One of Kenya’s oldest wild lions was killed by herders and the government has raised concerns that six more lions were speared in another village on Saturday, bringing the number of lions killed in the past week alone to 10.
The male lion named Loonkiito was 19 years old and described as frail by Kenya Wildlife Service spokesman Paul Jinaro, who said he left Amboseli national park to a village in search of food on Thursday night.
Six other lions from the same national park were impaled by herders after killing 11 goats in the Mbirikani area, Kajiado county. The deaths brought to 10 the number of lions killed by herders last week in an escalating human-wildlife conflict that has worried the government.
Tourism Minister Peninah Malonza met locals in the Mbirikani area on Sunday and urged them not to release roaming lions and instead to contact the wildlife service.
The government and conservation groups have a compensation program for herders whose cattle are killed by wild animals.
But herders have become more protective after losing livestock to a drought that has been called the worst in decades in the East African region.
Craig Miller of the conservation group Big Life Foundation said Loonkiito’s killing «was unfortunate» because he was the oldest lion in Amboseli National Park.
Wild lions rarely live more than 15 years, according to conservationists.