On a cool gray morning, Wilson Kasaine heads out along a dirt path in southern Kenya. His calmness makes it easy to forget that he’s tracking one of the most dangerous animals in the world: lions. Born into a traditional Maasai family, he quickly grew to understand the beauty and danger of wildlife. Living with big wild animals forces him to develop a good sense of where they have been and where they may be going. During his 12-kilometer walks to and from school, he learned how to tell the paw prints of a lion from those of other animals.
Growing up, Kasaine knew that improving his tracking abilities would help him avoid surprise meetings with dangerous animals. For many Maasai, tracking is mainly a matter of self-protection. But Kasaine is tracking lions to meet them and to protect them. He leads a small group of wide-eyed tourists over the red sandy path, searching for the lion that has left upon it his prints.
Each year, thousands of tourists crowd Kenya’s national parks to try to catch a glimpse of the the "big five”: elephants, rhinoceros, leopards, buffaloes and lions. The international draw of these animals matters a lot because the nation’s economy is tied to the protection of its wildlife. If Kenya’s wildlife disappears, so does its second-largest source of income. 21-cnjy*com
Wildlife protection efforts in Kenya meant marking off land only for animals. But it also meant that the people who had original