Who has the will or courage to single-handedly protect over 60 wild lions from poachers and irate farmers in the bush of Africa? Well, Marnus loves wild lions so he did for over 3 years.
Now if you have connections to heavy pockets, it could be a bit easier. Some conservation projects start with high level connections to government and lots of caring people. Thus they find tons of funding, have new kitted Land Cruisers and other cool stuff. Then they hire lots of staff and get to work. It would still be a tough job though.
What if you didn’t have any of that? It’s just you and your dream? Well, Marnus loves wild lions so he did it anyway. He lived in the bush full time basically helping lions and farmers get along.
Essence of Protecting Lions
This meant first befriending and negotiating with farmers to not kill the lions attacking their precious tiny herds. Then find effective methods to keep the lions at bay. Yet most importantly, somehow return the awe and respect we all need for wildlife back to a people who used to cherish living wild.
Margrit met Marnus online and was intrigued by his methods, tenacity, and shear will to save lions. I first met him at his bush camp next to an ancient Land Rover in October 2015. As a skeptical retired engineer I wanted to see the data of his successes and his tangible needs. Surprisingly, over the next week the true needs became apparent.
In 3 years, Marnus studied the lions and got close to the villagers and farmers to the point of understanding the dynamics of the prides and even the backwaters of the local culture. His successes were not necessarily in how many safe boma lights and sirens had been installed. But the trust and influence he gained to change hearts.
I would like to say he helped all the villagers to love their wild lions. Which given time and circumstance he may have. Unfortunately, his permit was not renewed and he had to leave all his good work behind.
Wasted effort? Not for those he befriended or the 60 lions that were safer for a bit longer. Tragically, in my lifetime the number of wild lions in Africa has gone from 450,000 to less than 20,000. This steep decline is what motivates Marnus to do something.
What Now for Marnus Protecting His Wild Lions?
After reassessing his life and a quick foray into a more “normal” career, this young man is back in the African bush more mature and seasoned than ever. Amazingly, with the will and courage to give it a go, again. His new hope is to help re-wild a specific 9,000 square kilometers of raw bush in Namibia. Here his new friends, the San People, have lived with nature for a long, long time.
This go-around Marnus has some strong connections to government and his commitment from important caring people is more solid and growing. There’s even access to a newer Bakkie (pickup truck) and some cool stuff to live 300 km from the closest almost settlement in 44ºC (111ºF) weather starting January.
God bless you Marnus who loves wild lions! Thanks for facing tremendous challenges to create a model for a more holistic habitat for your beloved lions and friends.
Russ Harris loves all things technical and making the world a better place, especially for Margrit.