Tragic loss: lion speared to death

We have some sad news to report. A lion has been killed by murrans at Olgulului, the ranch bordering Amboseli National Park, and the neighbouring ranch to Mbirikani, home of the Lion Guardians.


The reason for the killing was first unclear. Some rumors reported that the lion had killed two goats and that the murrans went after it in revenge. But after further investigations it became clear that they speared this lion for trade. Two of the murrans are beach boys at the Kenyan coast and it seems they killed the lion so that they could take the claws to go and sell. Here is the paw of the lion, that was left after the claws were removed.


This is awful news for us, as the population of lions in this area is already so low, and it is a tragedy to lose another lion. It was a female lion, probably about four years old, but not one known by the Lion Guardians.


One of the factors that has led to the decline in the number of lions in this area is the low level of employment, especially for murrans – the warrior age class. We are hoping that we can raise enough funds to start up the Lion Guardians program on Olgulului too. This would give at least some of the murrans employment and an interest in conserving lions, which they will then pass on to their communities. Your donations are vitally important at this critical time, so we can try to save the few remaining lions in this area.


  • Lisa, Seattle says:

    Sad news Antony! It seems from your post that the identity of the Murrans who did this is known, will they be punished?

  • Christine C. says:

    Terrible, terrible news…I have the same questions as Lisa.

  • Dana-Phoenix Arizona says:

    Very sad news Antony. The life of a lioness for a few shillings that her claws may bring. It breaks my heart to hear this.

  • Lisa, California says:

    Such a waste of a beautiful life for a few claws. I agree with Dana. It completely breaks my heart. I hope these “beach boys” will be found and punished to the fullest extent of the law. Lisa

  • Alex says:

    Just wonder why lions do not defend themselves…

  • admin says:

    Anthony this is terrible. At the East African Wildlife Society meeting last week we learned that a lion is worth 1 million shillings for just the claws and teeth because of this unbelievable trade. You and Amy should submit a story to SWARA asap to bring this out, and send a report to KWS demanding action to be taken. What can we do to help you?

  • Dana-Phoenix Arizona says:

    1 million shillings = $15,677 US dollars. I’m sure the two “beach boys” didn’t get that much – There has to be middlemen involved. Yes the KWS have to be notified. Who would by these trinkets? Are the claws and teeth supposed to have healing powers, etc.?

  • Thank you all – your donations and supportive comments are greatly appreciated. I have no more news about the details yet, but will keep you posted as soon as I can answer your questions. I cannot imagine who would buy lion claws either. It is so hard to believe, and so sad.

  • sauwah says:

    in order to stop this business of killing lions, the kenyan government must stop such trade of parts of any big cats. the kenyan wildlife agency should track down the shop owner/businessman; then flap him with a very heavy fine and a warning ( any more buying and selling of big cats’ parts will result in the loss of his shop and his freedom).

    the beach boys should be shamed by his elders and his peers. since the punishment by the court is usually light, peer pressure works better i think. if these boys can get serious attention from the lionguardians, hopefully they and others like them will not do it again.

    sorry for the death of such young lioness or any wildlife for a few lousy shillings. a claw or a tooth is only a claw or a tooth because neither are attractive nor lucky.

  • Hashi Hanta says:

    Anthony, I am truly sickened by this horrible news. On the reservation where I live, in another village, we recently had a mountain lion killed. It was coming into the village and killing dogs and cats and people were afraid that children could be next. I see they had reason, but it broke my heart. At least here, I don’t think that anyone would kill a lion for claws. I am truly grateful to you and the other warriors who take such risk to protect our 4-legged brothers and sisters.

    Tohono O’odham Nation (within the USA)

  • Thank you everyone for your comments â?? KWS do know about this incident already, and we have been given reports that one of the murrans has been arrested, while the other two are currently in hiding but are being searched for.

    Alex â?? you were wondering why the lions do not defend themselves. They often do try to defend themselves â?? but the hunters are clever, and throw spears from a distance, or spear the lion when it is distracted. This particular lion was apparently speared when it was attacking a dog â?? which gave them the chance to kill it.

    Dana – We are not aware of the claws and teeth having any healing powers. It seems they are just sold as trinkets.

    Sauwah – I agree completely about peer pressure â?? that is exactly what we try to do with the Lion Guardians program, and here on Mbirikani it seems to work. We donâ??t have Guardians working in the area that the spearing happened â?? we are hoping to expand so that in the future our Guardians will be able to persuade other murrans not to kill lions too.

    Hashi â?? I am sorry to hear about the mountain lion killed in your area. Thank you for your continued support.

  • sally says:

    Now, before I write this I realize it may be a little contraversial…I want to start by saying I’m really glad for what the lion guardians and wildlifedirect are doing and so happy to have an outlet to help out with these situation. It is so sad that these amazing animals are being poached and this needs to be stopped. However, before you start saying the boys need to be punished and shunned by their elders let us first remember that these are areas of amazing poverty that most of us are completley unable to understand…This is not an excuse. I’m just putting it out there that these are complex issues, which require complex solutions that take many aspects into consideration. We need conservation and also to deal with poverty at the same time so the people who actually have to survive in these areas are not pushed to take such horrific actions, that way these types of situations can be somewhat avoided in the future…especially if proper education on the issues is provided…. I was really glad to read about the different aspects that were looked at in the lion guardian action plan, but less pleased with the lack of understanding of the actions that people in situations of extreme poverty feel they must take to get by that I read in the comments many people left above… Again, not an excuse, poaching is flat out wrong, but it’s a consideration that must be thought about as well if this sort of thing is going to be stopped…

    (more a message for the people who were leaving messages then the lion guardian people…)

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