During my Easter break I decided to spend some time in Samburu Game Reserve to photograph elephants. I was disappointed as most of them had scattered with the onset of the long rains, though I managed to find a few small family groups & alert.
Whilst driving a few kilometers past Larsens Camp, I came across a lioness who had killed a cow just a few minutes before I got there. Wondering where the other pride members were, I noticed 2 more cows killed on the other side of the road. The other 2 carcasses had an adult lioness, a sub-adult male & younger cub on them. It was so hot that afternoon plus a big storm was on its way so the lions didn’t feed much & sat around panting!
We found out that herders illegally bring in cattle to feed on the pasture & drink water from the river which is close by. These cattle must have wandered away from the watchful eyes of their Samburu herder. This was not a pleasant sight as cattle owners lace the carcass with poison which in turns affects wildlife that feed on the meat; this is really affecting lion & vulture populations in & around the parks/reserves. This is a management issue that needs to be tackled by the KWS & Isiolo County Council to keep people & cattle out of the parks.
Lions don’t know the difference between domestic & wild animals – to them it is their survival instinct at work & an easy prey opportunity that presented itself. Lions are fast becoming a threatened species & only we can help by ensuring strict policies are put in place. At the end of the day, it relates to proper management of our resources.
On our return the next morning we were informed that the lions were chased off from the carcasses by the cattle owners along with the authorities. Samburu & Masai people are very proud & protective of their livestock and will not hesitate to harm any predator that kills their animals. I am glad no lion was hurt or killed during the takeover!
The lions were later seen at a water hole close to the lodge drinking water. Lions need all the protection they can get as they are the Pride of Africa. Long may they live!