Monday, June 4, 2012

Suburban Lions of Kenya

The lions of Nairobi National Park have taken a fancy to the leafy suburbs and gardens of Langata which borders the park. See the map below.  The park is labelled "Mugumoini".

Picture showing the close proximity of Nairobi NP to the suburbs.
Photo by urbangarden

Quite understandably they are causing anxiety amongst the local inhabitants. Pet dogs have been eaten. "It was just bones and a bit of skin". When will the first child be taken? Stephanie Dloniak has a "lion lockdown" at dusk to protect her family. The kids are comprehensively grounded from 5:30 pm onwards. You can see her point. She photographed a lion sliding under her garden fence.

View Larger Map

It is the classic clash between human and big cat. This normally occurs when humankind gradually encroaches upon big cat territory which brings the two into conflict. Invariably the cat losses the battle in the long run. The sad truth is that this sort of thing will get worse. It has to because the human population is expanding and the lion population is deceasing in Africa. The lion is assessed as vulnerable by the IUCN Red List™. The people living in the suburbs of Nairobi are feeling vulnerable too.

In this instance, it is believed that the lions of Nairobi NP are moving out of the park because:
  1. They have be socialised to the human. They are familiar with people.
  2. Male lions may have forced one of the lionesses out of the park. This is because incoming males kill cubs and females sometimes defend their cubs or in this instance go elsewhere. Other females followed.
  3. The gardens are attractive for prey - e.g. dogs.
When push comes to shove and trapping the lions and shipping them back to the park finally fails, the police will be compelled to shoot them. One less lion in a declining population. Sounds a bit dysfunctional doesn't it?

No comments:

Search This Blog