Three lions killed in Kitengela over conflict – KWS respond

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.


7 responses to “Three lions killed in Kitengela over conflict – KWS respond

  1. This is not the first time where the public has complained that KWS has taken too long to respond to their complaints. Is there a problem?
    I wish improvements can be made to ensure that the public reporting system to KWS is more effective and KWS response is more swift. Our wild life is precious…thats four lions less on our already dwindling population!

  2. This is indeed a sad event, but not surprising to everyone who knows Nairobi National Park and the anger that inhabitants of the Kitengela feel over losing their livestock. However, those same livestock owners would accept the loss of the occasional domestic animal if they were promptly and fairly compensated for the value of those animals. Of course, human nature being what it is, if money were to be had, it would be accompanied by temptation to file fraudulent claims for livestock losses. KWS would have to administer this compensation scheme with all appropriate checks in place, including ways to confirm the death of livestock and the owners of same, and transparent accounting of the funds used to pay compensation to those owners so there would be no leakage out the back door.

    Another way to look at this problem is that people protect what they own that is of value to them. If local communities were actually made to be the owners of specific lions or families of lions, complete with certificates of title and clear, detailed text and photo descriptions issued by KWS, and received a direct annual stream of income from that ownership, then they would probably protect those lions with their own lives. That stream of income could be combined with compensation for livestock killed by lions. KWS would continue to provide necessary technical assistance, including measures to keep the lions in the park or appropriate migratory zones outside the park, periodic counts and documentation, veterinary treatment, etc.

    The coment about KWS soliciting donations to pay compensation for lost livestock is interesting. However, if they want to get people to send money, they need to set up a proper fund, with transparent accounting by a legitimate accounting firm. While it might be based in Nairobi at KWS, it could have branches in various countries through cooperating organizations like AWF or WWF so that people of a given country would feel more confident sending money to a known entity within their own country. KWS might also consider incentives, such as sending donors a photo of a lion pride or family that their donation has helped protect. Be sure to include cute newborn cubs!! This kind of thing is done, for example, with wild horses on Assateague Island here in Maryland. In return for your donation, you receive a photo of a specific horse with its name. Kids really like this, and can hang the photo in their room. It serves as a constant reminder of the link, which encourages renewed annual donations. If the idea of linking local communities to specific lion families were to be adopted, donors would receive a photo of members of that community, including both adults and, naturally, cute kids, along with the photo of the lions they are helping.

    I would like to hear what others think. Cheers

  3. After viewing the You Tube news coverage, I just wanted to add another comment. I don’t know that much Swahili, but I definitely felt that the residents who spoke to the cameras were articulate, speaking without awkward pauses, and were very serious. The entire crowd was somber and serious. There was none of the laughing, yelling, jumping up and down and clowning for the camera that often accompanies local news coverage. To me, this testified to the genuine concern of these people, and they should be listened to and taken seriously by KWS. I do not think that this will negatively affect tourism at all if it is taken seriously, and if guides and KWS explain to tourists the reality of the conflict between predators and domestic livestock owners in a unique park like NNP. Some tourists are naive, but with global communications and education, I believe that more and more tourists understand this kind of conflict and can sympathize with both the lions and the livestock owners. I’m a bit unusual, but if I were a tourist in Nairobi, I would really appreciate an opportunity to go out with a guide and visit the communities in the Kitengela who have to confront problems with the lions. We would probably need an interpreter, but it would be a very educational experience. It would also be a way to bring recognition, respect and income to those residents. They live closer to the lions than most people, and they could tell stories that would make a tourists hair stand up, It would be fascinating to get both sides, to see lions in the wild with no other humans around, as in the Mara, and also to see lions through the eyes of people who have to live right next to them.

  4. Why doesn’t KWS get an efficient EMERGENCY RESPONSE TEAM & circulate HOTLINE numbers for such incidents so that WILDLIFE is saved & not massacred every time!! Truly this is NOT rocket science!!! This has been happening for years & we have seen many NNP Lions & some entire prides wiped out. This park needs to be fenced & managed professionally. We are in a Capital City & people can’t tolerate animals roaming freely! Simple equation may be ANIMALS IN & HUMAN OUT! How long can we dream of an open eco system in a CITY? How many LIONS need to be prosecuted? SAVE NNP & its LIONS before its too late! Or you may soon PAVE PARADISE & put up a PARKING LOT!! Very depressing to loose our Big Cats which are increasingly becoming a vulnerable species!

  5. It’s much like most of Kenya’s wildlife problems and the governments inefficeny to do anythng about it. Compared to Southern African countries like Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, Kenya, once THE wildlife destination fullstop, is now merely a short step from becoming a wildlife wasteland. Do the research and compare game numbers in the ’70’s, where sustainable utilisation in the form of hunting, etc,. worked hand in hand with planned wildlife management, in comparison to today. Kenya is in a shocking state and its wildlife is given surprisingly little interest considering that Kenya is so dependent on its tourism industry. Campfire projects, opening large areas that are not national parks to private enterprises that mamage them for eco-tourism purposes, limited hunting, etc,. are the only ways to create buffer zones between parks and people and to increase habitat for wildlife. It works with private concessions in Mozambique, Tanzania, Botswana, etc,. that involve the community so why not in Kenya?

  6. elephants in meru are a nuisance. if u dont come for these elephants trust me pple wanna kill them n u continue to complain abt poarching

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