In Southern Kenya lion hunting is an ancient tradition used as an initiation rite of transition from adolescence to manhood for young men. Lion hunting portrays braveness and personal achievement. Lions are also hunted by male warriors in Maasai to attract females. Solo hunting was carried on during the lion boom but over the last four decades, the lion population has decreased from 250,000 to 35,000 lions.

Hunting takes place at dawn when the elders and women are asleep so no one stops them. The selected group follows landmarks and footprints and converge at a meeting point.

Then the group is sorted. Some members are selected, others are asked to go home and keep the hunting a secret till the others arrive with a big catch. A celebration is always done in Maasai whenever big game is caught. With a steady decline in the populations of lions and the encouragement from conservationists, Kenyans are now seeking other ways to uphold their ancient show of masculinity.

Activities in Maasai right now

The third edition of the Olympic games in Kenya has incorporated activities like long jump,races and javelin games into the biennial event.

Videos show some men running and others jumping. The community gathers to watch the men taking part in these activities. Prizes include cash, cattle and a chance to run in the New York marathon.

Javelin throwing is not really a sport for Kenya men because it has become a necessary skill for protecting their livestock and families. Spears are also used in hunting down lions. Girls activities are also included in the games to create awareness to all genders on the dangers of poaching lions.

According to sources, the lion is already an endangered species in Kenya and liable to go extinct.

The main impact of the games

The main impact of the game is to compete for medals and not for hunt game. The games are also organized to create a spirit of free spirit competition and also to recognize outstanding talents. Winners will be richly rewarded and trained to compete in the New York marathon.

At least this would be an avenue for Kenyans to compete in a competition where they can show their masculinity without hunting down lions.

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