Thursday, April 21, 2016

Tanzania: Revenge Hunting Threatens 'Big Cats


Karatu — Normally the lion remains the 'King of the Jungle' until the ferocious cat comes face to face with the sharp end of a hunters' spear.

For the case of Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the spears in question are usually wielded by male members of nomadic pastoral communities who would be out for revenge following common cases of lions attacking and eating their livestock.

It is reported that in the last two weeks a lion was killed in the conservation area through spearing. As it happens, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a special case of mixed activities involving wildlife preservation, tourism and human settlements by the native Maasai pastoralists.

Dr Freddy Manongi is the Conservator of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA). He affirmed the case adding that, the NCAA lost seven lions in the course of last year from what he described as 'revenge' hunting by irate cattle keepers whose animals have been killed by the large cats.

The Ngorongoro Crater, a wildlife filled caldera, has long been considered one of the best places on earth to see lions, usually confined within the vast natural bowl. However, the number of lions has been dropping at an alarming rate from the highest figure of more than 125 cats recorded in 1975, to around 55 lions now.

Other animals that are being threatened by attacks from humans include elephants and according to the NCAA conservator, Dr Manongi, at least 25 lions were killed last year. There is also a single isolated case of a leopard which was killed in the area recently.

The animal's spotted skin was discovered by rangers within the NCAA. NCAA, in conjunction with local authorities, including the police, have set up a special anti-poaching and game patrolling force that will see the hiring of 250 new rangers and establishment of village game scouting posts.


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