New year has not been a happy one for FoNNaP, lions, community or KWS. In the past two weeks 3 lions have been killed by the local community who claimed that KWS were ignoring their complaints about lion predation on livestock.
To achieve maximum attention the community called the press to witness the killing of lions which was broadcast across the nation at prime time. You can watch the disturbing NTV footage here
KWS reacted quickly to prevent the situation from deteriorating as happened in 2003, when the Nairobi Park lions were reduced to 8 individuals. At that time the donor community re-instated a livestock consolation scheme which had failed previously. This same scheme failed yet again in 2010.
KWS have responded through meetings with the community and have agreed to several conditions. KWS has agreed to find donors to support compensation for livestock losses to lions. The community in turn have agreed to stop killing lions. You can read the official KWS position here.
Why lions leave Nairobi Park
This is a seasonal and predictable event that occurs every time the wildlife migrates. Wildebeest and zebra leave the park as soon as rains start in search of sweet short grass. Lions follow these prey animals into the dispersal area where they encounter livestock which are easier prey for them.
What can be done to stop lions from predating on livestock?
So long as communities and lions live in the same ecosystem, incidents of predation can be assumed. However, they can be minimized with careful, planning and timing. We know that the livestock are at greatest risk during the rainy season – vigilance for lions should be increased at this time. Lion proof stockades can be employed to prevent night time predation and scare tactics used to chase lions out of the area and back to the park.
What is FoNNaP Doing?
FoNNaP is continuing to support a project with the community to monitor the lions and report all conflict incidents in all three triangles covering an area of 2,200 square kilometers with a grant from National Geographic Big Cats Initiative through WildlifeDirect. We are currently compiling a report which will be circulated to members. We are also fund raising for the construction of lion proof stockades (bomas) as a long term preventative solution. We encourage all concerned to support this project with funds and time to ensure that predation of livestock becomes a thing of the past, and lion killing does not happen in this ecosystem again.
This incident has been vigorously discussed on online forums like Kenyans for Wildlife on Facebook with strong views expressed condemning the killing of the lions. FoNNaP is working hard to ensuring that all the players collaborate in protecting the livestock and lions for the survival of the Nairobi National Park.