Another two very recent stories whose action takes place on the African continent and which perfectly reflect the harsh reality of the human / animal conflict.
Because they face the demographic explosion of the continent and the shrinking of their habitat, wild animals are increasingly disturbed and their behavior becomes unpredictable.
Regardless of the region of Africa that is evoked, I hear every day the villagers complain about the behavior of elephants going out of the sanctuaries that were generously granted by the men, to go drinking the water of their livestock or stealing the cereals that these same villagers struggled to grow and pick.
In both stories we are going to tell you about today, we will not talk of elephants but lions. These events have just taken place a few days ago!
Mohawk, 13 year old, slaughtered!
In Kenya first of all, in Nairobi suburb, a 63 year old man was attacked by a lion at a bus stop. When he started running, frightened by the presence of the predator, the lion logically jumped on him without biting, but severely planting his claws into his shoulder. The poor man was sent to the emergency in critical conditions but he fortunately got out a few days later. The Kenya Wildlife Service has immediately made the decision to intercept the lion. Mohawk has indeed spread panic wherever he went, and injured a motorcyclist who was a little bit too curious. The action took place in the Isinya area, a township not far from Nairobi. Because KWS teams didn’t have at their disposal tranquilizer, they decided to kill the animal. The lion was pursued, throughout the Kajiado district, by KWS rangers but also by a crowd of people on foot, bikes, cars, who stressed the wild animal. The short movie below describes the conditions of the death of this poor lion.
Kenyan but also international NGOs have reacted harshly after the death of Mohawk, an adult lion of 13 year old. They explained that the lion had come out of his wildlife corridor because it was putting in place its new territory. Some scientists had seen the lion participating in territorial fights few days earlier. At present a petition is circulating on social networks to denounce the behavior of the Kenya Wildlife Service.
Sylvester, 4 year old, saved in extremis by a global petition
Let us go now to South Africa. In the Karoo National Park, a lion of four year old, Sylvester, has the unpleasant habit of leaving the national park where he was confined. The lion, fortunately fitted with a radio collar, took advantage of a slight breach in the west fence of the park to enlarge it and escape. The population is excited and the authorities of Sanparks, the organization that manages all national parks in South Africa, have sent a team to chase it. Given the urgency of the situation, even a helicopter was dispatched to assist the ground troops in their research. As the lion continues his progression of several tens of kilometers, it is recognized that the wild animal killed a cow in a farm. The authorities then began to fear for the local population and absolutely want to avoid a mass slaughter. Perhaps they have read the story of the two lions eating men of Tsavo which massacred more than one hundred people at the end of the nineteenth century during the construction of a bridge! Still, the authorities took the decision to euthanize Sylvester because it is an intelligent lion and they know it will escape if it is recovered again.
Not only the experienced park rangers spontaneously decide not to support this choice, but again, thanks to vigilant NGOs involved in the protection of wildlife, a great communication campaign is launched not only in South Africa but worldwide. A petition soon circulates on Facebook criticizing the decision of euthanasia. Given these reactions, Sanparks officials back off and propose to get to sleep the lion to recover it. In addition, a private park offers to host the lion to avoid the same fate does not happen again in the Karoo National Park.
After several days of difficult pursuit, because the lion has taken refuge in an inaccessible area, the team was able to get to sleep the wild animal with a hypodermic syringe. Sylvester is saved but Sanparks authorities have not decided yet what will be the future of the lion.
What future for wildlife?
The question is fundamental. We’re not talking about poaching in this case. We don’t mention the elephant killing for ivory or lion killing for skin and bones. This is a far more pernicious threat as poaching we denounce and that we are fighting.
Today we are completely legitimate to protect wildlife from human greed. Poaching is illegal and only serves to feed the increasingly full cash registers of these international crime unions or of these terrorist organizations, offshore accounts of some African politicians.
Tomorrow, when it will come to protect wild animals from the men who suffer from poverty and lack of access to water, the ones who will face a vital competition with the animal kingdom which will have less and less area of freedom, how effectively will we fight against these villagers?
We are at the dawn of a global conflict between humans and wild animals, a human being facing his exponential population growth and an animal on the road to extinction.