Lions – multi-use area

Our current count of lions in the multi-use section of Ngorongoro, between the Ngorongoro Crater and the Ndutu region, is never 100% certain. Lions are rarely seen and instead we rely on signs – like tracks, hair or scat. Our current best guesstimate for 2020 is 10-20 individuals, including up to 13 individuals that have departed from the Ngorongoro Crater (five-seven of these are females from the Lakes pride, who will potentially return to re-settle in the Crater).

Two of the lions in this multi-use area are GPS collared; the male Laipangwa (aka TWH-2) originating from the Ndutu area, and Lemunge (aka MG130), originating from the Crater. They both appear to have settled with females, in the Oldepesi swamp area NW of the Crater, and in the Laetoli Valley, respectively.

In the last couple of years, we’ve seen more lion observations in the multi-use areas, and that lion stay here for longer times. In these landscapes shared with people, encounters with livestock and potential conflicts are common. The lions target wild prey when they can, but occasionally people’s valued cattle are on the menu. Conflicts erupt and livestock owners can incur high, sometimes detrimental costs, to their livelihoods.

Our approach to prevent and alleviate conflicts together with the pastoralist communities of the NCA is valued, and is reflected in the increased tolerance we now see towards lion, and more resigned acceptance of attack events.

Coexistence is all in the balance, and we believe that lions can make use of these multi-use areas, and this balance can be attained, but only with support towards better protection for both lions and livestock, conflict mitigation, and some tangible benefits from lion conservation.

Laipangwa is one of our GPS collared lions. Teamed up with females on the slope and plains NW of the Ngorongoro Crater.

BACK

Lemunge aka MG130 also with GPS collar – a Crater-born male that made the trek in reverse. Departed from the Crater and settled for some time in Ndutu area. Photo credit: Bobby-Jo photography.

Unfortunately, lions have no cultural taboos against eating cows. Meat is meat. But they soon learn. Lions that have adapted to live in community land never hang around at a cow carcass, as they would by that of a wild prey. If it’s a cow, they gobble up quickly and leave.