Male lions Olomartin and his brother Oltoposat have recently been overthrown from their strong hold by three younger males. As a result, these two have moved into a different territory with many Maasai bomas (livestock corrals). Unfortunately, Olomartin and Oltoposot have seized on this opportunity and turned their attention to livestock, in particular attacking Maasai bomas (corrals) at night. During December they killed numerous calves, donkeys, and goats in three communities of Mbirikani Group Ranch. However, in January they appear to have developed their own particular style of boma raiding – strap lining. They are now killing livestock in high numbers across neighboring bomas. However, as they are promptly chased away the livestock are left for dead and their hunger unabated. In one night they killed 13 livestock and the following night another five calves. Such killing is uncommon for lions. You can only imagine the losses that these Maasai communities were feeling, and we as conservation stakeholders needed to address the situation immediately.
We decided that the best way forward would be to collar one of the males so as to be able to keep tabs on their night-time movements and actively chase them away from bomas. In a frantic 24 hour period, we teamed up with Big Life Foundation and the Kenya Wildlife Service. We located the two lions after a full day of tracking their footprints from the bomas that they had hit the night before, and fortuitously managed to collar Olomartin. Everything came together perfectly – a timely orchestrated collaboration on the ground by three different entities, resulting in exactly what we had originally planned.
Since the collar was deployed, night time patrols have been ongoing and to date the lions have not been able to kill any livestock. A welcome respite for the local communities and an intervention that we hope will save the lives of these lions. We will continue to monitor them closely.