Kenya: Six Lions Speared to Death by Maasai People for Killing Livestock Amid Drought
The killings of the lions brought into light the increasing human-wildlife conflict in many parts of East Africa that have been ravaged by a drought that has lasted many years.
MBIRIKANI (KENYA): The Maasai people of Kenya speared six lions to death by after the hungry lions wandered into the goat pen of one of the villagers and devoured almost half of his goat herd. The village is located near Kenya's famous Amboseli National Park.
The killings of the lions brought into light the increasing human-wildlife conflict in many parts of East Africa that have been ravaged by a drought that has lasted many years, according to conservationists.
The Maasai tribe is an indigenous ethnic group in Africa of semi-nomadic people settled in Kenya and northern Tanzania. The Maasai are among the foremost African ethnic groups and are known internationally because of their links to the national parks and reserves.
In the meantime, the population of predators within the parks has increased. Unbearable hunger and thirst has forced them to venture into communities and prey on domestic animals, experts said.
The villager that bore the brunt of the lions’ attack, said losing 12 goats is leading to a huge loss for his big family. "I sell these livestock in order to afford school fees. I don't know how I will afford secondary school fees for some of my children," said the father of eight children.
Compensation to livestock herders, who are losing their livestock to predators, is being offered by the Big Life Foundation, which has been running conservation programs in the area. However, the compensation provided does not tally with the present market rate for cows, goats and sheep.
Livestock Herder Joel Kirimbu opined that compensation should equal the market rate. "Cows are expensive and can cost as much as 80,000 Kenyan shillings or USD 577 each. One cannot compare 80,000 shillings to 30,000 shillings. We receive very little compensation. That is why we become angry and despite receiving compensation, we come out and kill the lions," he told AP.
Rosi Lekimankusi, a mother of five children, lamented that 13 of her goats were killed by rampaging lions in the same village of Mbirikani in Kajiado County, located just 150 kilometres from Kenya’s capital Nairobi.
She feared that such lion attacks are sure to become more common in her Maasai village, situated on the border of Amboseli national park.
The Big Life Foundation, which has been running a compensation program for 20 years, informed that it was not possible for them to pay the market price. The foundation stressed that the amount, however, is not to be disregarded as it expresses its solidarity with livestock herders, commiserating for their loss.
The conflict between humans and wildlife in Kenya often makes headlines, as tourism plays a big role in the economy of the country.
Lasting solutions to the problem is being worked on by the Kenya Wildlife Service, which would provide a solution to the conflict while providing protection to both humans and wildlife.