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.

Alan, who died a day later.

Alan, who died a day later.

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.

Kolua Kikanae with Bibi, who was born in 1998.

Kolua Kikanae with Bibi, who was born in 1998.

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.      

4th December 2015, we received calls from game rangers informing us of the lion poisoning. we arrived at the scene with mobile veterinary officers trying to save the lives of these animals. The equipment included a dart gun, VHF radios, GPS, Camera, binoculars, medicines among other equipment.

We camped for six days closely monitoring the movement and behavior of the remaining Marsh pride members an attempt that has proven to be tricky. We had a small tent and weather conditions were not favorable. It was raining and cold during the night. sometimes lions would roar right next to the tent, and we were really scared, hippos and buffalos would also graze around the tent at times. (buffalo are one of the most dangerous animals in Africa)

We have also been doing anti-poison campaigns in villages around the Masai Mara displaying wildlife documentaries in Maasai language. While doing this, many people we encountered were willing to share their experiences with predators and many of them had a positive attitude towards lions.
At a primary school talking about importance of preserving wildlife to the local community.

At a primary school talking about importance of preserving wildlife to the local community.

Nobody knows the Mara in detail more that the Masai do, But we do welcome a blend of ideas from friends all over the world who have fallen in love with the Mara. Let’s team up and say no to animal poisoning.
If we mean well for the future generations then let’s walk the talk, let’s make the world a better place to live. Let’s skillfully maneuver around problems, let’s leave the world a better place.
Kolua Kikanae

Kolua Kikanae

I was born in Narok county, Kenya near Masai Mara National Game Reserve. I grew up knowing that the Masai live and interact with wildlife in many ways as part of our cultural way of life.
I became interested in wildlife because it is a source of income to our family and many other members of our society who are largely uneducated. I wanted to save our source of income from destruction and extinction that is why I opted to do a related course in the university. I am a young leader focusing towards wildlife conservation and sustainability.

I Met kolua on my volunteer project in Kenya. I believe he will be part of the generation that plays a crucial part in saving african wildlife. He needs a laptop for his school work if you have one you don’t need please contact him

kikanaekolua@gmail.com.  https://www.facebook.com/kolua.edward