist in locating within the study area, the lion to be fitted with GPS-Satellite tracking collars that provide invaluable data at 2-hourly intervals (the intervals may be set according to need);

- monitor the whereabouts of both collared and uncollared lion in order to establish movement patterns and, together with the data retrieved from the widely dispersed trail cameras within their area and lion-sightings by community members, the Lion Guards are able to forewarn farmers who live in conflict zones (‘hot-spots’);

- when the Early-Warning System (EWS) detects lion movement or when an incident is reported, the Lion Guards (who form the Rapid Response Unit) move out to support the affected farmer or community as well as to protect the lion;  

- their night- and / or day-time patrols contribute to the protection of both the livestock and the villagers;  

the collection and evaluation of valuable information on lion whereabouts, livestock management as well as lion and livestock mortalities, provides for reliable reporting and assessment.

The Lion Guards contribute towards greater understanding and acceptance of wildlife. This takes time and patience, with many hours spent ‘under-tree’, meeting with farmers and traditional leaders to discuss workable solutions. By providing guidance and encouragement, they help the farming community to adopt our Livestock Protection Programme, which includes employing herdsmen and protecting their livestock at night. Last but not least, Lion Guards identify communities in need of our support and livestock protection ‘bomas’. Together with the Ministry of Environment, Forestry & Tourism (MEFT) and the Department of Veterinary Services staff, they patrol & repair Protected Area fence-breaks, also reporting on poaching and other illegal activities. 

The work of a Lion Guard is never done: a change of heart & mind-set, attitudes and behaviour, especially ‘modernizing’ age-old farming practices, takes time, determination and steadfastness... but will bring us all one step closer to co-existence between man and lion. 

Cultivating greater tolerance and appreciation of Namibia’s wildlife amongst the younger generation will determine what world we leave behind for the next generation, and what that generation we leave behind for the world

We thank GlobalGiving & the Kevin Richardson Foundation for their tireless devotion to all things ‘wild’ – their enthusiastic support of Namibian Lion Trust keeps us ‘out there’, doing what we do best.

Yours in Conservation

Tammy Hoth-Hanssen

Two females spotted with Npl-27
Two females spotted with Npl-27
Uezekandavi Nguezeeta, also known as Kandavi
Uezekandavi Nguezeeta, also known as Kandavi
Rinoveni Tjauira
Rinoveni Tjauira
Jackson Kavetu
Jackson Kavetu
Naphtalie Awarab
Naphtalie Awarab
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Okavariona male
Okavariona male

Thanks to the generous GlobalGiving donation to the Kevin Richardson Foundation, during August – November 2021, we were able to see to crucial operations within our organisation. This covered the replacement of the GPS-Satellite collar of the Okavariona male lion, Npl-27. The donation also contributed towards four Lion Guard Salaries for four months. 

1. Lion Collaring

This is an intricate procedure with many costs attached, such as the financing of the collar itself, satellite fees for 18 months, and transport of the collar, as well as the costs of the collaring activity, which involves preparation, fuel, staff food, community support, veterinary costs, drugs, and blood work.

Npl-27, the lion, was first collared in October 2019. His GPS-Satellite battery unit stopped working in February 2021. As the terrain is treacherous, it was a challenge to locate him without a GPS-fix, but his VHF telemetry remains functional, giving us an indication of his location. Our initial attempt at replacing the collar was thwarted by the fact that he was with a female in oestrus, and no amount of coaxing would allow us get close enough to immobilize him! We returned three weeks later, where we found him with his pride of three females and two sub-adults. During this trip we successfully fitted a new GPOS-Satellite collar. His body score was satisfactory for a pride-male in this arid habitat, despite the dwindling prey base due to the 9-year-long drought. The rest of the pride were also in satisfactory condition. We estimated his body mass at approx.195 kg. Npl-27 is in his prime at approx. 6-7 years of age.

2.Lion Guard Wages:

2.1. Lazarus Hoxobeb: The most senior Lion Guard, Lazarus, is a member of the #Khoa di //Hoas Conservancy and farms on communal land with his wife, Odilie, along the southern boundary of the Hobatere Concession, a wildlife protected area managed as part of the Etosha National Park. He joined the Namibian Lion Trust in December 2019, but also represents the /Gaio Daman Traditional Authority at Conservancy level. “One of my dreams was to work with lions, and now I actively try to prevent Human-Wildlife Conflict and to protect these vulnerable Big Cats”.

2.2. Dorien Kharuxas: I graduated from high school in December 2018, two years later I was employed by the Namibian Lion Trust as Office Administrator. My work has become my passion as I now know how important it is to monitor lion movement and to support our Lion Guards in the field with information and the daily programme – trying to prevent conflict by warning farmers to protect their livestock, is my most valuable role. As a young mother of our beautiful daughter, Zinorida, I am lucky to have a loving family where my mother takes care of her and my brother’s daughter, Rasia. I care about their future and would like to share what I have learned with my community so that we may learn to live closer to nature’.

2.3. Hoveka Undari: Every day I speak to my family to conserve the Lion because it is very important for our future generations to see and know about the Lion, so that they may not just hear or read about them one day in old books, like we do about Dinosaurs. I am a family-man, married to Jaturapi for 10 years and we have 5 children. The Lion is very important in our area, the Omatendeka Conservancy. I am a committee member and am proud to be able to serve my community in important conservation decisions”.

2.4. Katirire (Titus) Turitjo farms on communal land close to the Etosha National Park western border, where he and his family have lost livestock to predators that leave the confines of the Park. “I feel good about my job as a Lion Guard because it gives me more knowledge on how to farm, protect my livestock and how to educate my Community”. Titus patrols his vast area on horseback, often spending nights out in the field, where lion and spotted hyaena, especially, roam opportunistically in search of easy prey.

Our Lion Guards, ‘Keepers of the Wilderness’, are dedicated to protecting the lion as well as mitigating farmer-lion conflict in Namibia’s north-west (Kunene Region). These highly respected community members are elected by their Conservancies, essentially carrying the message of Conservation from the highest authorities to the farmer. 

Lion Guards & GPS-Satellite collars keep lions alive and farmers - with their livestock - safe. The long hours spent in the field and their dedicated mitigation of the farmer-predator conflict, is slowly but surely showing results: for those farmers who have adopted the Livestock Protection Programme, reports show a notable reduction in livestock loss due to lion & spotted hyaena predation, ultimately reducing the retaliatory persecution of lions.

Farmers who leave their stock in the field at night and allow their animals to graze inside of Wildlife Protected Areas, continue to suffer losses.

The work of a Lion Guard is never done: a change of heart & mind-set, attitudes and behaviour, especially ‘modernizing’ age-old farming practices, takes time, determination and steadfastness... but will bring us all one step closer to co-existence between man and lion.

Cultivating greater tolerance and appreciation of Namibia’s wildlife amongst the younger generation will determine what world we leave behind for the next generation, and what that generation we leave behind for the world...

We thank GlobalGiving & the Kevin Richardson Foundation for their tireless devotion to all things ‘wild’ – their enthusiastic support of Namibian Lion Trust keeps us ‘out there’, doing what we do best.

Yours in Conservation

Tammy Hoth-Hanssen

 

Lion Guard Lazarus
Lion Guard Lazarus
Lion Guard Dorien
Lion Guard Dorien
Lion Guard Titus
Lion Guard Titus
Lion Guard Hoveka
Lion Guard Hoveka
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The team of lion guards that underwent training
The team of lion guards that underwent training

We are so incredibly grateful for the individuals who have generously donated to this project. Human-wildlife conflict is an extremely sensitive and complicated issue and every little bit helps in making progress towards improving the problem.

In this report, we would like to share one of the training courses for the Lion Guards that your donations helped to bring about:

"With this training course, the Lion Guards of the Namibian Lion Trust made their first step into the field of wildlife protection law enforcement – and into the improvement of their personal safety on duty”, says Marco Grunert, “Coach Marco”, Director and Chief Instructor of Security Experts CC. Security Experts, established in 1996, is specialized in high-quality security services and security training services, extending into the field of wildlife protection (“Anti-Poaching”).

In 14 training days, Coach Marco gave the ten Lion Guards an introduction and basic know-how in the following subjects:
a) Wildlife protection laws of Namibia
b) Criminal law and self-defence laws
c) Tracking & criminal investigation
d) Conflict management, including conflict avoidance, de-escalation tactics and “verbal self-defence” tactics
e) Escape and self-defence tactics and techniques
f) Trauma first aid

These subjects provided the Lion Guards with well-rounded and effective skills on law enforcement work for wildlife protection. Some of the training included the following aspects: 

An introduction into law enforcement work for wildlife protection took place in the form of how to interpret vehicle and human tracks. This would help in localizing and identifying offenders. As wildlife protection ("anti-poaching") is security work / law enforcement, knowledge of the relevant laws was also a crucial part of the training to ensure the Lion Guards would be working in a legally secure manner. 

Closely related to wildlife protection / law enforcement is the ability of the wildlife rangers to control conflict with suspects or emotionally charged farmers in such a way that an escalation is avoided. This was a necessary part of the training that included preparation for extreme cases of threats or attacks. As part of the applied health & safety training, the lion guards were trained in escape and self-defense tactics and techniques.

Another important aspect of the health & safety training was the stoppage of heavy bleeding as part of trauma first aid. This can be lifesaving when working with dangerous wild animals, such as lions, as well as if confronted with criminal attacks or in the case of vehicle accidents.

The training courses, divided into two groups, took place under the ideal conditions of the Ondjou Wilderness Reserve and the SurvivalZone Wilderness Academy. Theoretical lessons in the fully equipped classroom were combined with practical training in the wild African bush. Every morning at sunrise, the day began with fitness training, which not only increased the fitness of the participants, but also gave them a boost in motivation to continue working on their fitness after the course - a necessity for their kind of work. 

Due to the excellent team spirit and the high motivation of the participating rangers, they were all able to overcome the high hurdles of the course and each proudly received the course certificates from the chief instructor once it was over. 

In the individual evaluations of the participants, the high demands as well as the high value of the training for their qualification and their health & safety, were emphasized. Thanks was given to the management of the Namibian Lion Trust for making this training course possible. In his final speech, chief instructor Marco Grunert not only welcomed the endurance and motivation of the teams, but also expressed his expectations of the participants to use the knowledge and skills gained in the service whenever possible and to keep it present in any possible way.

The need for further in-depth and advanced training courses was particularly emphasized by everyone, including all participants, the instructor, and Tammy Hoth, director of the Namibian Lion Trust.

Thank you for making something like this possible. We are so excited to share the next report with you and continue to show how your donations have made a difference!

The team of lion guards that underwent training
The team of lion guards that underwent training
Lion guards
Lion guards
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Organization Information

Kevin Richardson Foundation NPC

Location: Pretoria, Gauteng - South Africa
Website:
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Project Leader:
Shani van Straaten
Pretoria, Gauteng South Africa
$43,799 raised of $45,000 goal
 
674 donations
$1,201 to go
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