One of the oldest lions in Kenya has died at the age of 19, authorities have said. The male lion, named Loonkiito, was speared by local herders in Olkelunyiet village on Wednesday night after preying on livestock. The village borders Amboseli National Park – in southern Kenya.
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Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) spokesperson Paul Jinaro told the press that the lion was old and frail and wandered into the village from the park in search of food. Mr Jinaro could not confirm if it was the oldest lion in the country but noted it was “very old”.
Lion Guardians, a conservation organisation, said Loonkiito was the oldest male lion in its ecosystem and possibly in Africa.
“He was a symbol of resilience and coexistence,” the organisation said in a statement.
Paula Kahumbu, a wildlife conservationist and chief executive officer of WildlifeDirect, said she was pained by the killing of the lion and called for measures to protect wildlife in the country.
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Paula Kahumbu urged his country men that the break point for human-wildlife conflict has become palpable, insisting the need to do more as a country to preserve lions, which are facing extinction.