Africa

Maasai lions: Two charged with Kenya poisoning

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Media captionFootage provided by Porini Camps, Porini guide 'Big John', and Gamewatchers Safaris showed one of the lions appearing to retch on Sunday

Two Maasai herdsmen have been charged after allegedly poisoning a famous pride of lions in Narok, south-west Kenya, a wildlife official said.

Simindei Naururi and Kulangash Toposat reportedly doused a cow carcass with poison at the Maasai Mara Game reserve.

Eight lions are being treated for poisoning. Two others were killed but at least one was not from the pride.

The lions are thought to have killed three of the herdsmen's cows when they entered the reserve.

The Kenyan Wildlife Service (KWS) warned that other animals might have been affected.

The lions, from the famous Marsh pride, were featured on BBC wildlife programme Big Cat Diary.

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Image caption BBC cameraman Mark MacEwen was at the scene

The poisoning was confirmed on the pride's Facebook page on 7 December.

One of the two lions killed was Bibi, a 17-year-old female lion. A BBC wildlife crew member at the scene said she was found "foaming at the mouth, fitting and panting".

The other was disfigured beyond recognition after being eaten by hyenas, said KWS Corporate Communications Manager Paul Udoto.

Another lioness, Sienna, is missing, according to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Her two-year-old cub is reportedly being treated by vets.

The BBC's Alastair Leithead in Nairobi says there is conflict between the big cats and Maasai herdsmen. Local cattle herders have poisoned lions in the past to stop them eating their cattle.

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