Collared lions in cow killing craze

Lion Guardian Kapande has reported that a cow has been killed by a lion just a few kilometers north of our camp. He had been tracking on foot, and was sure it was one of our collared lions Nemasi, the female with three cubs. Here is Kapande with the cow.


And here you can see the scratches made by the lion…


We went to investigate and take Kapande some radio collar tracking gear. Of course his own tracking skills were correct – and he picked up Nemasi’s signal not far away. Just last week Nemasi killed another cow in the same area. Although Kapande has not been well for the last week (he has been suffering from malaria) he carried on his duties, making sure that the community does not take any action against Nemasi and her cubs. Here he is tracking.



Two days later Lion Guardian Masarie reported that another cow was killed by three lions still further north.


Masarie was sure that the offender was another one of our collared lions – this time it was a male called Kasayio with two of his friends. Kasayio had been missing for a while and we are glad that he has finally come back to the area, but were not pleased that he has returned to kill livestock. Here is Masarie tracking to confirm that it was Kasayio that killed the cow.


There have been even more reports of lions killing cows recently. Most of the animals being killed are lost livestock that are left out in the bush at night. As it has been so dry the cows are wandering far to find grass and are not coming back to their bomas at night. We hope that the rains that are here now will bring grass soon, and this spate of cow killing will stop.

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  1. Anna M
    Posted November 10, 2008 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Hopefully grass will start to grow and thank you to the lion guardians for working so hard even if they are not well!

  2. Lynne, Arkansas, US
    Posted November 10, 2008 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    Are the lions eating the cows? The pictures look like they are just killing the cows but not fully eating them. I’m sure I am mistaken here, but it’s difficult to tell. Thanks for the blog. The guardians are so dedicated, and do such a great job. I really enjoy reading about what is happening there!

  3. sauwah
    Posted November 11, 2008 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    how did the cows get out of their bomas in the first place? cows can’t jump as high as a lion or a leopard? we can’t blame the lions or any carnivores since they are natural born killer who need to consume meat to stay alive. and with the three cubs depending on her, your collar lioness was more pressured to kill any thing that moved especially at night.

    so i heard that lions are usually more careful if not timid in the day time; but at night they do become more brave.

    livestock that are loss in the bushes are like well cooked steaks dangling in front of some very hungry men. if human beings can’t resist temptation, how can we expect a mere animal smart enough to walk away?

    in conclusion, the livestock owners have much hard work to do to protect their precious animals. again, the collared lions are lucky to have you to speak for them.

  4. Posted November 11, 2008 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Lions will kill as opportunistic hunters. What a fantastic project you have instigated for both the Lions and the local people. Preserving the Lions for the future is a great thing. The cattle are part of the food chain. I also know the loss of one cow can be hard on the people that own it. When cattle are an important part of a people’s culture it’s hard for them to accept that loss – natural to want to destroy the Lion that did it. Great blog all the best for the project and for the future of all that are involved.
    Liz New Zealand

  5. Hashi-Hanta
    Posted November 11, 2008 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    My gratitude goes to Lion Guardian Kapande for continuing to try to protect the lions even when he is ill. I am praying that he feels better soon.
    I hope that the 3 cubs do not now think that the good thing to do is kill a cow.
    Do the owners of the 2 cows that were killed need to be reimbursed financially, so that they will not try to take revenge on the lions who did it? If so, do those of us who can, need to send money, specifically for this purpose?
    Without you brave, dedicated Guardians, lions could become more and more endangered and finally extinct. I thank you so much for the work you are doing.

  6. Pirjo
    Posted November 12, 2008 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Heartfelt thanks to Kapande for watching over the lions.

  7. Posted November 13, 2008 at 3:03 am | Permalink

    Thank you all for you comments. We really appreciate your supportive words. These cows were all left out of their bomas overnight, so were easy targets for lions. The owners of the cows will be reimbursed financially through a compensation program that runs on the ranch – however they will not receive the full payment because they didn’t take good care of their livestock.

  8. Lisa, Seattle
    Posted November 13, 2008 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    If the owners of the livestock decide to retaliate would Nemasi and Kasayio’s collars be any kind of a deterrent?

  9. Posted November 16, 2008 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Lisa – thank you for your comment. It is hard to know the answer to this question. Some people say that collars are a deterrent because collared animals are thought of as belonging to someone, but collared lions have been killed, so it certainly does not stop everyone.

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