Villagers in the township of Kitengela, near the Nairobi National Park, ambushed and speared to death a pride of lions that had been killing their livestock. The villagers said the lions had been preying on livestock belonging to herders in the community.
According to Daily Mail, a band of Masai spearmen from the village of Ol-Koita in Kitengela, laid ambush and killed six adult lions after the big cats killed 28 sheep and goats the previous night.
Standard Media reports that the men, armed with spears and swords, surrounded the animals and attacked them. One of the men said: “We fought them with our spears and swords. For only ten minutes, the six lions were dead."
Then men then kept a vigil all night, blocking escape routes, but two lions managed to escape.
African Spotlight reports that the beasts had strayed from the Nairobi National Park and entered a pen where the sheep and goats were locked for the night. The lions reportedly killed the livestock at around 1 a.m.(+3GMT).
After owners of the livestock raised alarm, armed men surrounded the lions and killed them. Three Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officials arrived at the scene at around 3 a.m. to stop the men from killing the lions. But the men had killed six before they arrived.
A resident, said: “We killed them in less than 10 minutes because KWS were slow to act". African Spotlight reports Kitengela Elparago Land Owners Association member James ole Turere, accused KWS of failing to work with the community to protect their livestock. He said: “We have reported several cases about livestock killed by the beasts but nothing much has been done.”
Standard Media reports that the residents said that the lions from the Nairobi National park had been roaming the area and inflicting losses on the local community. The locals claimed that the lions have attacked more than 48 homesteads since April this year and killed more than 100 goats, sheep and cattle.
According to Standard Media, Athi River North area chief Nickson Parmisa, said his area was the most affected. He expressed frustration with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), saying that he has lost 65 sheep since April. He said: “I work with the Government but I think this is sheer negligence on the part of KWS. Yesterday (Tuesday) we summoned the community warden because the animals have been attacking every night but he never showed up."
He also claimed that the authorities have refused to compensate them for previous losses. Turere said: “If only we could be compensated for our animals, we would have no problem. Why do we talk about foreign exchange for the country when the area residents are being impoverished?"
Daily Mail reports that Francis Kasha, a livestock owner who lost some of his livestock to the lions said incidents have been on the increase recently. He said herders were forced to take action to protect their livestock.
Kasha said: "We have witnessed a great tragedy when lions come to eat our goats. This time they came at about 3.30am. We gathered as we waited for Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) officials to come and catch the lions, but some people became too rowdy and it was impossible to stop them from killing the lions."
Kasha added: "I am very bitter. Recently I lost 15 goats, and to date, KWS have not been here.I did not kill any lions then, but right now we have been forced to kill the lions and we are feeling very bad because this is national heritage and a source of income for our country.We would like to request KWS officials to work closely with us to prevent such incidents."
Wildlife Act does not provide compensation for loss of animalsStandard Media reports that Nairobi National Park senior warden Mark Cheruiyot, ruled out compensation for the loss. He said that the current Wildlife Act does not provide compensation for loss of animals. He said the act only caters for human injury.
Cheruiyot appealed to parliament to pass the Wildlife Bill that would provide compensation to those who lose livestock to wild animals. He said: “Our hands are tied. If we had the powers to compensate, we would do so. We encourage the locals to engage in eco-tourism like some do in other parks such as Amboseli."
NTV Kenya reports, however, that police and KWS officers said Wednesday morning that they are trying to identify the men who killed the lions.
The KWS officials denied the villagers' claim that the lions mauled 28 sheep. The officials said the lions killed only 4 goats. According to Julius Kipngetich, those responsible for killing the lions will be charged to court once they are arrested. He described the villagers' action as an act of sabotage.
According to Daily Mail, reports of conflicts between local residents and wildlife have been an issue for a long time in Kenya. Kenya's wildlife authorities say the country has been losing an average of 100 lions a year in the past seven years.
Wildlife experts say the situation is worrisome because the lions are major tourist attraction and contribute to the nation's economy. But they said nothing about the "economy" of ordinary people who lose livestock to the lions