The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has reported an alarming increase in human-wildlife conflict in southern Kenya, resulting in the killing of ten lions, six of which occurred in a single day. The KWS spokesperson described this as an unusually high number of lion killings. This comes after the recent death of Loonkiito, one of Africa’s oldest lions, who strayed into a livestock pen due to starvation and was killed by the owner. The conservation organization Lion Guardians explained that the end of a drought often leads to an increase in conflicts between humans and lions as wild prey becomes scarce and livestock owners become more vigilant. Kenya has been facing its most severe drought in four decades.

The six lions killed on Saturday were responsible for attacking and killing 11 goats and a dog. The incidents occurred within the Amboseli ecosystem in Kajiado County, near Mount Kilimanjaro, a UNESCO biosphere reserve. In response to the escalating conflict, the KWS organized a meeting involving local communities and government officials. The discussions focused on finding ways to minimize human-wildlife conflict by developing early warning systems and exploring the broader issue of coexistence between communities and wildlife, including benefit sharing. The recent spike in lion killings highlights the urgent need to address human-wildlife conflict in Kenya. Efforts must be made to raise awareness among communities about the presence of wildlife and provide support for mitigating conflicts. Additionally, sustainable strategies should be implemented to ensure the livelihoods of both communities and wildlife are protected, fostering harmonious coexistence in these shared landscapes.