Another lioness is speared, but the worst is behind us

Eric tells us about the sad second spearing of a lioness on Mbirikani, but brings us the good news that calm is now retuning to the area:

The Maasai community has been known since time immemorial to be completely dependant on their livestock. The love they attach to their livestock is second to none and cannot be measured. It’s their life and soul. The retaliatory killing of lions (termed olikiyoi) by Maasai pastoralists is therefore not something new to anybody familiar with their tradition. In Mbirikani Group Ranch, members have been tolerant of lions for the last 6 years owing to the success of the Predator Compensation Scheme, Maasailand Preservation Trust, Lion Guardians and other conservation approaches. Stakeholders within the Amboseli ecosystem have been very proud of Mbirikani.

However, over the last weeks the peaceful environment has been shattered. After our Lion Guardians team, MPT game scouts and KWS rangers successfully stopped more than 10 lion hunting parties, a political motive drove things out of control. The leadership of the group ranch for reasons as yet unknown, incited members of the communities of Mbirikani to go out and kill lions. Narika, the lioness with 3 cubs was the first to go. As explained in our account of this sad event, the Lion Guardians and MPT scouts had been ordered to stand down by local leadership. Without their critical intervention, the situation was a disaster waiting to happen. Unfortunately, this was not to be the end of the story.

A few days later, the new young moran age group (known as Iltuati) who are soon to come through to full moran-hood, took advantage of the political message. They had their own agenda – to prove to all that they are now ready to assume the role of warriors, or morans, a defensive unit for the community.

The group found Mbeuti, a lioness who divides her time between Kuku and Mbirikani Group Ranches. She had her 2 cubs who are 13 months old with her. The morans chased them for about 2km. Thankfully the cubs escaped and Mbeuti managed to put up a fight, seriously injuring one of the morans, but she was eventually killed. We were all devastated. All the 20 culprits were immediately arrested. Here is Mbeuti and her cubs.

Mbeuti and cubs_compressed

The Lion Guardians team, MPT and KWS are currently working to resolve the political impasse that has gripped Mbirikani Group Ranch, and we are pleased to report that things are looking positive, and it seems calm is returning to this previously peaceful area. No lions have been killed here since Mbeuti’s death and we are hoping she was the final victim in this sad episode. We will bring you more news as we can, but as you can imagine this is a very busy time for us. We all very much appreciate your support during this extremely difficult time.

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11 Comments

  1. Little M.
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    How many of these beautiful animals are they going to kill before it ends. Why do people never learn? When will killing other living creatures for revenge end? So very sad. Heartbreaking. You have your work cut out for you. Best of luck.

  2. ana zinger
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    How sad! Another lion lost….Where will this end, my god?

  3. Brenton H
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    All of your supporters around the world are thinking of you at this difficult time. I encourage anyone considering it to sponsor one of the Lion Guardians or to get a group of friends to do so. Those Maasai dedicated to animals and ecosystems need our financial support to do the important and necessary work in their communities.
    Please say ‘hello’ to Kamunu for me, please. Hopefully, things are peaceful for all on Eselenkei

  4. sauwah
    Posted April 21, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    killing this poor lioness was not right at all since apparently she had not done any killing of live stock. and those twenty or so young men were just stirring up troubles and killing one lioness who had only her own teeth and claws to defend her life and her offspring was one big show and no more. let’s hope the leaders of that range turn their attention to something useful for their people and the future of their young instead of killing some animals. please let us know what is the fate of the guilty men after this arrest.

  5. Sonja
    Posted April 21, 2010 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    Keep your heads up, and thank you for all your work! People a world away are thinking of and rooting for you.

  6. Posted April 22, 2010 at 3:42 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much Brenton, Sauwah and Sonja. Your comments are always uplifting, understanding, and encouraging.

  7. sauwah
    Posted April 23, 2010 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    one thing that worries me and i am sure all of us and that is her cubs are far too young to be on their own since they are only 13 months old. do they belong to a pride and there are aunts who will hunt and protect them? if not, they are just two more victims to this really sad case ( this awful long drought which has brought out the worse in every one from the young men and the hungry and desperate lions ).

  8. Posted April 23, 2010 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Hi Sauwah – yes there is an aunt who we are hoping will take over mothering the cubs, but we have not had any sightings of her or the cubs yet. We will update you as soon as we have some news.

  9. Pirjo
    Posted April 24, 2010 at 1:35 am | Permalink

    I just want to let you know that I’m following this blog every day and keep myself updated on everything you report to us donors. It’s just that I’m too distressed to comment and I feel far too emotional about these lion killings to stay calm and collected..

    I value very highly everything the Lion Guardians are doing for protecting wildlife and predators in particular, because their situation is far from solved.

  10. Posted April 27, 2010 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Thank you Pirjo, and we hope that the worst is now over. We would like to thank all our donors and blog readers for their support.

  11. Jess
    Posted July 6, 2010 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    I wish I had enough money to say to the Maasai people that any cattle killed by a lion would be replaced. If I ever strike it rich I would. I know it is tragic that another lioness has died but these people do not kill the lions for sport. They depend on their cattle and when they lose one to a lion, they suffer and their families. There should be a program in place where the Maasai people can get monetary compensation for their loss.

One Trackback

  1. By Missing cubs – an update! – Lion Guardians on June 25, 2010 at 9:48 am

    [...] may remember the sad events of a few months ago that led to the spearing of the lioness Mbeuti, who was attacked by the new young moran age group, during a very difficult period for [...]

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