Lion Cubs Kidnapped; Parents Kill People in Revenge?

June 28, 2006

Lions have been scouring African villages searching for kidnapped cubs—and killing at least three people—according to reports by Kenyan and British newspapers and the UPI news service this month.

Some local animal experts beg to differ.

Kenya's wildlife agency agrees that Somalian militiamen likely kidnapped three lion cubs along the volatile border with Kenya (Kenya map).

But the cubs' parents and relatives probably did not go on a killing spree while searching for their babies, says Gichuki Kabukuru, a spokesperson for the Kenya Wildlife Service in Nairobi.

"When one reads the daily [newspaper], you would think the lions went on [a] rampage, killing villagers indiscriminately as a way of revenge," Kabukuru said in an email.

"But our warden in [the city of] Garissa and the area chief noted that only one guy had been killed, and he was in the wild herding his cattle," Kabukuru added.

Lion predation of livestock is an ongoing problem in Africa, often prompting ranchers to kill the big cats. (Read "Lions vs. Farmers: Peace Possible?")

But the reports of humans kidnapping cubs and lion parents retaliating were news.

Last week The Independent, a U.K. newspaper, reported that a pride of 15 lions wandered into the Kenyan villages of Liboi and Kulan on the night of June 18, killed three people, and injured two more.

"Senior politicians in the Garissa region said the attacks began after a Somali militia near the border with Kenya stole three cubs," the paper reported.

The paper also said local politicians called on the Kenyan government to protect residents from the lions and to compensate the families of the victims.

Kidnapping and Revenge

Continued on Next Page >>


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