Tag Archives: furadan

NTV WILD Season Premiere on 16th January 2016

We are proud to announce the official premier of NTV Wild, a partnership between NTV one of Kenya’s premier broadcasters, WildlifeDirect and the Kenya Wildlife Service.

NTV Wild is a partnership between NTV, KWS and WildlifeDirect. The first ever broadcasting of the Award winning wildlife documentaries made in Kenya and Africa every Saturday.

We will awaken your sense of awe and wonder at our magnificent wildlife heritage, which you own and have a responsibility for protecting.

Help us save it. Visit our magnificent parks, and take actions against anything that threatens our protected areas, wildlife spectacles, wild landscapes and endangered species.

Tune in every Saturday (from the 16th of January) at 8 pm. Share this widely through your networks and on social media using the hasthag NTVWild
We look forward to your feed back


The Marsh Pride: end of an era

Jonathan Scott: The poisoning of members of the Marsh Pride, the world’s best known lions, highlights the need for a lasting solution to human–wildlife conflict in Africa


Lioness Bibi in her prime in the Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya. Bibi was a member of the Marsh Pride that featured in the BBC TV series “Big Cat Diary” from 1996 to 2008. Bibi died on 6 December 2015 after being poisoned along with other members of the pride. Photograph: courtesy of © Andrea Scott. All rights reserved.

Lioness Bibi in her prime in the Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya. Bibi was a member of the Marsh Pride that featured in the BBC TV series “Big Cat Diary” from 1996 to 2008. Bibi died on 6 December 2015 after being poisoned along with other members of the pride. Photograph: courtesy of © Andrea Scott. All rights reserved.

On Sunday morning (6 December 2015) news broke of the poisoning of members of the Marsh Pride. These are the lions that Angela and I have followed since 1977 and were the stars of our “Big Cat” TV series, that documented the fascinating and often tumultuous life of the pride over a period of more than 12 years.

The Marsh Pride occupies a territory on the edge of the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, one of Africa’s foremost protected areas. All members of the “big five” (lion, leopard, African elephant, African buffalo, and black rhinoceros) are found on the vast plains of the Mara, plus a wealth of other wildlife.

On Saturday night, the lions had killed cattle belonging to a family living near the reserve. In retaliation, a member of the family sprinkled pesticide onto the carcass, knowing that the lions would return. He was intentionally trying to kill them. How many lions have died as a result is still unclear.


The body of Marsh Lioness Bibi, who died from poisoning at 7.30 am on Sunday 6 December 2015, along with other members of the Marsh Pride. Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya. Photograph: Courtesy of Patrick Reynolds

The body of Marsh Lioness Bibi, who died from poisoning at 7.30 am on Sunday 6 December 2015, along with other members of the Marsh Pride. Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya. Photograph: Courtesy of Patrick Reynolds

I wish I could say that this was shocking news, but there is nothing shocking any more about what is happening in the Masai Mara. Tens of thousands of cattle encroach in to the Reserve every night when visitors are safely out of sight – but when the likelihood of conflict with predators such as lions and hyenas is at its greatest. This makes no sense.

This sorry state of affairs is testimony to the appalling management of the Reserve east of the river. This is a situation that has existed for at least as long as I have known the Masai Mara. Management failures contributed to the precipitous decline in the Mara’s black rhino population from an estimated 150 to 200 in the 1960s to just 11 by 1983 (it has risen again to between 30 and 40).

The BBC filmed the hugely popular TV series ‘Big Cat Diary’ in Marsh Pride territory from 1996 to 2008. Our base in the Mara was – and still is – a stone cottage at Governor’s Camp. This is a safari camp set in the heart of the reserve, in the vicinity of the glorious Musiara Marsh after which the Marsh Lions were named.

The Marsh is the heart of the Marsh Pride’s dry season territory, while to the east the intermittent watercourse known as Bila Shaka was the traditional breeding site and resting place for the pride. Bila Shaka means ‘without fail’ in Swahili, testimony that the guides could always find lions here. Not now.

Each year Governor’s Camp outfitted a special tented camp for us along the Mara River just upstream from Main Camp. The foundation of the series was that we always knew that we could find lions, leopards and cheetahs in the area on a daily basis. The Marsh Pride were at the heart of the series, and virtually never let us down.

The Marsh Pride at home in the Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya. Photograph: courtesy of © Andrea Scott. All rights reserved.

The Marsh Pride at home in the Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya. Photograph: courtesy of © Andrea Scott. All rights reserved.

But that all changed when the authorities decided to turn a blind eye to the incursion of cattle into the reserve, forcing the lions to move out or risk death. The Marsh Pride has always been vulnerable since its territory spreads beyond the reserve boundary. This is particularly apparent in the wet season when Musiara Marsh (and Bila Shaka at times) becomes waterlogged and the lions move to higher ground to north and east.

Each year we lose lions to poisoning or spearing by pastoralists. That was always part of life for the lions. But in the last few years the situation has escalated beyond all reason, with the Marsh Pride becoming increasingly fragmented by the influx of cattle and herdsmen. Today it would be impossible to film Big Cat Diary in the same location. What a damning fact that is.

This year the impact of livestock has been all too apparent. Huge herds of cattle would camp during the daytime along the boundary of the reserve waiting for the tourists to head in to camp. Soon the Musiara area looked like a desert and each night you could see dozens of flickering torches as the cattle were driven in to the reserve after dark.

The deep tracks leading into the reserve are testament to this, along with piles of cattle dung scattered deep inside it. And the Musiara area is not alone. Guides from other parts of the Mara have been complaining about this situation for years. But nobody seems to be able to do anything about it.

These incursions are threatening the social cohesion – and very existence – of the Marsh Pride. Earlier in the year a breakaway group of young Marsh Pride females with young cubs were forced to cross the Mara River and set up home in the Kichwa Tembo area. The older females – Bibi (17), Sienna (11) and Charm (11) – and their cubs increasingly avoided Bila Shaka and the Marsh, loitering at the fringes of their traditional territory, forced to encroach on neighbouring prides.

The pride males – Scarface and his three companions – no longer visit the Musiara area, ever since Scarface was shot in 2013. He was treated and recovered but knew better than to stay.

In the past pride males often only managed a tenure of 2 years – sometimes less – before being forced out of their pride by younger or more powerful rivals. It was not uncommon to see groups of five or six young nomadic males roaming the Musiara or Paradise area together. I have counted as many as nine travelling as a group. That was a sign of a healthy lion population with lots of dispersing sub-adults.

Now Marsh Pride males are able to remain as pride males for many more years, due to a decline in the number of young nomadic male lions vying to replace them. The scarcity of these nomadic males suggests that they are not surviving as well as in the past, due to the disturbance that lions are facing on a nightly basis in parts of the Mara from livestock and herdsmen, or from trying to survive in less optimal areas beyond the reserve boundary.

Lions are always going to kill livestock if it comes within range – and of course they will sometimes kill livestock outside the reserve and must bear the consequences when they do. The only way to prevent this happening is if there are sufficient incentives to persuade the herdsmen that lions equate to tourists – and that means a financial return.

And that is the key point. Many Masai do not think of the Masai Mara Reserve as a source of income. They often feel that it is unfair that wildlife is allowed to share their pastures, and sometimes kill their livestock, while they are not allowed to reciprocate by bringing livestock in to the Reserve during dry times.

The Masai have roamed these areas for hundreds of years, long before it was given official protection. Understandably the Masai claim the Mara as their own. The authorities urgently need to address this issue by ensuring that everyone benefits from tourism to the Mara in a truly tangible way.

There will be no safe place for the Marsh Lions until the reserve authorities decide to address all of the issues that have been debated ever since I first came to live in the Mara in 1977. Measures must be taken now to ensure an equitable distribution of revenue from the reserve to the local community, and to increase support for the wildlife conservancies created on private lands around the reserve, where cattle grazing is permitted on a rotational basis.

Within the reserve, there should be a moratorium on any further tourism development, and an embargo on grazing of livestock.

What a miracle it would be if the demise of the Marsh Pride became the catalyst for serious dialogue and change as to how the Masai Mara is managed. The Governor of Narok County, the Honorable Samuel Ole Tunai, pledged to do just that when he called a Masai Mara Stakeholders Meeting in Nairobi in September 2015.

I attended that meeting and was impressed by the number of people who made the effort to come along and by the Governor’s openness to dialogue. Since then a small group of concerned individuals drawn from all walks of life have worked to support the Governor’s initiative.

We can only hope that we are about to witness tangible steps towards securing the future of this iconic landscape and its magnificent wildlife.


Paula Kahumbu writes: This is an edited version of an article written by Jonathan and Angela Scott and published on their blog on 7 December 2015. Jonathan and his wife Angie are award winning authors and internationally renowned wildlife photographers. My sincere thanks to Jonathan and Angela for permission to publish the article here.

Responding to a tip-off from visitors, the Kenya Wildlife Service and local authorities acted swiftly to bring the culprits to court, while the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and other local conservation organisations were prompt to treat the affected lions. But despite this veterinary support three lions have already died. At the time of writing, another four are still sick. The condition of others is not known.

Kenya has never before charged a person with poisoning wildlife, even though it is a frequent crime that has devastating effects on populations of lions, vultures and other predators.

However in this case the new Wildlife Crime Prosecution Unit has moved quickly to charge the suspects of this crime with offences against endangered wildlife species under Section 92 of the 2013 Wildlife Act, which could result in a fine of Ksh 20 million (USD 200,000) and/or life imprisonment.

This is another welcome sign that Kenyan courts are now taking wildlife crimes seriously. As Jonathan eloquently argues, this needs to be backed up by action to address the root causes of wildlife crime, inspired by the vision of a common future for people and wildlife


Paula Kahumbu wins 2011 National Geographic Society/Buffett Award for Leadership in African Conservation

WildlifeDirect Executive Director Dr. Paula Kahumbu has for the second time this year won a National Geographic award after being declared the winner of the prestigious National Geographic Society/Buffet Award for Leadership in African Conservation. Moi Enomenga, a community leader of the Huaorani people from the Ecuadorian Amazon, who is working to preserve his cultural heritage and the forests where his people live, is the winner of the award for South America. Previously, in May 2011, Dr. Kahumbu was named – together with 13 other trailblazers – as a National Geographic Emerging Explorer for 2011.

Kahumbu and Enomenga have been recognized for their “outstanding leadership and the vital role they play in managing and protecting the natural resources in their regions. They are inspirational conservation advocates who serve as role models and mentors in their communities,” said Peter Raven, chairman of the Conservation Trust, the body that screens the submitted nominations.

Kahumbu’s award is in recognition of her work at WildlifeDirect. As the Executive Director of WildlifeDirect, she uses the power of the Internet to spotlight key conservation issues and raise awareness and donations for projects saving wildlife and wild places. Thanks to her efforts, about 120 conservation projects have an online platform to share challenges and victories via blogs, videos, photos and podcasts, saving species from ants to lions. By celebrating the work of conservation heroes, Kahumbu has turned WildlifeDirect into a tool to advocate for and share home-grown conservation solutions to such challenges as ivory and rhino horn poaching, roads through parks, climate change and wildlife conflict in areas that neighbor parks.

The National Geographic/Buffet Award for conservation leadership in Africa is given to one African conservation leader every year by Howard Buffet the president of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, which focuses on humanitarian and conservation issues. The award is the greatest accolade that Kahumbu has ever received for her work. She will be presented with the award and a cash prize of USD 25,000 on the 21st of June at a ceremony at the National Geographic Society.

Read the press release announcing the two winners at the National Geographic website

paula with telescope

Who is Paula Kahumbu?

Coached and mentored by legendary Kenyan conservationist Dr. Richard Leakey, who remains one of her closest allies and supporters, Nairobi, Kenya-born Kahumbu has had an illustrious career more than spanning two decades. Her entry into conservation work was marked by one of the most memorable event in the history of elephant conservation when she was assigned the task of weighing Kenya’s ivory stockpile prior to the 1989 ivory burning ceremony – a powerful international statement that Kenya would not tolerate the effect of the trade in ivory on her elephants. She would later deliver passionate and forceful speeches at two consecutive conferences of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) as head of the Kenya delegation – while working for the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) – to the convention.

Kahumbu’s achievements are numerous. While conducting her PhD research on elephants in Shimba Hills at the Kenya coast, Shestarted the Colobus Trust – a volunteer organization that conserves the black and white colobus and other primates in the resort beachfront of Diani – and introduced the colbus bridges or “colobridges” to help the monkeys cross the busy Diani highway. All the while, she was singlehandedly raising her 2 year old son Joshua – now a grown man serving in the US Navy.

After attaining her doctorate from the prestigious Princeton University, Kahumbu would briefly return to KWS before joining Bamburi Cement where she launched the environmental subsidiary, Lafarge Eco Systems. She published the best selling childrens book, Owen and Mzee (Scholastic Press), the story of the giant tortoise that adopted a baby hippo orphaned by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. The book sold more than 1 million copies and is translated into 27 languages.

Kahumbu joined WildlifeDirect in 2007 and spearheaded its growth into Africa’s largest wildlife conservation blogging platform. With a keen eye, she noticed reports of poisoning of wildlife in several blogs. The poison used in all cases was Furadan, an American made pesticide formulation of the lethal chemical carbofuran. She documented the massive nationwide misuse of Furadan for killing lions, other predators, scavengers and wetland birds and the catastrophic decline of Kenya’s lion and vulture populations that this caused. KWS estimate a population of fewer than 2000 lions and the vulture population is said to have declined by between 50% and 80% due to poisoning. Kahumbu led a campaign against Furadan resulting in the manufacturer, FMC Corporation of Philadelphia, withdrawing the product from East African market but it still is in use and birds and fish are still being poisoned. Kahumbu still campaigns for a total ban and revocation of licenses for the deadly poison.

Kahumbu is known for her passion and recently, she has taken up the task of ensuring that development in the outskirts of Nairobi City do not compromise the wellbeing of the wildlife of Nairobi National Park, the city’s ‘green’ jewel. Convinced that the park is integral to the value of the city for instance, she has persuaded many organizations including KWS, ILRI, the community, AWF, the Wildlife Foundation, ACC, the Friends of Nairobi National Park, the Kenya Land Conservation Trust, WildlifeDirect, private land owners and many others to conduct an ecosystem wide wildlife census that will help guide the decisions taken by the ministry of transport regarding the controversial Greater Southern Bypass. She chairs the board of the volunteer organization, Friends of Nairobi National Park, whose sole mission is to preserve the beautiful and unique park.

Kahumbu’s education and passion for championing the environment cause has greatly influenced others to take up the mantle. William Kimosop, who recently opened a hiking trail across Kenya’s Great Rift Valley to conserve the Greater Kudu and connect communities through ecotourism, and Anthony Kasanga who saves lions in the Mbirikani area near Tsavo National Park – and who recently returned from Oxford University with a diploma in wildlife management after being spotted by the prestigious school on the WildlifeDirect blogs – are just a couple of the many she has inspired.

Kahumbu recently launched a partnership with Screaming Reels Production where she presents the documentary series, Wildlife Sentinels, reporting on news from the conservation frontline and bringing to light the ivory trade, poaching, human wildlife conflict and other real life wildlife stories.

“All Kenyans should be thrilled that Paula has been recognized for her achievements through the National Geographic/Howard Buffet Award. She is the country’s most passionate advocate for wildlife conservation and has made enormous personal sacrifices to protect it. Her efforts to have the pesticide carbofuran (sold locally as Furadan) banned have so far not been received well by the relevant ministries in Kenya, but this award will boost interest locally and internationally and I urge the government of Kenya to fully support Kahumbu’s initiatives to save Kenya’s unique wildlife heritage” said Richard Leakey, proud of the talent he has helped nurture.

Pesticide poisoning may be the greatest threat to wildlife in Kenya

According to Kenyan law, it is a serious offense to misuse or abuse pesticides in this country and the Pest Control Products Board is meant to regulate the safe use of pesticides for food production. Through my organization WildlifeDirect, I have been calling for a total ban on the deadly carbofuran pesticide locally known by its trade name Furadan in Kenya since 2009 because it is devastating wildlife in the country.  Carbofuran is intended to kill agricultural insect pests and is a neurotoxin that paralyses its victims. WildlifeDirect has documented the misuse and abuse of this chemical which may now be the most serious threat facing wildlife conservation in Kenya today.

To raise awareness, and get government help, we called a national workshop to address the issue of pesticide poisoning of wildlife in April 2008.  It wasn’t until late 2009 that a Task Force under the Ministry of Agriculture was created to address the issue of pesticide impacts on the environment. The Task Force chaired by the Pest Control Board however, has achieved nothing tangible, and the agency has refused to acknowledge a single poisoning incident report submitted by WildlifeDirect. The PCPB has not called a meeting since September 2010 or explained why they have not done so.

Wildlife Direct scientists have been consistently reporting that Furadan has been used to poison lions due to human wildlife conflict, and it is considered to be one of the main causes of the decline of population of lions in Kenya – now reduced to fewer than 2,000 individual animals. The pesticide is sprinked onto carcasss of livestock to kill lions which cannot detect its presence as it has no smell or taste. Any animal that scavenges on a laced carcass will die within minutes and that includes jackals, hyena’s and vultures. Go to the national parks and you will hardly see a vulture anymore. Vultures populations have declined nationwide  by between 50 and 80% due to pesticide poisoning targeting lions.

We have also been reporting the large scale bird poisoning came in Mwea (central-eastern Kenya) where tens of thousands of birds were killed by the lethal poison in the mid 1990s. Farmers were reported to be eliminating the birds to prevent damage to crops. Researcher Martin Odino of WildlifeDirect documents the use of Furadan to poison wading birds in Bunyala (western Kenya) where poachers poison tens of thousands of wild ducks, geese, storks, doves and other birds using Furadan-laced bait every year. The White faced Whistling duck has disappeared from the area completely. WildlifeDirect has documented in photographs and film, how birds are killed and sold for food to local people in markets. The PCPB has refused to acknowledge or investigate these reports despite the serious public health risk.

Though produced in USA by an American firm FMC, Furadan is not permitted for use in the country after the Environmental Protection Agency declared it unsafe for users, consumers and the environment in December 2009. After the airing a shocking documentary showing the poisoning of lions in Kenya in 2009 on CBS 60 minutes, FMC announced a complete withdrawal and buyback of the pesticide in all East Africa where they admitted it was being misused.

According to their website, “FMC Corporation has repurchased Furadan 5G from distributors and retailers in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.  The buy-back program remains open for any product that might still be in commercial channels.  Should any additional product be found in the marketplace, please let FMC know the location details so it can be repurchased.  FMC has no plans to reintroduce the product in these countries in the future”.

The poison was removed only from Kenyan stores, and it was simply moved to Tanzania and Uganda. From there it has been coming back across the border and continues to be found in some Agrovet outlets. Despite the global concerns concerns about the dangers of Furadan, the PCPB continues to permit its use of Furadan in flower farming. It is supplied locally by Juanco Ltd and is advertised on their website.

WildlifeDirect has consistently argued that the pesticide management system in Kenya needs to be revised. Deadly pesticides like Furadan should not be sold over the counter as users are not trained in safe use, and do not have or use any safety gear. Moreover, when poisoning incidents do occur,  rural clinics cannot handle them. In 2009, the Standard newspaper and WildlifeDirect reported that Nelson Kimutai, a three-year old boy from Kitale in Kenya, had died after consuming Furadan that his father had bought to rid his maize farm of rats and insects. He had stored the product in the kitchen and was using it with his bare hands. His son did not associate the chemical with danger and ate a little. Four hours later the local clinic was unable to save his life as they did not know how to reverse the effects of the pesticide.

In her best selling book “Silent Spring” Rachel Carson describes how the poisoning of the earth with DDT and other organophosphates in the USA threatened the lives of people and nature. She accused the agrochemical industry of being untruthful, and raised concern that public officials were failing to protect the public and environment by accepting industry claims uncritically.  The awareness that this book raised led to the banning of DDT in 1972. America has never looked back. Kenya is now experiencing her silent spring and it is time that the public questioned the governments decisions on which chemicals are used in food production. To date Kenya has no standards for pesticide limits in food, and conducts no testing of consumer products in shops. While the medical fraternity express concern about a cancer epidemic, nobody is examining the possible causes.

Given the obvious risks associated with the use and misuse of agrochemicals in Kenya it seems clear that our regulations and capacity to enforce the law are inadequate.   The PCPB its self is compromised by the fact that it is located in the Ministry of Agriculture therefore it cannot be an industry watchdog looking out for the interests of human and environmental health. Moreover, the PCPB is severely under resourced with only 9 inspectors and 2 vehicles nationwide. There are over 9,000 agrovets in the nation. This puts the tiny agency at the mercy of powerful agro chemical industry players who promise to “self regulate”. According to their annual reports, the PCPB’s meagre income is obtained almost entirely from the sale of agrochemicals. No wonder they are allergic to any suggestion of pesticide product bans.

We urge the government of Kenya to urgently address the human health and environmental risks by banning the use of carbofuran and removing the PCPB from the ministry of Agriculture where it is in a position of conflict of interest, and provide adequate resources to enable the PCPB to be effective.

Dr. Paula Kahumbu has a PhD from Princeton University and is the Executive Director of WildlifeDirect.c

WildlifeDirect asks the Government of Kenya to save lions by banning carbofuran

WildlifeDirect has been attending government meetings over the issues of carbofuran and its impacts on Kenyan lions and other wildlife. While some arms of the government still question the evidience that this pesticide is devastating wildlife and poses unacceptable risks to people, there are other elements in goverment who are thankfully calling for a more precautionary appraoch.

After six months and four meetings I can’t say we have made any significant progress as every meeting seems to be politically charged and highly bureacratic.

Nevertheless, we are participating and have submitted a report to the Government of Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture to provide evidence for banning carbofuran in the country. We conclude that carbofuran use in Kenya is should not be permitted because this deadly toxic pesticide is too dangerous for use and should be eliminated from use as an agricultural pesticide in order to protect farmers, consumers and wildlife. Below are the bullet points of key findings followed by a list of recommendations:

WildlifeDirect presents key benefits of revoking registration of products containing carbofuran in Kenya

1. To protect Kenyan farmers and consumers from the harmful effects of Carbofuran residues on food and in the soil and water.

2. To protect international trade in Kenyan horticultural exports to regions where Carbouran use and chemical residues on food items are not permitted.

3. To halt the unacceptable harm that Carbofuran is causing to key wildlife species including lions, vultures, wetlands birds, fish and wetland invertebrates, and valuable non target insects like bees and other pollinators and natural predators.


WildlifeDirect on behalf of members of the Stop Poisoning Task Force[1]makes the following recommendations to the Government of Kenya regarding the pesticide Carbofuran

1. In line with Europe and USA, immediately revoke registration of products containing carbofuran and other carbamates in Kenya to protect users, consumers and wildlife. This will also protect horticultural exporters.

2. Promote and incentivize farmers to use safer alternatives for pest control in agriculture including Integrated Pest control methods (IPM) and natural pest control products like neem Tephrosia vogelii (Azam et al. 2008)

3. Strengthen the capacity of the PCPB to provide effective nation wide pesticide training and awareness creation for farmers and the general public

4. Strengthen enforcement of the law and ensure stiff penalties for pesticide misuse and abuse

5. Significantly increase funding to the PCPB to ensure that this important institution can achieve it’s mandate in full, including the establishment of mechanisms to track pesticide use monitor the impact of pesticides on agriculture and the environment

6. Initiate and promote the use of a pesticide poisoning hotline and circulate approved reporting forms for pesticide incidents from the general public and organizations to all concerned.

7. Make public, quarterly reports of pesticide residue monitoring on food, water and environment

8. Immediately enlist Kenya Wildlife Service on the board of the PCPB

We appreciate all the help we have received from supporters and look forward to a positive outcome of this meeting. The full report is available to on request. Just leave a comment below with your email address.

[1]The Stop Poisoning Wildlife Task Force comprises individuals representing the East African Wildlife Society, Nature Kenya, Living with Lions, Raptor Working Group, Green Dreams, WildlifeDirect, Forest Action Network, WWF, The Wildlife Foundation, and many other individual conservationists

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5 lions and 16 vultures poisoned in Uganda

FIVE lions and 16 vultures in the Queen Elizabeth National Park in western Uganda have died of suspected
poisoning, acting warden Nelson Guma said. The carcasses of three
lionesses and two males, formerly part of a pride of about 10, along the Kasenyi
track, were discovered about a kilometre from Hamukungu fish landing site on
Wednesday. Park rangers said one of the lionesses was pregnant. Guma
expressed the fear that more lions and wild animals like hyenas, which feed on
dead animals, could also be dead. Usually local people complain of the
wild animals eating their domestic animals, but Guma said there had been no such
case in the recent past.

“It is unfortunate that people with bad hearts poison the lions and end up killing more animals than intended,” he said.

Reports said two people were arrested near the area where the lions were
killed. The animals reportedly killed and ate six head of cattle two months ago.
Guma said he would investigate the claims. Rangers yesterday
retrieved the carcasses of the lions from the wilderness for examination. They
also recovered two dead head of cattle and two cow skins. A swarm of dead green
flies littered the area, indicating possible poisoning. Dr. Margaret
Drachiru, a veterinary doctor at the Uganda Wildlife Authority we took samples
for testing, said the animals could have died on Sunday. She added that
the two head of cattle were not killed by the lions, but were slaughtered and
placed there to trap the cats. According to Guma, lions are the biggest
tourist attraction in the Queen Elizabeth National Park. The dead lions
were the ones which tourists were sure to see at the park, which is said to hold
about 105 lions. The park covers Kyambura and Ishasha sectors. Experts,
using scientific methods, found 214 cats between 1999 and 2004 in Uganda. But
crude estimates put the number to about 745 across the country. It is believed
that the Queen Elizabeth park and the DR Congo hold up to 905 African lions.
Perceived as a threat to livestock and humans, lions are also hunted for
their skins and purported medicinal values. They are poisoned, shot, or speared
by locals. While lion populations in protected areas remain relatively
healthy, conservationists say without urgent measures, they may disappear as
their habitat is lost to deforestation and encroachers. For example, in
2006, about 10 lions were killed in the park in areas which were temporarily
occupied by the Basongora pastoralists who had been chased from the Virunga
National Park in eastern Congo. Uganda has 10 national parks. Lions are
also found in the Murchison Falls in Kidepo Park. Some are said to be in the
Semliki area in Toro. In Lake Mburo National Park, however, the lions
have become extinct. The Uganda Wildlife Authority has put in place
various interventions, including sensitising communities around the parks in an
attempt to save the big cats.

This story was published in Uganda’s New Vision Newspaper and can be found at “http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/12/720148

Details and photos of lions poisoned in Masai Mara

On the 25th of April investigators discovered three dead  lions near Lemek in the Masai Mara ecosystem which occurred on the 22nd of April 2010. The lions lay dead in a traditional homestead where they had been poisoned by eating a cow laced with pesticides by a Masai family. A lioness had died about 5-10 meters away from the cow carcass. The carcasses of a juvenile male and second lioness lay some 30m away. There were piles of dead flies around the cow carcass and the lions had not yet been scavenged. KWS arrested a local man who admitted that he had poisoned the lions with his neighbors. He produced a container that contained pink powder, which he had used to poison the lion. The same pink coloring was visible on the laced meat of the cow carcass used for the poisoning.  KWS have sent samples of the lion carcasses and the pink substance have been sent for toxicological tests to confirm what pesticide was used.

lion poisoned Masai Mara

The suspect confirmed that the cow carcass that was laced belonged to him and other family members, and that it had been killed by lions when his herd’s boy was grazing livestock. The suspect was taken to the police by KWS but despite the admission of guilt and evidence provided, he was released shortly thereafter. According to sources who wish to remain anonymous, a local politician intervened on his behalf.

Lion poisoning 2nd female-1small

This incident brings to 8 the number of confirmed poisoning cases of lions in recent weeks in southern Kenya, the other five occurring near the Amboseli National Park. In their National Conservation and Management strategy for Lions and Hyenas, the Kenya Wildlife Service state that “poisoning is perhaps the greatest threat to predators and scavenging birds” and reveal that Kenya’s lion population has declined to fewer than 2,000 individuals and estimates that only 1,970 individuals remain.  KWS confirm that 2010 has started off badly for lions – in addition to 8 confirmed poisonings, more than 10 other lions have been killed in other circumstances; A lion was shot in or near Buffalo Springs Reserve, Samburu District, by local police, while others have been speared near Amboseli  National Park.

lion poisoning (Cow) small

In response to this incident, Richard Leakey the Chairman of WildlifeDirect has again called for the government to take action “The future of tourism in Kenya is at risk if dangerous pesticides used to kill lions like Carbofuran (sold locally as Furadan) remain on the market and cases of abuse are not followed up and culprits are set free time and time again. The Kenyan government must show it’s seriousness and take swift action on availability of deadly pesticides like Furadan and the enforcement of the law in obvious incidents of pesticide abuse such as this. Failing this Kenya’s lions go extinct in a matter of years which will cause a catastrophic loss in potential tourism revenues ” .

Conservationists in Kenya warn that carbofuran is the most widely used pestsicide to kill wildlife pests such as lions and leopards in the country. It is also used in pesticide fishing and hunting of birds for human consumption. Carbofuran is a neurotoxin that is deadly to fish, birds in irrigation schemes, cats and even humans.  Due to it’s toxicity and negative impacts, carbofuran is not permitted for use in agriculture in the European Union and use in USA where it is manufactured, was recently revoked after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found it unsafe for users, consumers and wildlife. After incidents of lion poisoning in Kenya became public in 2008, the manufacturers of Furadan, FMC withdrew the product from Kenyan shelves. However, carbofuran is not banned and Furadan can still be found in some places, and the active ingredient carbofuran occurs in other over-the-counter pesticides.

Lion Death Map  Masai Mara

WildlifeDirect is a conservation charity registered in USA and Kenya, and based in Nairobi. We enable conservationists at the front lines to tell their stories and raise awareness about their work through over 80 blogs from the field on the website platform http://wildlifedirect.org.  The Chairman of WildlifeDirect is Dr. Richard Leakey and the Executive Director is Dr. Paula Kahumbu. Visit http://wildlifedirect.org for more information

Furadan: WildlifeDirect is campaigning for the de-registration or total ban on the active ingredient of Furadan, carbofuran in Kenya due to the threats it poses to users, consumers and wildlife. This pesticide threatens the survival of lions, vultures, fish species and many other mammals and birds In Kenya. Furadan is produced in USA by FMC and is sold locally by Juanco SPS as an agricultural insecticide.  For more information on our campaign against wildlife poisoning visit http://stopwildlifepoisoning.wildlifedirect.org

KWS is the government body responsible for wildlife conservation in Kenya.  For more information visit http://www.kws.org

For other photographs or more information please contact Paula Kahumbu [email protected], or call 0722685106, or 020 2602463

8 more lions killed – Kenya Government now discussing carbofuran poisoning

Dear friends,

We have just been informed of another case of lion poisoning. Three lions, two adult females and one adolescent male were poisoned on the 25th of April in the Masai Mara. The culprit was caught with a tub of the pesticide alleged to be Furadan or a carbofuran based pesticide. A camel that had been killed by lions was laced with the pesticide by a young man. He admitted his action and identified where he had obtained the product – from the house of a local government official! Needdless to say, although KWS arrested the man and had him behind bars, the government official had him quickly released.

In Amboseli it is estimated that over 12 lions have been poisoned since the beginning of the year. The most recent incident involved five lions. KWS are still awaiting test results from this incident.

We will be sharing photographs and details shortly.

Although some govenrment officials continue to deny that lions are being poisoned, or that the misues of pesticides like Furadan are a good reason to ban the product, there is clearly emerging recognition that the problem is very serious. Some lion experts believe that the total number of lions in Kenya had dropped to well below the 2,000 claimed by KWS. This is mostly due to poisoning of lions in retaliation to incidents of conflict. The value that lions bring to Kenya cannot be overstated, they are the number one attraction to the country. Without lions our valuable tourism industry will falter.

The Agriculturalists in Government warn however that banning carbofuran will have a devastating effect on food security of the country. We find this very hard to believe especially since the product has been withrdawn from the market with no obvious effect since late 2008. In USA and Europe alternative safer and more environmentally friendly pesticides replace carbofuran, we expect the same will happen in Kenya and Africa, especially for export crops since Europe and the USA do not accept any residues of carbofuran on food imports.

While it’s bad news for lions, we do have some hopeful news on our campaign to have Carboruran banned in Kenya. During recent weeks we have been in talks with the Agricultural Ministry and other government departments over the issue of Carbofuran poisoning.

The Environmental Secretary of the Agricultural Ministry has created a Task Force to examine the evidence and come up with recommendations regarding the use and abuse of carbofuran in Kenya. Participants in the meeting include a number of Government agencies that have already demonstrated great resistance to our efforts to raise awareness about the threats that Carbofuran pose to wildlife, especially lions and vultures. The conservationists were limited to WildlfeDirect and WWF. Its not ideal, the table is not balanced and discussions are very uncomfortable, but at least there is some level of discussion. What we are most concerned about is that the proposed way forward will entail recommendations moving up four different levels of committees before any decision can be made. Given how ‘fast’ our government works, we are looking at years and years of discussions.

We are hoping however that the evidence that we have will be compelling enough to enable the new and hopefully more humane Agricultural Minister, Mrs. Sally Kosgey to move quickly.

Please support our work to enable us to Kick Carbofuran out of Kenya.

Five lions poisoned near Amboseli

The recent drought decimated Kenyas herds as well as wildlife. Local communities have lost their patience with lions and other predators and have started killing them. We have just received a sad report from the Lion Guardians that two lionesses were killed in the Chyullu Hills, one was nursing cubs that have probably died. The other was pregnant. Local people spear lions to make a statment. But when they just want to get rid of them, poison is much more effective.

This is why we are saddened but not surprised to hear that a pride of five lions plus one hyena have died after consuming poisoned bait near Amboseli National Park. According to the report, a bucket with purple stains and blood was found at the scene – it probably contained the items of bait that were laced as well as the poison furadan which is purple.

Today I received a distressed call from someone in Ngutuni, a sanctuary where a lion cub estimated to be only 4 – 6 months old has been injured and possibly has a broken his foreleg. Abandoned by his pride he has sat under a bush for 3 days now. Thankfully we were able to contact the David Sheldrick Trust and confirm that a rescue will be attempted tomorrow.

We are trying to get more details on these stories.


Carbofuran the most widely used poison in USA

A Kentucky man has pleaded guilty to poisoning migratory raptors using Furadan and has been fined US$ 5,000 for the offence. He admitted to lacing a turkey carcasses with Furadan to poison coyotes and ended up killing migratory birds, three red-tailed hawks and three vultures,

According to federal agent Jim Gale.

“Furadan is the most widely misused pesticide documented during wildlife poisoning investigations in the United States,” he said. “During the past 10 years Furadan has been documented in 26 investigations in Kentucky alone.”

The threat to Kenya’s lions by Furadan remains a high priority due to the growing human lion conflict resulting from the drought. Scientist are on high alert and have warned us that they expect a surge in killings.

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