Kenya Wildlife Service
Kenya Wildlife Service

Kenya on Monday launched an exercise to make more than 30 lions wear satellite tracking collars to reduce human-lion conflict and beef up protection.

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officials on Monday fitted one of the more than 30 lions in the Nairobi National Park, located in the Kenyan capital, with a satellite radio collar to monitor its movement and location.

The exercise is being carried out by the KWS and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

KWS Director General Kitili Mbathi said the wildlife agency had put in place short and long-term management measures for lion conservation in the Nairobi National Park.

“These range from fence maintenance to active management of the lion population through satellite monitoring amongst other methods,” Mbathi said.

By early 2016, the lion population in the national park stood at about 36.

Between 2014 and 2016, five lions were fitted with satellite radio collars to monitor their movement patterns and changes in ranging behaviour.

IFAW East Africa Head of Programmes Steve Njumbi said the wildlife organization had so far donated six satellite collars and 18 camera traps to the KWS.

“The equipment will help improve lion monitoring and hence better inform management decision making,” Njumbi said.

The lion collars collect information and transmit to park management to guide problem animal control teams whenever the big cats are heading to areas inhabited by people.

By rapidly deploying rangers to those areas, conservationists anticipate that incidences of death, injury as well as crop and property damage arising from human-lion conflicts will be minimized.

Cases of such conflicts have risen sharply over the years. Last year, several lions strayed out of the national park, raising fears among residents in the capital city. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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