Tanzania villagers slaughter six rare lions

James.Grage

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Tanzania villagers slaughter six rare lions


BY ADAM IHUCHA, ETN TANZANIA CORRESPONDENT | JAN 01, 2015


Tanzania villagers slaughter six rare lions


Six lions have been slaughtered by angry villagers outside Tarangire National Park in western Arusha, Tanzania, tainting Tanzania’s reputation as one of the remaining world’s lions' safe heaven.

Nearly 100 furious Olasiti villagers at Minjingu area shot down two lions and speared to death four others in retaliation following the stray lions allegedly attacking and marauding three donkeys in a kraal (an enclosure for cattle or other livestock).

Natural Resources and Tourism Minister Lazaro Nyalandu said the government was shocked and saddened by the incident, saying law enforcers had launched a manhunt in search of ringleaders behind the mass killing of the lions.

“This mass killing of lions casts a bleak future for our wildlife treasure,” Mr. Nyalandu stressed.

He pleaded with communities bordering the protected areas to refrain from taking the law into their own hands.

“Whenever human-wildlife conflicts emerge, they should report to authorities,” Nyalandu stressed.

Nkaiti Ward Councilor Mr. Simon Abel said over the phone that the battle between villagers and stray lions also left four villagers injured by the lions, some seriously.

The villagers nursing their wounds at Monduli District Hospital were Jackson Mediutieki, Loserian Tobiko, Lebahati Korudini, Jackson Mrefu, and Msee Simon.

The Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) Chairman, Mr. Willy Chambullo, condemned the mass killing of lions in the strongest terms possible, saying wildlife conservation was everybody’s responsibility.

“Our hearts are bleeding. I wish the villagers should have asked us to compensate for their donkeys rather than slaughter the rare animals,” Mr. Chambullo explained.

TATO CEO Sirili Akko said that unfortunate incident demonstrates the communities do not see the value of wildlife.

“We need to come together - public and private sectors - so that we can strategize how best we can educate the local people adjacent to protected areas to coexist with wildlife in harmony,” Mr. Akko explained.

There has been a "catastrophic fall" in the number of lions in the wildlife-rich Tanzania in the last decade, thanks to the retaliation killings.

A recent survey indicates that the Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem, a key country lions' refuge, has been losing an average of 25 lions annually in the period under review.

Findings by the Tarangire Lion Project show 226 lions have been slaughtered between 2004-2013 for marauding livestock.

Dr. Bernard Kissui - a leading lion researcher - warned over the extinction of the entire big cats population and hurting a $1.9 billion tourism industry, if affirmative actions are not taken.

Lions are one of Africa’s big five animals in which Tanzania, just as any other African countries with abundant wildlife, has been using them as a major tourism marketing tool to attract tens of thousands of eager tourists each year.

Others are elephants, rhinos, leopards, and buffalos.

“Retaliation killing of lions is a silent but real threat to lion populations in the Tarangire–Manyara ecosystem where incidences of livestock keepers spearing and poisoning them have been recorded,” Dr. Kissui said.

The worst lion mass killing was in 2009 where over 26 lions were slaughtered by angry-villagers near Tarangire National Park.

Official estimates show that there are between 15,000-16,000 lions surviving mostly in national parks and game reserves with a smaller population in unprotected areas.

This is the largest population in Africa and about 40 percent of the total population of remaining lions in the world.

Kishimay Ndalepoi, one of the Maasai villagers, said the lion was considered a great enemy in the Maasai community.

“Wherever the Maasai encounter a lion, the only thing which comes up in his or her mind is killing it,” said Ndalepoi, adding that a lion is an enemy, which could kill human beings or livestock.

Available records show that the entire Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem faces a massive declining of wildlife populations due to an intolerable growth of human population coupled with ever-increasing demand for land uses that is not compatible with conservation interests.

Various studies indicate that there has been a constant increase of unsustainable exploitation of natural resources and land uses such as cultivation, overgrazing, charcoal burning, and settlements within the wildlife routes and corridors flaring human-wildlife conflicts.

Conservationists argue that such detrimental impacts of human activities have since been felt on core areas, as well as foraging grounds, breeding sites, dispersal areas, wildlife migratory routes, and corridors.

The consequence of this, experts say in a study, is a growing threat of land degradation and fragmentation, which slowly but surely is putting the Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem at risk of becoming an ecological island.

By implications in the long run, the entire ecosystem will see a massive declining of wildlife populations, genetic erosion,n and species extinction.

In additional, the security of the resident animals in fragmented habitats becomes uncertain, because once squeezed into small patches, animals cannot easily escape from their enemies, like predators and human influence.

Since no wildlife protected area can be a self-contained ecological unit, core areas linking Tarangire National Park with other wildlife protected areas and habitats should remain intact for the park to maintain its reputation as an important biodiversity hot spot.

Deogratius Gamassa, a renowned-conservationist and the former Principal for African Wildlife Management College-Mweka, is on record as saying the eviction of the people within the Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem and the two parks expansion were two possible options.

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BRICKBURN

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Disembowelled, feet missing and partly skinned!
Radio collared.

I don't think they were judging the ages properly. They are more effective than a new alpha male moving in.
The entire pride obliterated.

LION AID where are you?
 

enysse

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3 donkeys for over +$250,000 worth of lions, seems logical
 

CAustin

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As the article indicates these people see no value in the animals save only their donkeys. Lack of formal education and poverty no doubt makes these killings seem logical to the locals. So as others have mentioned where are the animal rights folks now?
 

ScottG

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I don't get the mutilation, the killings when you live with those predators around, fear is probably the motive on this.

As the article indicates these people see no value in the animals save only their donkeys. Lack of formal education and poverty no doubt makes these killings seem logical to the locals. So as others have mentioned where are the animal rights folks now?

There is no political advantage in harassing people that don't help to further your cause.
 
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PARA45

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Wow, that is flat out criminal! What a shame!
 

Dragan N.

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As the article indicates these people see no value in the animals save only their donkeys. Lack of formal education and poverty no doubt makes these killings seem logical to the locals. So as others have mentioned where are the animal rights folks now?

That is part of it but there is also "tradition" and perhaps even some necessity to it. The article mentions these where stray lions not part of a pride and it seems they had become nuisance animals, perhaps an injury or something might have forced them to this. Sure they can ask the government for compensation but would that make the lions stop killing their donkeys and potentially even one of them down the road? 4 of the people where injured. Also will the government promptly compensate them? Getting the government to do so in any country is difficult let alone in Africa. Finally these are people living lives similar to that of their ancestors if a lion endangered your livelihood, in this case livestock, you would kill it.
 

matt85

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perhaps if the lions became more valuable then the livestock then they would be more hesitant to kill them?

put a price tag on problem lions and sell them to hunters. many people will pay BIG money to hunt wild lions. give a big portion of money earned from the hunts to the local villagers. before you know it, they will want lions around.

-matt
 

jeff

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matt85 that makes too much sense to be implemented. Wish it would happen!
 

Dragan N.

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perhaps if the lions became more valuable then the livestock then they would be more hesitant to kill them?

put a price tag on problem lions and sell them to hunters. many people will pay BIG money to hunt wild lions. give a big portion of money earned from the hunts to the local villagers. before you know it, they will want lions around.

-matt

Yes that makes sense implementing a PAC system like Zimbabwe has for elephants or something along those lines, and since these animals aren't usually the best trophy quality ad are short notice hunts they might go for say a cheaper price, I am sure many hunters would gobble this up.

Although in this case I'm not entirely convinced that the people do not want lions "around" or are poaching them for a certain body part to sell like elephants are poached for their tusks or rhinos for their horns, this type of poaching could certainly threaten the survival of a species. In this case, they aren't from what I have read, deliberately hunting/poaching lions so that they can get and sell its skin for example and make money off it. As evident by the fact that they cut the lion up and destroyed any value the skin, the most valuable part of the lion, might have.

Rather these are individual lions that threaten their life and property and in most cases these specific animals need to be killed-be it by villagers or sport hunters. These people might want lions in the area, for trophy hunting etc...., but no sane individual would want a lion within or hanging around their village and viewing it as a food source.

Another thing I wonder about do the locals in these areas have a quota of lions that they themselves can hunt? I.e. X number of tags go to outfitters and Y number goes to the locals. This is how the system works in most of North America but not sure about how it is in Tanzania...
 

Troy McLellan

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Put simply a terrible tradgey for all due to a poor management of wildlife. Sure there's no simple answer on how to change the current situation but, as the saying goes 'money makes the world go around'. The sooner we can make people realise the value of animals and show them how they can profit from their existence then we might have a chance of saving some of these threatened species. While those that actually live with the threat of large dangerous game on a daily basis and recieve little to nothing for it they will continue to destroy threats to their livelihood and lives and poach for a meager profit. Not a simple endeavor but, there seems to be no government attempting to effect any changes. Sad state of affairs
 

Gail T

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Any information about who put the telemetry collar on one of those lions? Someone knew, or should have known, where that lion was. Much more to this story for sure.
 

SpiralHorn2

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That is disgusting and a great loss.
Now this is where the Animal Rights guys should intervene and do something helpful for a change.
 

crs

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Reminds me of what happens to coyotes and mountain lions when they predate on Texas cattle or exotic game. Poison is also used to control predation, including that done by packs of coyotes and feral dogs.
To a rancher a loose running dog is worse than a coyote and packs of feral dogs attract the attention of the Sheriffs as well as the ranchers. I have experience with both situations. and side with ranchers.

Maybe those African villagers were just protecting their livestock as would I given such predation on our horses. Such conflict in Nature is not new and remains unresolved until the lower life forms are relocated or otherwise done away with.
 

Tobe

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It’s the age old story when people encroach on wildlife, the wildlife suffer. The only way to stop this is to relocate the people or the wildlife. A top predator needs plenty of space.
 

Hunter4752001

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I suspect that this sort of thing is a frequent occurrence. Only difference is the remains were left for authorities and the media to jump up about.

The article referred to the revenue the country got from wildlife based tourism. Clearly the money is going to Government officials and tourism operators with none going to villagers. If the the villages had a stake in it, the lions would be protected as more valuable than the livestock. Would any of act any differently if we were in their position?
 

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Looking at the pics and the story, my gut tells me something is amiss, not really as stated. Publicity, staged, or?? That's just my inner voice.

MB
 

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