Good News on Is Anyone Listening to the Marsh Lions

December 16th, 2015

This photograph is protected by Copyright. No reproduction may be made without permission of NHPA. Source: NHPA@NHPA.co.uk

Our good friend Peter Ngori of the Kenya Association of Tour Operators (KATO) who have been very concerned about the poisoning of members of the Marsh Pride has just informed us that:

The Hon Najib Balala (CS Ministry of Tourism) appeared on Citizen TV 9.00 pm news yesterday here in Kenya and repeated his concerns about the Masai Mara and reaffirmed that the Government is committed to protecting wildlife in the Mara. He referred to the issue of lions and said that steps have been taken to address the situation and that discussions are ongoing with the Governor of Narok over improvements to the management of the Masai Mara as a whole.

And good news from Governors Camp which is positioned in the heart of Marsh Lion territory where we are based in the Masai Mara. We are told that the cattle are no longer coming in at night into the Musiara area and that some of the Marsh Pride have been seen along the Salanga Lugga and down towards Bila Shaka. Apparently, meetings are being held among the Masai community resident in the area adjoining the reserve to discuss the recent poisoning of lions and to come up with solutions that work for all stakeholders.

This is very good news. It seems that the Marsh Lions are helping to achieve changes that we as concerned individuals have been struggling to effect.

10 comments on “Good News on Is Anyone Listening to the Marsh Lions

  1. Pepe Puy says:

    Great, some good news to the end Jonathan. Thank you for your amazing efforts. I hope the best to the Mara, I have this particular corner of Africa incrusted in my heart. The point is to revert the situation, not only in terms of the main problems, but also in terms of recognition of the great values of the Mara. Kenyan people have to be proud of the wonderful masai spotted land, they have to keep it as something sacred, something very special, without equal in the whole world.

    Governors Camp has reported that the five lionesses born in the Marsh Pride, daughters of Clawed and Romeo, of White Eye (two), Bibi (two) and Charm (one) currently living in the northen corner of the Triangle, around the Sabaringo Lugga, have crossed the river and are wandering very close to Il Moran Camp. In my notes I use to call these particular lionesses the Il Nasirie, the clan of the future. There another cohort of five lionesses with Charm, three and a half years old, daughters of the Musketeers, of Siena, Charm and Bibi, one of them, Kabibi, is just the daughter of Bibi, I use to call the cohort the Il Kabibi, tle clan of Bibi´s Daughter.

    I hope they could be the seed of the new Marsh Pride.

    There is a saying in Africa, a rendition of the lion´s roar, that said:

    “Hii nchi ya nani? Hii nchi ya nani? Yanyo, yango, yango!”

    It means:

    “Whose land is this? Whose land is this? It is mine, mine, mine!”

    Best.
    Pepe Puy

  2. Mauricio says:

    Excellent news! Let us hope that the tragedy of the Marsh pride will really serve to correct some of the management problems of the Masai Mara. Examples like this and that of Cecil the lion are showing us that pressure from the public and the social media really can lead to changes. Of course one should not be too naive about these things but when thousands of people show their outrage it becomes something difficult to ignore for the authorities. And, Jonathan and Angie, the role of influential people like you is essential in these processes. Now it is a matter of keeping the pressure and being vigilant so that the whole affair doesn’t sink into oblivion.
    And, as some people have been saying, this would be an excellent moment for some new edition of “Big Cat Diary” to bring the world’s attention and vigilance on the Mara and its big cats once more!

  3. […] work is the Kenyan government getting serious. The photographer Jonathan Scott reported on his blog two days ago that may be […]

  4. Yes, this is a time to keep the story in the public domain. It has certainly done more than any individual has managed – so due to Big Cat Diary it seems that the lions at least have got a ‘voice’ and a ‘vote’. Lets see!

  5. LadyCat says:

    Hi everyone!

    I concur with everyone above…….again, how about a rebooting of Big Cat Diary??!!!! What a wonderful Christmas/and or Happy New Year gift to everyone that would be.

    Happy Holidays to everyone here from wayyyyy across the pond,

    Kris

  6. Mauricio says:

    Yes, a new “Big Cat diary” would bring needed exposure to the wildlife of the Mara and stress its intrinsic value, rather than just “monetize” it!
    I just read the article by Keith Somerville and had mixed feelings. He concurs that there is a problem with the way the Mara is managed (who wouldn’t?) but seems to suggest that the only way to solve it is to give a larger portion of the tourism income to local people, as a sort of “proximity tax”. I am not sure that is such a magic solution. It sounds a bit like paying people for tolerating the reserves, which can be a useful addition but not the main solution, and it certainly cannot take the place of proper law enforcement. Also it sounds like the main pressure suffered by the Masai comes from the reserve and its wildlife, when the real and most pressing encroachment comes from the outside -more and more land devoted to farming, less room for the Masai cattle to roam. Somerville also grabs the opportunity to criticize the hunting ban in Botswana as if it were a naive measure that will eventually damage wildlife and people. And finally I am a bit irked that he quotes Jonathan’s text from this blog following it with a “but”. This sort of relativism with conservation gives welcome oxygen to the enemies of wildlife and those willing to perpetuate conflicts for the benefit of parties with vested interests. It is good to get visibility thanks to articles like Somerville’s, but I will always prefer to get the voice of people like Jonathan and Angie, who have a real and deep love for Kenya and its wildlife, heard clear and loud, without filters!

  7. Mauricio says:

    Very Happy Holidays to everybody at either side of the pond!

  8. Bob Eveleigh says:

    Mauricio,

    Your seasonal greetings are reciprocated. I know that everyone reading this blog want to see things change and for the killings to stop. Irrespective of the worldwide uproar, I’m afraid I veer towards the camp that thinks that little will change in the short term even though, like you, I want action now. Unfortunately things take so long to happen in this part of the world. I’ve no wish to raise the whole Cecil debate again but following that furore little seems to have changed; Zimbabwe still grants licences to kill lions and other big game. There was a lot of noise about their seeking the extradition of Walter Palmer but since then the charges against him have been dropped. An elephant with huge tusks has since been killed in the same country.

    Like you I’ve read the article by Keith Somerville and I commend others to do the same. It can be found at:

    http://africajournalismtheworld.com/2015/12/18/kenyas-marsh-pride-what-future-for-lions-people-and-development/

    I thought it was very thought provoking and I didn’t read it in quite the same way you did. I thought he explained the background to why the Masai lions were poisoned in an impartial and factual way, which didn’t condone the action. I also didn’t think he was criticising the Botswana hunting ban per se, more the way it was enforced. Apologies if I’ve misread your comments.

    One of the passages about the recent Marsh Pride tragedy said:

    “The process of change has involved considerable corruption and land-grabbing by senior politicians and public officials in league with local clients in the Maasai community. Maasai pastoralists deprived of traditional migration routes or hemmed in by fenced-off land owned or claimed by political grandees and the local recipients of their patronage, have forced communities to look for grazing elsewhere and made them even more angry overo the economic costs of loss of livestock to predators. The herders accused of killing the Marsh Pride lions, Simindei Naurori and Kulangash Toposat, have been charged with the poisoning and could be handed life sentences or fined Sh20 million each – a sum poor herders would be incapable of raising. If they are found guilty, justice of a sort will have been seen to have been done. But they are victims as much as the lions and other wildlife (probably vultures and hyenas) which will have died from eating poisoned remains of three cows killed by the lions. If they entered the reserve to graze their animals and then poisoned carcasses of cattle killed by lions then they will have broken the law, but broken it not to poach for substantial gain but to survive in an increasingly harsh habitat and economic environment in which their options as pastoralists are forever narrowing.”

    The first part of the passage is precisely what I’ve been banging on about when I’ve said there are many conflicting agendas here. There are a number of occasions when he returns to the same theme and the full article gives examples of alleged corruption against at least one named senior official which I won’t repeat here. Many people have lots to lose and that’s why it will need a superhuman effort to solve the problems to everyone’s satisfaction. Just enforcing the law will not work longer term – not only are there conflicting agendas in this region but the stakeholders can be very patient and they will wait for the quick fix to operate for a while and then find ways around it.

    And on that rather downbeat note I wish everyone a merry Christmas and we can all pray for better things next year!

    Bob

  9. Mauricio says:

    Hello everyone, and thanks for your comments Bob! I admit I may have made a somewhat biased reading of the article, in part because my recent implication in wolf conservation in Spain has made me more sensitive than before to vested interests insinuating here and there… I will try not to turn caution into paranoia!
    On the other hand, it is interesting to read in yesterday’s news that the US are planning to extend endangered status to the lion, which would make it harder it import trophies to that country, largely under the influence of the case of Cecil. So I think changes may go a bit faster thanks to occasional bursts of media attention… Here is a link:

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/21/us-endangered-species-africa-cecil-the-lion

    Let us keep hopeful and trying to make our opinions heard as loudly as possible, at least that is something they can´t take from us!
    Best wishes for everyone and Happy Holidays!
    Mauricio.

  10. Bob Eveleigh says:

    Mauricio,

    The article you highlighted is good news indeed. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that it makes a difference.

    Bob

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