Poisoned lion in Kenya euthanized after condition worsened

AP News
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Posted: Dec 09, 2015 1:38 PM
Poisoned lion in Kenya euthanized after condition worsened

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A lion cub that was part of a famous pride that was poisoned in the Masai Mara Game Reserve was euthanized after its condition deteriorated, a Kenya wildlife official said Wednesday.

The cub from the Marsh Pride, which featured in the popular BBC television series "Big Cat Diary," had been separated from others after being poisoned, leaving it vulnerable to an attack by buffalo that caused internal injuries, said Kenya wildlife Service spokesman Paul Udoto.

The male cub, named Alan, was receiving treatment but deteriorated rapidly this morning and was put down by Kenya Wildlife Service veterinarians, Udoto said. Two other lions have already died from the poisoning.

One of the dead lions has been identified as Bibi, one of the Marsh Pride, while the other unidentified one had been mauled by hyenas beyond recognition, Udoto said. The remains are presumed to be that of Sienna, another member of the pride that has not been seen since the incident occurred.

The lions were poisoned after they attacked and killed two cows belonging to Maasai herdsmen who let their cattle graze in the Masai Mara Game Reserve in western Kenya. Three people have been arrested but one has agreed to become a prosecution witness, hence it's likely no charges will be brought against him, Udoto said.

The men are suspected of setting out poisoned meat for the lions on Sunday night. Two suspects were remanded in police custody on Tuesday for two weeks by a court to facilitate investigations into the poisoning.

The poisoning hasn't only affected the lions but seems to have moved through the food chain. Nine vultures have been found dead near the remains, Udoto said.

Land division and urbanization have reduced the traditional grazing lands of the Maasai herdsmen who have responded by allowing their cattle to roam on the plains of the game reserves.