In 1997 the lion population in Africa was estimated at 100,000. Today, it has dropped to an approximate 14,000-16,000, with half of this number living in protected areas. The MWCT's Wildlife Protection and Compensation Program strives to protect lions in Southern Kenya from the threat of extinction. Losses caused by predators are compensated by MWCT to the Maasai landlords, only if the predators themselves were not hunted, thereby assuring a measure of protection to the lions roaming the reserve. The presence of lions encourages tourism, and as the Maasai learn to co-exist with the lions, they see them as an extension of their lifestyle rather than a threat.