Two days ago I received the saddening news of the death of Loonkito, the iconic 19-year-old male lion I wrote about in another blog post!
Conservationists are now again, like always after such incidents, calling for better protection for wild animals in Kenya. And like always this will probably lead to nothing!
According to witnesses Loonkito was recently seen in good health (taking into account his legendary age), accompanied by one of his sons.
He was speared to death by Maasai morans (warriors) after straying into a livestock pen on the borders of Amboseli National Park in search of food. According to Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) spokesman Paul Jinaro, the lion had issues getting prey on its own, and livestock was an easy target.
Loonkito was the oldest male lion in the wild and a symbol of resilience and coexistence, and his legacy will be shared with the world in the following weeks and months, according to conservation group Lion Guardians.
The death of Loonkito follows a growing trend of human-wildlife conflicts in areas adjacent to national parks.
Protecting livestock from lion attacks can be a challenging task, but there are several methods that can be used to minimize the risk of conflict. One of the most effective ways is by placing livestock in predator-proof bomas or enclosures at night. Herders can also use deterrents such as flashing lights, noise-making devices, or guard dogs or even donkeys to keep lions away from their livestock. Additionally, proper grazing management can reduce the risk of conflict by ensuring that livestock do not encroach on lion territory. But unfortunately, herders in Kenya are wellknown to rather kill lions than to find ways to co-exist.
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