By John Ensor •
Published: 13 May 2023 • 17:57
Stock image, African Lion.
Credit: Anita Ritenour/Creative Commons Attribution 2.0
African tribesmen have killed a lion that was widely held to be the oldest in the world.
On Wednesday, May 10, Maasai warriors speared to death Loonkito, a legendary 19-year-old Kenyan lion, according to Metro.
The herdsmen took action when Loonkito got too close to their livestock in the Amboseli National Park.
They used spears to ward away the large predator in an effort to protect their cattle, but it seems that a stab wound to his head proved too much for the old lion which ultimately caused his death.
The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) referred to Loonkito as the ‘legendary big cat warrior’ due to his exceptional age and successful 10-year dominance when he was in his heyday.
Speaking on behalf of KWS, Paul Jinaro said: ‘It was an old lion that had issues… getting prey on its own and livestock is easy prey. A normal lion would go for wildlife inside the park.’
Lion Guardians are a conservation group that dedicates itself to finding ways where people and lions can co-exist peacefully, announced: ‘It is with heavy hearts that we share the news of the passing of Loonkito (2004 – 2023), the oldest male lion in our ecosystem and possibly in Africa.’
According to statistics, there are only about 23,000 lions left in the wild, and in the last 10 years, numbers have decreased by 90 per cent.
With ever-expanding human settlements encroaching on the natural habitats of wildlife, reports of lions being seen in urban areas are on the increase
KWS official Jinaro said, ‘people need to be sensitised on looking for a way to alert us and then we can take animals back to the parks.’
A census recorded in 2021 estimated that there were just 2,500 lions left in Kenya.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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