Conservationists in the Ngorongoro Crater, a Tanzanian National Park, are searching for a compromise with the area’s native Maasai tribes, whose survival and longstanding traditions depend on killing lions.
The park’s protected lions are crossing Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) borders and killing Maasai livestock during dry seasons. The Maasai orchestrate “revenge killings” in retaliation. Ceremonial group lion hunts are also a Maasai rite of passage.
But, “the resulting death rate threatens two of the four prides in the NCA,” writes Cheryl Lyn Dybas in the July issue of The Scientist:
Maasai graze their livestock in open pastures during the day, when one to three herdsmen—who are often very young—protect the cattle against lions. Cattle losses to lions could be reduced if adults rather than children served as guards. Another solution: replacing wooden barriers with chain-link fencing in village corrals.