One of the World's Oldest Lions Among 11 Wild Cats Killed by Herders
The killings occurred in Kenya within a week and included the death of an iconic 19-year-old male lion named Loonkiito, believed to be one of the oldest wild lions in Kenya and the world
The Kenya Wildlife Service is working to better the coexistence between the country's people and its wildlife after herders killed eleven lions in one week.
The lion killings occurred in Kenya within a week and included the death of an iconic 19-year-old male lion named Loonkiito, believed to be one of the oldest wild lions in Kenya and the world, CBS News reported.
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According to the outlet, Loonkito was killed after wandering out of his home in Amboseli National Park to search for food on Thursday night. Herders speared six other lions who left the park on Saturday after the animals killed 11 goats and a dog in a village in the Mbirikani area. The deaths contributed to the 11 retaliatory lion killings reported in one week in Kenya. The high number led Kenyan officials and residents to call for a meeting on Sunday night.
The Kenya Wildlife Service explained in a social media statement that the meeting focused on bringing to light "the escalating human-wildlife conflict experienced in the area in the past two days that has resulted in the loss of 11 livestock and retaliatory killing of 11 lions" and to call for a "peaceful and harmonious coexistence between the community and wildlife."
In their statement, the Big Life Foundation, a conservation group in Kenya, advised that "the situation is being taken extremely seriously by Kenya Wildlife Service" and remains under investigation.
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"While we are relieved there were no human injuries, this isolated but tragic incident is a harsh illustration of the challenges in ensuring coexistence between humans and wildlife," the statement added. "Big Life remains committed to the well-being of both humans and animals in the Greater Amboseli ecosystem and will continue to work with the broader community who supports conservation initiatives as we recover from this event."
The Lions Group — another conservation nonprofit — also addressed the spearings in a social media statement, in which they remembered Loonkiito as "a symbol of resilience and coexistence."
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"In the following weeks and months, we hope to share the extraordinary story of Loonkiito's life with the world," the group added.
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