When the Famous Marsh Lion Pride Was Poisoned In Kenya, There Was A Race To Save The Remaining Members.
On the 3rd December 2015, the poisoning is alleged to have taken place after the Masai Herdsmen of the Olare Orok village illegally brought cattle on to the Reserve and three were killed by the lions.
The angry Masai herdsmen allegedly planted the body of a dead cow laced with poison in the area inhabited by the Marsh pride. Grazing of livestock on the reserve is illegal, but it has increased dramatically, as herdsmen are bringing their cattle on to the Reserve in there thousands, which results in the lions natural prey being scared away. Two Herdsmen have been charged with the poisoning
Eight lions were poisoned and three died. Bibbi the queen of the Mara was 17 years old and the oldest lioness in the Mara, seven year old Siena who went missing and is believed to have died and a sub adult male called Alan, who was recovering from the poisoning but was to weak to avoid being trampled on by buffalo and had to be euthanized. In addition at least six vultures have also died.
Poisoning can be devastating to wildlife as not only could it have wiped out the whole pride, but also scavengers such as jackals, hyenas and vultures. Who are all vital part of the ecosystem.
African lion population has almost halved in the last three decades and continues to decline. Presently there maybe as few as 20,000 free roaming lions. They went extinct in 26 countries due to habitat loss, hunting, poaching, retaliatory killings by livestock owners and loss of prey.
Five lions survived the poisoning after being treated. One of the people to help the surviving lions was Kolua Kikanae, who was an intern on a six week placement at the Kenyan wildlife trust assisting Dr. Nic Elliot monitoring the movements and behavior of the lions in Masai Mara Game Reserve. Kolua shares his Experience and his hopes.