08-10-2020 by Leni Frau
Even in one of the safest and most protected conservancy of the Mara, that of Ol Chorro north of the national reserve, the cursed poachers managed to strike, killing not only an eland and some hyenas, but also the well-known lion Rafiki and two other examples of felines, father and son.
They did it by setting a series of traps that first attracted the herbivore that remained captive, and then all the others including the three lions.
The not-for-profit organisation "Mara Predator Conservation Programme" has announced this on its social pages with the following communiqué.
"It is with great sadness that we announce the tragic death of Rafiki, Lenkume, one of Lenkume's sons, four hyenas and an eland, all fallen victim to a series of death traps. We decided to write this post because we want to ensure that correct information is shared as far as we know. More than 50 traps have been installed in a small area on the outskirts of the Conservancy of Ol Chorro, not far from the Mara river, which is in fact the border of the conservancy. An eland was trapped in one of the traps, and we assume that this is what attracted the lions and hyenas to the site, where they were also trapped.
A joint operation of rangers from Kenya Wildlife Service, Enonkishu Conservancy Kenya, Ol Chorro Conservancy, Lemek Conservancy, Mara North Conservancy and Mara Elephant Project is searching a larger area for traps and will lead to a full investigation into the matter. Rangers throughout the Mara remove thousands of wildlife traps every year, but unfortunately it is an impossible task to find every single trap. All that remains is to remind us of these beautiful lions when they roamed the Mara. According to the MPCP, the culprits may have come from an outside area populated by communities dependent on livestock and crops.
"Due to the prolonged heavy rainfall that lasted almost 6 months, the fields were not arable for a long time. The COVID-19 epidemic also led to the closure of all livestock markets. This could have been potentially one of the factors that caused the illegal act - reads a statement yesterday - The MPCP community department will soon conduct more public campaigns (barazas) to educate them about the dangers of feeding bushmeat and the consequences of this. We are also working to show people how to remove traps while discouraging their use among communities adjacent to protected areas.
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