Kenya’s Oldest Lion, Loonkiito, Among 10 Killed by Herders in Recent Attacks
Kenya’s government is expressing concern after herders killed one of the country’s oldest wild lions. In addition, on Saturday, six more lions were speared at another village, bringing the total number of lions killed to 10 in just one week.
Kenya’s government concerned about recent lion killings by herders
Kenya’s government is worried about the recent killing of wild lions by herders. Last week, 10 lions were killed, including one of the country’s oldest lions, Loonkiito, who was 19 years old and had wandered out of Amboseli national park in search of food. Paul Jinaro, a spokesperson for the Kenya Wildlife Service, described Loonkiito as frail. On Saturday, six more lions were speared in another village.
Six more lions were killed by herders in a village after they attacked and killed 11 goats in the Mbirikani area of Kajiado County in Kenya. This brings the total number of lions killed by herders to 10 in the past week, leading to an escalation in human-wildlife conflict that has raised concerns for the government. The Minister of Tourism, Peninah Malonza, met with locals in the Mbirikani area to appeal to them to stop spearing wandering lions and to contact the Kenya Wildlife Service instead.
Human-wildlife conflict poses major challenge for conservationists
Wild animals such as lions may wander beyond protected areas in search of food when their natural prey becomes scarce. This can bring them into conflict with human communities who may retaliate by killing the animals or to protect their livestock. This human-wildlife conflict is a major challenge faced by conservationists and local communities in many parts of the world.
The government and conservation groups have a compensation program for herders whose livestock is killed by wild animals, but herders have become increasingly protective of their livestock due to a severe drought that has affected the East Africa region.
Craig Miller from the Big Life Foundation commented on the killing of Loonkiito, stating that it was unfortunate as he was the oldest lion in Amboseli National Park. Miller also noted that it is rare for wild lions to live past 15 years, according to conservationists.