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Last Updated: Monday, 23 June, 2003, 12:32 GMT 13:32 UK
Kenyan lions killed in revenge attacks
Slaughtered lion
The government is hunting Maasai warriors alleged to be killing the lions
Kenyan Maasai warriors have killed 10 lions from the Nairobi national park in revenge for killing their livestock.

The tenth lion was killed on Sunday after eating six cows, seven goats, seven sheep and a donkey.

The government has now sent in the para-military General Service Unit to track down and arrest the Maasai warriors.

The lions have been killed over the last two months when they strayed outside the park to hunt for zebra and antelope.

Jail

The Maasai say they will not succumb to government threats to arrest them for killings the lions.

''When one lion is killed, the government is up in arms against us but when over 100 of our animals are killed nothing is done to compensate us," Kenya's Daily Nation quoted Mr Geoffrey Ntampaya, a spokesman for the community saying.

They say they are prepared to be jailed as long as they are protecting their animals.

Maasai wealth is traditionally calculated on the basis of the number of cows or goats that an individual owns.

Wildlife conservationists accuse the Maasai of slaughtering the lions and pocketing their manes, tails, claws and teeth for trophies or for sale.

The hunting of game has been banned in Kenya since the late 1970s.

The area covered by the park is traditional Maasai land.

There is a feeling that poachers may have moved in to take advantage of the stand-off between the Maasai and the Kenya Wildlife Service.

Fence

The Maasai live and graze their livestock near the boundaries of the park.

During the rainy season between March and July herbivores, like zebra and antelope, move out of the parks in search of fresh pastures.

The lions follow them in search of food.

Last week the government agreed to protect the remaining lions in special fenced areas while safeguarding and capturing those which had strayed out of the park.

The Kenya Wildlife Service - a semi-government organisation - has also been looking into the possibility of fencing the entire park.




SEE ALSO:
Malawi's killer lion shot dead
24 Feb 03  |  Africa
The lioness and the oryx
07 Jan 02  |  Africa
Lion jailed for attacking tourists
23 Oct 01  |  Asia-Pacific


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