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 user 2005-08-19 at 8:19:00 am Views: 49
  • #12671

    Deadly Lion Attacks Triple in Tanzania

    ARUSHA, Tanzania (Aug.05)
    - Hungry lions pursuing wild pigs into human settlements are killing
    people three times as often as they did 15 years ago in Tanzania,
    according to a survey.

    The development has taken a toll on lions as villagers and wildlife
    officials hunt down man-eating lions, according to the report released
    Wednesday by the science journal Nature.

    The human-lion conflict is a product of poverty, growth in human and
    lion populations and decline in traditional prey for the big cats,
    according research by the University of Minnesota’s Lion Research
    Center and Tanzania’s Wildlife Research Institute.

    Some Tanzanians have set up homes near wildlife conservation areas and
    others farm in corridors used by wild animals to move between protected
    areas and water sources, Zakia Meghji, Tanzanian’s minister for tourism
    and natural resources, told The Associated Press Thursday.

    “Lions that often attack humans are old animals that are unable to stay
    in the pride. They end up targeting humans who are a far more easier
    prey than wildlife,” Meghji added.

    Villagers, who cannot afford to buy fences, often sleep in their fields
    to guard their crops against nocturnal pests such as wild pigs. These
    farmers fall prey to lions who follow the pigs, according to the report.

    Since 1990, lions have killed more than 563 people and injured at least
    308, according to report, with fatal attacks increasing markedly over

    In the past, lions have typically hunted wildebeest rather than wild
    pigs. But as Tanzania’s population has grown, traditional prey numbers
    have declined.

    Farmers should dig trenches around their fields to keep away the pigs, the researchers advised.

    This would also help conserve the number of lions in Tanzania, an East
    African nation that is home to the largest population of the big cats
    in the world.

    Meghji, said, though, that lions were increasing.

    “There has been a definite increase in the population of lions because
    we have effectively controlled poaching by giving 25 percent of
    wildlife revenues to local communities that now see the benefit of
    protecting the animals,” Meghji said.