Sikiria the wandering lion returns
Sikiria the lion is known well by all the Lion Guardians. He was first discovered in Eselenkai in October last year and was aptly named Sikiria (meaning ‘donkey’ in Maa) due to an incident when he and his three other male companions killed a number of donkeys. Since October of last year he and his closest companion Oyayai (Oyayai means ‘porcupine’ in Maa, as he was seen with a number of quills lodged in his chin!) went walkabout. Here is Sikiria.
Being male lions, they possibly decided to have a wander around to find a suitable place to claim as their own territory. But their wanderings took them to places that nobody expected them to go! All of the Lion Guardians across Olgulului, Eselenkei and Mbirikani spent countless days searching their zones for two male tracks and the signal from Sikiria’s collar. For months and months they were missing. Eventually, in early May, they was rediscovered in Eselenkei group ranch again!
Once Sikiria’s GPS collar was downloaded everyone was shocked to see that Sikiria and Oyiayi had covered roughly 4000Kms2; going all the way into Tanzania and far west along the Tanzania/Kenya border. Their vast movement made us realise the importance for the project to expand into other areas to keep the population of lions under constant monitoring.
Since May of this year, Sikiria and Oyayai have begun to settle as residents of Eselenkei. They have mostly been based in the Selenkay Conservancy and can be heard roaring close to our camp every few nights. Guardians Lopono and Kamunu continue to monitor their movements as the lions occupy both of their zones. We don’t know if Sikiria and Oyaiai will decide to finally settle down in this area, but as for now it seems that they are keen to stay. The Guardians are very pleased to be able to monitor Sikiria on a daily basis, especially as he used to be rather fond of livestock, and we all hope he doesn’t disapear again!
it’s so good to see him again. but what about his companion? i do get so worried when there is sight of the other. a missing lion could be a dead one. if these boys don’t settle down in this area, maybe they can move to the area around amboseli where male lions are so rare that hyaneas are outnumbering any thing and are stealing kills from the poor lionesses.
Sikiria and Oyayai’s story highlights so well the need for the Pan African lion corridor initiative and the expansion of the Lion Guardians- and hopefully the development of similar programmes elsewhere. Human predator conflict a Pan African problem and I don’t know of any active programmes comparable to the LG’s in Southern African countries; I would be overjoyed to stand corrected.