Nairobi National Park is located directly beneath Kenya´s capital city Nairobi. It is home to many large mammals such as giraffes, zebras and lions. While it it borders the city on the north side, in the south it touches a densely populated agricultural area. There also live many farmers in the area. Because people and wildlife are living in close quarters to each other, chances of conflict are high. At the moment Kenya suffers a prolonged period of heavy rainfall, due to El Niño. As a result, almost all prey species left the park as sufficient food is available everywhere. This requires lions to adapt their diet to eating cattle, which in turns increases lion-livestock conflicts.
To monitor and prevent lion-livestock conflicts around Nairobi National Park, Leo Foundation works together with Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) for several years now. On January 31 and February 2, 2016, we collared two new lions with satellite-collars, enabling us to follow all their movements. A male lion of about 4 years old was collared in the eastern part of the park, a lioness of about 8 years old in the central region of the park. The lions have been named after our sponsors Alex and Bertina van Hooff, owners of Burgers’ Zoo.
A week after collaring lion Alex exited the park, attacking goats, sheep and cows. Project coordinator Francis Lesilau (KWS) immediately detached a ‘Rapid Response Team’ to the conflict area, to keep the lion away from boma’s and to alarm local livestock owners. It is our intention to follow the lions in 2016 and 2017 –the lifespan of the collars- for the efficient use of ‘Rapid Response Teams’.
Recently, the lions of Nairobi National Park have gained international attention, as several lions walked into the suburbs of Nairobi. See also this NOS-article (in Dutch). They have all returned to the park, but it stresses the importance of our project.