Written by Iain Olivier, MWCT Conservation Director
Large carnivores have large space requirements and maintaining populations is difficult without individuals coming into contact with humans, causing conflict. The Lion is a prime example of this situation and in the past 100 years the global range of lion has declined by 75%. In Kenya, lion numbers are declining in the south of the country due to conflict with local communities. Between 2001 and 2008, over 130 lion were killed in the Tsavo-Amboseli Ecosystem.
Within the Kuku Group Ranch, a part of this ecosystem, human-lion conflict is high. In June 2016, we collared a young male lion, named Lentim who was increasingly involved in conflicts which had led to the poisoning of one of his coalition brothers. Using data gained via his collar, we prevented a large percentage of the conflicts he would have been involved with a concurrent shift in his predation patterns to wildlife. This, coupled with a mature lion coalition exerting territorial pressure, caused Lentim to disperse into Tsavo National Park.
On the 20th of August 2017, we were finally able to remove his collar. The fact that Lentim was able to mature, and disperse naturally demonstrates that the work being done by MWCT is going a long way restoring the ecological functioning of the greater Tsavo-Amboseli ecosystem and ensuring that the resident lion population is conserved and protected for future generations.