Kenya’s lions fitted with satellite tracking collars

Nairobi, Jan 28 (IANS) A team of scientists, researchers and veterinarians have fitted lions at Nairobi National Park in Kenya with satellite tracking collars to help reduce conflict and beef up security operations in the park.

The Nairobi National Park lion project, which will run for a period of two years, aims at raising awareness among the local people and tourists about lion movements and on how to prevent livestock predation, Xinhua reported.
“Information gathered during the project will support Nairobi National Park and adjacent areas management strategies with respect to lions, and significantly contribute to lion conservation efforts in Kenya,” Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said on Tuesday.
The project is jointly funded by KWS, Safaricom Foundation, Institute of Environmental Sciences of Leiden University and the Leo Foundation.
KWS said the project is expected to help scientists understand the extent lion ranging is affected by human and livestock distribution around the park.
The collars will also aid direct observation of the lions in the field and help investigate pride structure and additional social behaviour.
The lion population in Kenya is suspected to have decreased considerably over the last two decades mainly due to habitat loss and conflicts with people and their livestock. There are an estimated 2,000 lions in Kenya.
Cases of conflict have risen sharply over the years. By monitoring the movements of the collared lions, the conservationists anticipate that incidents of death, injury and damage to crops and property arising from conflict with lions will be minimised by rapid deployment of rangers to those areas.