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The Kenya Forum | 10 Lions speared to death in Amboseli National Park - The Kenya Forum

May 16, 2023

Summary

“This is the breaking point for human-wildlife conflict and we need to do more as a country to preserve lions, which are facing extinction”

The rise of human-wildlife conflict is alarming.

More by Correspondent

10 Lions speared to death in Amboseli National Park

10 Lions speared to death in Amboseli National Park

Only days after a wild male lion believed to be one of the oldest in the world was speared to death by local herders, a further 10 lions are reported to have been killed in another case of human-wildlife conflict.

Last Wednesday, Loonkiito, who was 19, was killed in Olkelunyiet a village that borders the Amboseli National Park in southern Kenya after the lion attacked livestock.

A Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) spokesperson Paul Jinaro told the BBC the lion was old and frail and wandered into the village from the park in search of food.

“Uptick in Human-Wildlife Conflict”

A spokesman for the Maasai-operated Lion Guardians group works to conserve the lion population in Amboseli National Park, said the end of a drought was “habitually marked by an uptick in human-lion conflict” as “wild prey recover and become more difficult to hunt”.
“In desperation, lions often turn to take livestock,” it said.

Paula Kahumbu, a wildlife conservationist and chief executive officer of Wildlife Direct called for measures to protect wildlife in the country.

“This is the breaking point for human-wildlife conflict and we need to do more as a country to preserve lions, which are facing extinction,” Ms Kahumbu told the BBC.

Six lions killed on Saturday in the Amboseli area

In the Saturday following the killing of Loonkiito, another six lions were killed by herders after they killed goats and a dog in villages close to Amboseli National Park Kenya’s country’s wildlife service have reported.

Speaking about Saturday’s deaths, Richard Bonham, executive chairman of Big Life Foundation Kenya, said the organisation’s rangers had tried to disperse a group of nine lions after they attacked the goats and dog at a homestead, but six had refused to leave.

Police, a vet, and representatives from the Kenya Wildlife Service arrived on the scene, and it was decided that the remaining lions should be kept in the Big Life Foundation compound until the following night, when they could leave safely in darkness.

Volatile Situation

Mr Bonham said: “Over the course of the day, a crowd continued to build, and tensions spilled over as dozens of people broke through the compound fence, spearing all six lions.

“Many members of the crowd were armed with spears, and any intervention by KWS, the Kenya Police Service, or Big Life would have risked escalation of an extremely volatile situation, and almost certainly resulted in human injury or death.

KWS hosted a meeting Saturday attended by locals and government officials to discuss the recent killings.

“The discussions centered on exploring ways to minimize the risk of human-wildlife conflict, including developing early warning systems to alert communities to the presence of wildlife in their vicinity,” said the KWS.

“Further discussions centered on the wider picture of exploring human-wildlife conflict in the context of community livelihoods and benefit sharing towards a harmonious coexistence in the open community and wildlife landscapes,” it added.

 

The presence of lions in and around human settlements is one of the amazing unique qualities of life in Africa. However, it poses obvious dangers. 

Read ‘6 lions killed in Kitengela: operation ‘Linda Ng’ombe, KWS to blame?‘ on an earlier incident in which lion were killed and how, in this earlier instance, much could have been done to stop it.

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