Eric, the Lion Guardian coordinator on Eselenkei and Olgulului group ranches gives us the latest news from what is still a battlefield between lion and Maasai:
In what has become a daily occurrence over the last two months, our Lion Guardians team has yet again worked together with our conservation partners to stop a lion hunting party in Mbirikani Group Ranch. A lone lioness jumped into a boma, injured 2 goats, was chased away and within no time pounced again. She jumped into another boma, and most cows scampered to safety but one cow was not so lucky. It was seriously injured by the claws, weight and strong teeth of the lion. The lion left in its wake destruction and eventually death as all livestock injured died within a few hours of the attack.
Sadly, the morans (warriors) decided to get revenge for their dead livestock. A group of 28 able-bodied men was on its way, their hearts and minds set on killing the lioness. It took a combination of all stakeholders and the Lion Guardian team for the lion hunting party to be stopped, amidst free flowing tears….a sign of the intense emotions and anger involved, as well as the strong attachment that the Maasai have for their few remaining livestock. Clearly, it was our persuasive diplomatic skills that won the day and for this our lions live to see another day.
Great efforts and resources are needed to address the great magnitude of challenges created by the last prolonged drought that brought an imbalance between predators and the plains game inside and outside Amboseli National Park. The last prolonged drought was an optimum time for carnivores. Now, they are completely desperate, and yet they have to survive. Meanwhile, Maasai morans are ready to use what they have used for years to protect their livestock…..the spear. I strongly feel that deep in my heart, the future of the pride that I am so much attached to is far from secure.