Loonkito had been watched by guards for years. The wild lion was once the leader of a pride of lions, but was hunted in 2017 and has lived alone ever since.
In lions, it is the females who hunt and provide food. Loonkito lost a lot of weight after having to leave his group. Desperate to find food, he entered the southern village of Olkelunyiet. There he was harpooned by the local guards.
At nineteen, Loonkito was probably the oldest wild lion in Africa and therefore one of the oldest wild lions in the world. Lions often do not live longer than thirteen years in the wild, although they can live much longer in captivity.
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Amboseli National Park, which monitors Loonkito’s habitat, could not say for sure that Loonkito was the oldest lion in Africa. He was “certainly one of the oldest”, says a spokesperson BBC News. In any case, an older wild lion on the mainland is not known to the park.
The killing of the lion causes a lot of grief in Kenya. Loonkito, according to lion conservation group Lion Guardians, was “a symbol of resilience and coexistence”.
Animal organizations are calling for more to be done to protect lions. Animals are endangered all over the world. Besides Africa, they live in the wild only in India, in protected reserves.
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