By George Okore
The competition between human beings and the King of thehas put the latter’s life in great danger, putting the King in precarious fight for survival.
King Lion is among the big five, which include Elephants, Buffaloes, Leopards and Rhinos, a major tourist attraction and revenue stream for many tropical countries. Such worrying is the situation such that it estimated that there are only 25,000 living lions in the African jungle and Kenya Wildlife Service estimates that 100 lions die annually. Conservationists estimate than within the next thirty years, Lions could disappear from the Earth because of different challenges. Theses include climate change, diseases, habitat and wetlands destruction and fierce conflict with other animals- human beings included.
In Kenya, although Lions are confined to the many scenic parks, they often venture out the Palace, creating fierce conflict with disloyal human beings. Like other predators including leopards, hyena, are mainly are killed by human beings for preying on their stock especially cows, dogs, sheep and goats. Mother Nature -an international British Journal writes that Elephants, black Rhinos, Cheetahs and Tigers are the most endangered species and on verge of depletion unless measures are taken urgently.
Another danger to lions is poisoning, where pastoralists lace carcasses of domestic animals with very poisonous substances. The major chemical used is Furadan, a pesticide manufactured by United States based Farm Machinery and Chemicals (FMC). This product from Philadelphia kills lions, vultures and other carnivores within Kenyan wild life units. Another deadly pesticide Carbofuran has also found its way in Kenya and a major cause of death.
According to Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Director Dr Julius Kipngetich, the deaths mean loss of major foreign revenue source. He adds that concerted efforts are being made to protect these endangered species. Dr Kipngetch says have fitted their lions with tracking devices to monitor their movements within the country’s national parks. In partnership with Lieden University of Netherlands, the pilot test began at Amboseli and is expected to roll out to all national parks.
Few are also killed by traditional hunting and gathering and others through the illegal sports hunting. KWS in conjunction with Born Free Foundation have also launched a Pride of Kenya campaigns to raise public awareness about the uncertain future of lions and encouraging people to stem their demise. Through the initiative, public art displays of Lion Sculptures were mounted along Nairobi streets to spur the conservation of the big cat.
Male lions have been hunting human beings for food , the famous being the Man Eaters of Tsavo who devoured nearly 30 workers building the Kenya – Uganda railways over nine months construction of a bridge over Tsavo River in 1898.The Tsavo Man-Eaters on display at Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois.