a lion in Kenyaconsidered one of the longest-lived in the world in the wild, died after being shot down by Maasai herders in this East African country, environmental defense organizations announced this Friday.
“It is with a heavy heart that we share the news of the death of Loonkito (2004-2023)the oldest male lion in our ecosystem and possibly in Africa,” the Kenyan Lion Guardians association said on Facebook, calling it a “symbol of resilience and coexistence.”
The 19-year-old mammal died after being hit by spears as it entered a cattle pen near Amboseli Park, in the south of the country, he told the news agency AFP Kenyan Nature Conservation Agency (KWS) spokesman Paul Jinaro.
“He was an old lion who had a hard time feeding and cattle are easy prey. A normal lion would have gone looking for wildlife inside the park.”he added.
The longevity of African lions is between 12 and 18 years of age in the wild, according to the South African protection group Cats for Africa.
In 2021, the KWS described Loonkito as a “legendary big cat warrior” who had defended his territory for more than a decade.
About 2,500 lions live in Kenyaaccording to the first national registry of the country’s fauna carried out in 2021.
In recent years, the incursions of wild animals into inhabited areas of that country have increased, coinciding with urban development, which reduced their habitat areas and migration territories.
“We must sensitize people so that they find a way to alert us so we can return the animals to the parksJinaro stressed.
In July 2021, a lion caused panic after leaving its habitat in Nairobi National Park and entering a crowded neighborhood.
The park is just seven kilometers from the heart of the Kenyan capital, and incidents of animals escaping the grassy plains and roaming the chaotic metropolis of more than four million people are not unheard of.
In December 2019, a lion bitten a man to death outside the park, while in March 2016 another cat was shot and killed after attacking and injuring a nearby resident. Just a month earlier, in February 2016, two lions spent a day wandering through Kibera, a densely populated slum of the city, before returning to the park, and days later more lions were sighted in the capital.
(With information from AFP)
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