Conservation 4: Lions

Lions are obviously dangerous animals.

They eat meat, and humans are meat. In the traditional system of the Maasai, lions were hunted, with hand-held spears, sometimes as a method of self-defence, and sometimes to prove virility. However, as was mentioned in the section on the exclusion of the Maasai from traditional grazing grounds, the wild animals are allowed to use the herders' land during the wet season, while the herders are not allowed to use the parks in the dry season. This means that the large carnivores such as lions, which will eat their cattle and sheep, are a greater threat to the Maasai (in their much restricted setting) than they previously were.

Killing of lions in Amboseli has become a problem in the last few years, as is shown in these articles from National Geographic. There is a lot more information if you search on the Internet for Amboseli and lions.

Lions 1   Lions 2    Lions 3

One of the lionesses we saw in Amboseli had a radio tag collar. Apparently, lions have been effectively exterminated from Amboseli on several occasions, and then re-introduced from South Africa. Information on this is difficult to come by.

It would be shameful if lions were to become extinct in Kenya, but it is not impossible.