For several weeks , Kip (a collared male lion that lives around Amboseli N. P.) has terrorized Maasai bomas on the Tanzania border. After killing livestock in Tanzania on several consecutive nights, it was clear there was a predictable pattern. He has been the target of several hunts but has luckily escaped unscathed. However, the anger towards him increased ten-fold when, at one of these hunts, he retaliated and injured one Moran before escaping. In another hunt two bullets missed him by a whisker and he crossed back over into Kenya. Anger about his attacks did not decrease, despite the fact that he was no longer in the area. To these pastoralists, getting rid of problem lions is the only rational economic response to a costly nuisance. The lingering anger culminated last week with the death in Tanzania of an adult male lion who wasn’t Kip.
Several lions went into a boma in Tanzania and killed a cow. Kip’s previous incursions caused tolerance levels to reach their limits, so this cow’s death resulted in the morans organizing a lion hunt. An adult male was killed, and the other lions got away. The dead male lion has yet to be identified but we believe that it may be a member of Tato’s pride – who are also usually resident in Amboseli park and whom many of you have most likely seen on your trips to Amboseli (Tato herself was killed earlier this year in Tanzania in a similar scenario). The authorities in Tanzania were notified of this recent incident both before (when the hunt was being organized) and after (once the lion had been killed).
There exist different wildlife legal regimes in both countries:
The Tanzanian laws are tolerant of lion killing by community members and all that the community is required to do is to relay the information of the conflict to the relevant government authorities. Permission to kill the problem lion is granted provided community members bring back the lion trophies (teeth, paws, mane, skin and tail) to the authorities.
Kenya, owing to the critical position it finds itself with regards to rapidly decreasing lion numbers, has tight rules and regulations, and lion killing is not tolerated except in extreme situations.
However, we have been recording increasing numbers of lion deaths in Tanzania through either poisoning or spearing, of lions usually resident in Kenya. There is an urgent need for solutions to be found and implemented along the Tanzanian/Kenyan border if further lion deaths are to be prevented. The recent cross-boundary community meetings (coordinated by the African Wildlife Foundation and attended by all the local stakeholders, including Lion Guardians, Big Life Foundation (through MPT and Honeyguide Foundation) ,Enduimet WMA, TAWIRI, and KWS) concluded that conflict mitigation needs to be enhanced and tolerance levels towards lions improved or else very soon the entire Amboseli ecosystem will find itself without any lion population to talk about.
In July 2011, we began to expand the Lion Guardian program into southern Olgulului, an area where at least 12 lions had been killed in the first half of the year. Since we began our expansion into that area, no further lions have been killed. We would now like to expand our reach to the area south of the Kenya/Tanzania border. Please do your part by helping to fund our expansion into this critical area. CLICK HERE TO SUPPORT LION GUARDIANS. I, the Lion Guardians, and the fewer than 100 remaining adult lions in the area thank you in advance for your support!