Warning: Graphic Photos Below
On Friday the 5th, a male lion was killed by gunshot within our study area in Samburu county. This marks the first time a lion in our study area has been killed by people since 2010. The lion was an 8-year-old male named Loirish, which we had been monitoring since 2008. It appears that a group of warriors happened to come across Loirish as he rested with his brother, and they shot him. Tracks indicate the brother, Lguret, is alive and unharmed.
The Ewaso Lions team is still investigating the reasons for the unprovoked killing. We have experienced human-wildlife conflict in this area before, following incidents when lions attacked people’s livestock. In this situation, there seems to have been no livestock killed. An additional misfortune is that Loirish was one of our GPS collared lions that was providing important location data which we could use to help warn herders. The collar was found along with the lion’s severed head and remains in the remnants of a fire. Without the location data recorded by the collar we may never have learned of Loirish’s fate.
We are extremely saddened by the loss of Loirish, a lion we came to know well over the past five years, especially as he is only one of 40 resident lions within the Samburu region of our study area. We are still actively working with the community and local officials to determine what course of action will take place. By working with the community to understand this event, and the motivations behind it, Ewaso Lions can help to ensure that losses like this are minimized. We will provide updates as soon as we are able.