I fear there will be several more. Lions have benefitted from the carcasses of wildlife and livestock that were victims of the drought. Now the drought ie being lifted and prey animals gain strength and the ability to escape from lions again, there could be a greater toll on wildlife, which are easy to kill. During previous droughts lion numbers have often increased due to the availability of carcasses and livestock predation has risen when the drought breaks. It’s a time when pastoralists need to try even harder to protect cattle in strong bomas at night and have a herder with them during the day. I fear that there will be retaliation if this goes on.KS
The Ministry of Environment and Tourism has confirmed four separate incidents in which lions have killed livestock this past week.
This was detailed in an statement issued by environment ministry spokesperson Romeo Muyunda in response to a video in which two female lions appear to have caught a donkey, which they later proceeded to kill.
“It has been confirmed that the lions escaped from the Etosha National Park last night (Saturday) and killed a donkey and a cow in the area between Cansablanca and Oshivelo,” Muyunda wrote.
Fortunately, none of the lions were harmed and have since returned to the park.
Muyunda said that incidents of human-wildlife conflict of this nature has been on the rise due to the prevailing drought.
He also stated that the poor condition of the park’s fence might be a contributing factor.
“The ministry is working around the clock to find an amicable solution to these conflicts. […] In all the cases, we are investigating the possibility of possible assistance to those who suffered losses through our Self Reliance Scheme,” he noted.
Muyunda’s statement further detailed three similar incidents that were reported in the Kunene region last week.
On Monday (21 January), two head of cattle were killed on the Arizona Farm south of Hobatere.
“In retaliation, the farmers killed the two lions. It was also reported that the lions were shot while preying on a cattle carcass,” Muyunda elaborated.
The next day, 17 goats were killed at the Anabeb conservancy in the Khowarib area. Three lions are said to have been involved.
A third incident is reported to have taken place on Wednesday 23 January in which eight goats were killed by a pack of five lions.
“It was also reported that some of the Kunene incidents happened during the day while the livestock were being herded,” Muyunda explained.
“We appeal for calm and patience and urge the public not to resort to taking the law into their own hands,” he cautioned.