In the last few days, students continued to learn about the savanna ecosystem and wildlife-human conflict, a very common problem faced by many Kenyans as well as people in other African countries. Perhaps one of the most extreme cases is the relationship between lions and pastoralists. Some of you may have heard about stories of the man-eating lions during the 1930s when the East African railway was constructed. The stories we have now are equally tragic. As overpopulation and overgrazing accelerating habitat destruction of the lions, they have no choice but to attack livestock more frequently. As a consequence, people often hunt the lions down to protect their livestock, either by shooting or poison.
We learned how to live with lions with Mr. Steven Ekwanga, who has been working on the big cats at Mpala for several years. One of the ways to minimize wildlife-human conflict is to develop effective ways to protect the livestock from lions. Mr. Ekwanga showed us around a local boma (enclosure) where newly designed fences have been installed for several years. According to the local herders, not a single cattle has been lost to the lions since the implementation! And respectively, the lions have been left untouched, a win-win situation!