A few weeks ago three camels were killed by lions in Northern Laikipia, Kenya. We knew the situation was dire and unfortunately, the COVID-19 crisis meant that most of our team were scattered across the country and unable to urgently attend the scene due to travel restrictions.
The following day while our team was at the affected community we received a report about eight dead vultures. A team from Ol Maisor Ranch and the Coexistence Co-op went to the area where they discovered a grisly poisoning scene consisting of one jackal, one Hooded Vulture, seven Ruppell’s Vulture, and 11 Tawny Eagles.
They took photographs and buried the carcasses to prevent further poisonings as they had been trained to do. The following morning they returned and discovered another dead jackal and one more Ruppell’s Vulture. The carcasses were burnt and no lions were killed.
While this retaliatory poisoning was highly unfortunate it is important to understand the extent of predator conflict this community has endured in recent months. Over a period of three days in late December, this community lost 10 cows and 1 camel to lions, as well as 1 sheep to a leopard. The affected households showed the utmost restraint by not retaliating against the predators. We also attribute this to the support of a key leader within the community.
It is also important to note that our Coexistence Training team has trained three groups from this community about poisoning awareness and how to build predator-proof bomas. Individual households have since built approximately 20 predator-proof bomas. Our joint team of Lion Rangers and Coexistence Trainers provide on-going support, awareness, advice on fortifying the bomas and assistance with reporting to KWS.
While this event was extremely unfortunate it emphasizes how programmes like the Coexistence Co-op – a partnership between The Peregrine Fund and Lion Landscapes – are extremely important to help communities prevent and mitigate human-wildlife conflict as well as to understand the risks of retaliatory poisoning for both humans and wildlife.
We thank Alex Nawoi, Ol Maisor Ranch, Ezekiel Sikuku for their professional response to the incident.