Kenya: Two Herders Arrested Over Poisoning Masai Mara Lions


The Star

Date Published

The KWS has arrested two herders over the poisoning of a pride of lions at the Masai Mara Game Reserve on Sunday.

The two poisoned the lions after they killed three of the cows they had taken grazing, said Narok Kenya Wildlife Service senior warden Collins Omondi.

Omondi told the press on Monday that the herders took the carcasses of their cows, laced them with poison and gave them to the pride.

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust reported via Facebook that the lions of the Marsh Pride “were acting strangely, collapsing and suffering from spasms”.

The trust said Patrick Reynolds of Governors Camp called the Mara mobile veterinary unit and that a KWS veterinary officer reported five lions had been poisoned.

The DSWT identified a lion named Sienna and her two-year-old sub adult male. It said Sienna has not been accounted for but that the adult male is recovering following treatment.

An older lioness died from the poisoning while the others are being treated, DSWT said in its statement.

The herders will pay around Sh20,000,000 or be jailed for life if found guilty.

Omondi termed the incident “very unfortunate” and said investigations are being carried out to ensure the perpetrators are punished.

Noting that the law is clear about herders’ course of action in such cases, he said they should have filed for compensation.

The KWS veterinary department is carrying out tests to identify the poison used, Omondi said, adding the suspects are helping police with investigations.

He said they will be taken to court on Tuesday to face charges including poisoning wildlife and illegally entering the game reserve.

Omondi asked the county to invoke its by-laws and ban grazing at the reserve, and recommended a land use plan to control encroachment into parks and migratory corridors.

He said human-wildlife conflict has resulted from population growth and shrinking grazing land.

The KWS raised the red flag over the killing of wildlife for meat and trophies such as ivory. Conservationists have also raised concern over poaching in Masai Mara and other Narok county reserves.