Among the Maasai of East Africa, it’s a centuries-old tradition that young warriors kill lions or other dangerous animals as a rite of passage to manhood. The more lions, the more important the warrior. It’s how the young men have proven their bravery, picked their leaders—and gotten the girls.
But life is changing on the savannas of Kenya and Tanzania in many ways—just one of which is that many Maasai communities have come to recognize that lion-killing has got to stop. There simply aren’t enough lions left. (According to Lion Guardians, about half of Africa’s lions have disappeared over the past 50 years or so.)
A video created exclusively for The Maasai Olympics project points out that if every warrior in the Maasailand killed a lion, there would be no more lions in the region. “You’re not living in a world like your fathers,” it tells the young men.