Biggest pride resides in Eselenkei

For survival reasons, lions outside protected areas hang out in groups of between two to three. By splitting, they stand better chances of survival from persecution after depredation of livestock. However, for the first time in the history of Eselenkei conservancy, a pride of eleven resides in it. Our female lioness Selenkay, has had two cubs from the previous litter graduate to sub-adult status and now has four little cubs. Her sister Elikan has two cubs as well. The resident male lion called Ndelie, makes the total number of lions an impressive eleven.

Selenkei and cub
Selenkay and cub

This is a new record number of lions outside the Amboseli National Park. These lions have moved from Mbirikani to Eselenkei because of the ideal and favorable climate. There are plenty of prey species and Lion Guardians are doing daily monitoring in and across the conservancy. Tourists from the nearby Amboseli- Porini camp are having a field day with such a big number of lions. Traditional lion hunts have been prohibited and the community MPT game scouts are present to enforce the rules. Thus the existing climate gives lions plenty of reasons to stay, hunt and mate as well as nurturing their little ones to maturity.

Elikan after a kill
Elikan after a kill

However, these lions are also showing a worrying trend. Since moving from Mbirikani to Eselenkei, they have killed seven cows so far, all of which are worth more than $4,000. This is cause for sleepless nights. It beats logic to understand why this pride is killing livestock in an area full of wild prey. It is our hope that they will stop killing livestock during the day and hunt what is rightfully theirs for the taking…wild prey. If they succeed in doing this, they stand a better chance of raising their second litter of cubs to maturity, which in turn will bring much joy to the Lion Guardian family.

Eselenkei pride cubs enjoying a cow
Eselenkei pride cubs enjoying a cow


  • Kate Nicholls says:

    Hmmmm worrying. . The notion they have a ‘right’ to wild prey and no ‘right’ to livestock is misplaced.Cows are easy prey and lions will always choose the most cost effective means to feed and easy pickings during the day are always going to be preferable to hunting at night.
    Are the lion Guardians able to track the lions during the day and encourage herders to move their cattle away from where the lions are hanging out? or is that unfeasible given the terrain? Once again it seems to be imperative we raise funds to sponsor more LG’s. You are doing amazing work under very tough conditions…I feel privileged to be contributing in some small way to your innovative program.

  • sauwah says:

    i wonder since they have so many hungry mouths to feed and cows are dumb animals so makes them easy targets for a quick meal. what about giving these lions some negative experience with livestock like pouring some harmless liquor on a dead goat for them to chew on; but such liquor will give them all a stomach ache? or whenever they are close to any cow, scare them and harass them away from the cows and goats. so sorry for the eaten cows. we all know such is a big loss for the owners. thank you for all your work and dedication.

  • Jimmy says:

    Are they killing these cows during the day?? – since I assume they are protected in Bomas overnight!!

  • lionguardians says:

    Sauwah – this is called Conditioned Taste Aversion – which has been tried unsuccessfully in the past by other researchers. When a lion does start spending a lot of the time near the bomas, the Lions Guardians do sometimes sit in wait and start harassing them when they get closer with lots of noise and shouts so that the lions will be more nervous about approaching bomas. Jimmy – We are finding that as the LG continue to improve the bomas, more cattle are being taken during the daytime. To help the herders figure out where to safely graze their cattle during the day, every morning the LG’s patrol their area looking for fresh lion tracks that will help them figure out where the lions are.

  • sauwah says:

    how frustrating! the lions just do not know how lucky they are with you around for them and the livestock.

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