Meanwhile in ... Tanzania, Barabaig and Masai lion hunters join Oxford's Lion Defenders program

And in South Sudan, UNICEF is funding a program that works with a radio network to offer instructive radio dramas, while in Philadelphia, dogs are being trained to sniff out looted art from conflict zones.

Noor Khamis/Reuters
Lions in Tanzania's Serengeti National Park.

Tanzania: Oxford University’s Ruaha Carnivore Project has enlisted Barabaig and Masai lion hunters in its Lion Defenders program. The tribes have hunted lions for generations, giving them a wealth of knowledge about lions and their habits. Now, as the lions face the threat of extinction, the Barabaig and Masai are being paid to help them. “Before we started [in 2012], around 60 lions a year were being killed by the Barabaig. This year there were just four,” BenJee Cascio, Lion Defenders manager, told the Independent. 

South Sudan: Where a ruinous civil war is dragging on, UNICEF is funding a program called Communicating for Peace in South Sudan that works with a radio network to offer instructive radio dramas. One of the most popular is “Sergeant Esther,” about a widow who becomes a police officer and uses nonviolent means to resolve each case. 

In a largely illiterate country whose 6 million people are divided among 64 different ethnic groups and languages, the radio network, which broadcasts in 18 languages, is seen as one of the few ways of reaching large numbers of South Sudanese. 

“Working with the grassroots, I believe can bring change in the community, and peace will come to our country,” Communicating for Peace in South Sudan founder Daniel Lokolong told EURACTIV.com.

Philadelphia: Dogs are being trained to sniff out looted art from conflict zones. Research for the program, which is called K-9 Artifact Finders, is being done at the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Vet Working Dog Center. Dogs are now regularly trained to detect drugs, explosives, electronics, and agricultural products, but the search for looted artifacts would be new territory for canines.  

Rick St. Hilaire, founder of Red Arch – a nonprofit group that investigates antiquities trafficking and archaeological looting – told The Guardian that the idea was his. “I thought, if dogs could detect electronics, what about antiquities?” 

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