Our Guardians and lion monitoring team have been particularly busy on the ground this year, mitigating conflict and keeping lions and communities safe. Here’s some recent news from the field from our community manager Eric Ole Kesoi.
Lorpait, a male lion born near the western side of Amboseli National Park, had an unusual early life. As a young cub, he survived the loss of his mother (more here), then he formed a coalition with an unrelated male called Leliari – it’s one of the only unrelated coalitions we know of in the ecosystem (more here).
But more recently, Lorpait has entered a troubled period. After he and Leliari were pushed out of Eselenkei Group Ranch by resident male Martii, Lorpait went on a boma-raiding spree for almost two months. His companion never accompanied him during the raids, so he linked up with lioness Meoshi, and the two formed a lethal combination of boma raiders, killing many livestock and angering their owners. They have been hunted several times, but each time our Lion Guardians team, in conjunction with other conservation stakeholders, came to their rescue.
We were requested by community members to collar both of them in order to proactively mitigate conflict, but we only got permission to collar one. As if Lorpait sensed what was going on, he vanished into the thin air and remained silent for almost a month after we mock hunted him.
He was laying low and only making occasional raids until a few weeks ago, when he went back to his chronic boma-raiding behavior. The community again came to us, requesting that we collar Lorpait. We got permission from Kenya Wildlife Service a few days ago, and we intend to use his collaring as a mitigating tool to prevent conflict in the future. Interestingly, by analyzing his poop, we have determined that he has a worm problem, which may contribute to his bad behavior; we plan to deworm him when possible.
Our Guardians are out tracking Lorpait now, and we’re hoping that we can collar and treat him before he disappears yet again.