In the past week, herders in southern Kenya have killed ten lions in response to attacks on their livestock and domestic animals. Six of these lions were killed in a national park,
dealing a blow to conservation efforts and the tourism industry, which is a vital pillar of the country’s economy.
The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) reported that the lions were killed by herders after a pride attacked 11 goats and a dog.
The KWS stated that this is not an isolated incident, as four other lions have been killed in the previous week. The killings occurred near Amboseli National Park, which is home to some of Kenya’s most prized game, including elephants, cheetahs, buffaloes, and giraffes.
Wildlife officials have met with local communities to explore ways to minimize the risk of human-wildlife conflict, such as developing early warning systems to alert communities of the presence of wildlife in their vicinity. Lion Guardians, a conservation group, described Loonkito, an iconic 19-year-old male lion speared to death by Maasai morans (warriors) on Friday, as “a symbol of resilience and coexistence.
” In Kenya, incidents of animals escaping the grassy plains and wandering into populated areas are not unusual, as shown by a lion’s attack on a man in December 2019 and another lion’s shooting in March 2016 after it attacked a resident. According to the country’s first-ever national wildlife census conducted in 2021, there are approximately 2,500 lions in Kenya.