May 24 (CNN) — Ten lions have been killed in southern Kenya this past week, including six on Saturday alone, as human-wildlife conflict escalates in the region, according to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).
This is “an unusually large number of lions to be killed at one go,” a spokesperson for the KWS told CNN on Sunday.
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It comes after conservationists announced the killing of one of Africa’s oldest lions, Loonkiito, at the age of 19 earlier this week.
He had ventured out of a protected area and into a livestock pen due to being “starving,” and was killed by the livestock owner, according to conservation organization Lion Guardians.
The organization said that the end of a drought is commonly marked by an increase in human-lion conflict, since wild prey becomes harder to hunt and livestock owners are “particularly vigilant” after losing so many animals. Kenya has been experiencing its worst drought in 40 years.
The six lions that died on Saturday had killed 11 goats and one dog, the KWS said in a press release on Saturday.
The lions were all part of Kajiado County’s Amboseli ecosystem, a UNESCO biosphere reserve site near Mount Kilimanjaro, according to the UN.
KWS hosted a meeting Saturday attended by locals and government officials to discuss the recent killings.
“The discussions centered on exploring ways to minimize the risk of human-wildlife conflict, including developing early warning systems to alert communities to the presence of wildlife in their vicinity,” said the KWS.
“Further discussions centered on the wider picture of exploring human-wildlife conflict in the context of community livelihoods and benefit sharing towards a harmonious coexistence in the open community and wildlife landscapes,” it added.
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