Lion Guardians see rare python attack!

The Lion Guardians team over in Eselenkei group ranch was out looking for a group of 2 unknown lions that had been reported to us, when we heard strange noises from afar. A few more kilometers further and the noise was suddenly clear, loud and close! With the help of a spotlight, we saw some eyes shining in the dark…. and then saw the source of the noise – more than 6 hyenas and several jackals were making a violent attack….Their victim? A 12 foot long python!

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They tore into its body from the back, and were taking their share while the upper part of the python was still alive! The Lion Guardian team was shocked and surprised at the same time, having never seen anything like it before.

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What a rare sight it was to see these carnivores attacking a python! But this is just the tip of a very big iceberg. The severe drought that has only recently come to an end has changed everything in the area. Carnivore starvation in the coming weeks is inevitable. The Amboseli ecosystem has lost over 80% of the lion and hyenas’ prey, and we are currently faced with heavy livestock predation, a devastating blow for the Maasai who already have vastly depleted livestock herds due to the drought. Here is Lion Guardian Kapande with a cow that had been killed by a lion.

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The viability of the Amboseli ecosystem after this drought is at stake. But what can be done? We have designed a simple but effective solution to stop carnivores preying on livestock: the Lion Guardians help communities protect their herds by reinforcing their livestock enclosures (bomas). They help their communities to improve their herding practices, inform them about lion movements and help develop warning systems that alert people when lions are nearby. Here are some of the Lion Guardians next to a boma they were working on.

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These simple but practical measures have substantially reduced livestock losses that spur retaliatory attacks against carnivores and this in turn has minimized lion deaths. Please help us continue this valuable work by making a donation to the Lion Guardians project on this blog. Your support pays the wages of the Guardians and allows the project to keep on running and expanding to cover a larger area. We are very grateful for any donations you can make. Thank you from all the Lion Guardians team.

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5 Comments

  1. Rebecca, Australia
    Posted January 5, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Poor python.

    I dread the thought of carnivores starving to death. Do you really think that’s going to happen or do you think they will be able to find just enough food to stay alive?

    Will the herbivores start breeding again soon or is it too early for that?

  2. Jim from Mass USA
    Posted January 5, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    Your post, “Lion Guardians see rare python attack!” cited by Mongabay.com:

    “Starving hyenas kill and eat 12-foot-long python during drought”, Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com, January 05, 2010

    http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0105-hance_hyena.html

  3. Posted January 6, 2010 at 4:43 am | Permalink

    There has been a lot of rain recently so we hope the herbivores will be thriving soon. The ecosystem is in serious threat, but these large predators that live outside national parks have developed great skill at finding food when it is scarce. We hope this will stand them in good stead while times are hard, and we will make sure we keep you up to date on the blog!

  4. Merrill
    Posted January 6, 2010 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Is it possible to use dogs to keep the lions/hyenas/etc away from livestock? I read about this somewhere…

  5. Rebecca, Australia
    Posted January 6, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Merrill the technique of using dogs to protect domestic animals was pioneered by CCF to protect cheetahs from farmers and livestock from cheetahs, but as I understand it, they are used on traditional farm plots with fences in Namibia, whereas the Masaai are semi-nomadic in the areas where Lion Guardians work so training the dogs to work in that situation would probably be quite a bit different (not impossible though I’m sure).

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