One of the worlds oldest lions killed by herders in

One of the world’s oldest lions killed by herders in Kenya

One of the oldest wild lions in Africa, the continent home to almost the entire world population of this big cat, has been killed by Maasai herders in Kenya, conservation groups said on Friday.

A 19-year-old male lion, Loonkito, was killed with a spear after entering a cattle pen near Amboseli Park in the south of the country, the state spokesman told AFP. Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Paul Jinaro.

“He was an old lion who was struggling to feed himself, and cattle are easy prey. A normal lion would have gone in search of wildlife in the park,” Jinaro said.

According to the South African conservation group Cats for Africa, African lions typically have a life expectancy of 12 to 18 years in the wild.

KWS described Loonkito in 2021 as a “legendary feline warrior” who has defended his territory for more than a decade.

“It is with a heavy heart that we share the news of the death of Loonkito (2004-2023), the oldest male lion in our ecosystem and possibly in Africa,” Kenya’s Lion Guardians said on its Facebook page, calling him a “symbol of resilience and coexistence .”

About 2,500 lions live in Kenya, according to the country’s first national wildlife census in 2021.

Wild animal encroachment on populated areas has increased in the East African country in recent years as urban development has reduced their habitats and migratory areas.

“We need to educate people to find a way to alert us so we can bring the animals back to the parks,” said Paul Jinaro.

In July, a lion escaped from Nairobi National Park sparked panic in a southern district of the capital. He had been put down by rangers from the park they took him to.

Located seven kilometers from central Nairobi, animals occasionally escape and roam the metropolis of over four million people.

In December 2019 a lion mauled a man just outside the park, while in March 2016 another big cat was shot dead after attacking and injuring a local resident.