Maasai Warriors in Northern Tanzania say they no longer kill Lions for Bride Price, only in Self Defense.
Killing a Lion used to give any Maasai warrior great bravery value among peers and celebrity status in the community.
In fact, the Moran would use lion tails for bride price during traditional marriage courtship, but the Maasai Community in Northern Tanzania insists that lion hunting sport is now a thing of the past.
“We no longer kill lions,” says a local Maasai Chief, Leteiva Meng’ajeki Lobulu, speaking at his Boma in the Olasiti Village located within the remote Eluway division of Rural Babati District, in Manyara Region.
As it happens lion hunting used to be a respected activity of the past, however it has now been banned across the East African Region.
But Lobulu admits lions are still hunted among members of his community but only when they invade their households and attack the Maasai livestock.
His village is among the various traditional hamlets located adjacent to the vast Kwakuchinja Wildlife Corridor which links Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Parks mapped between Arusha and Manyara Regions.
“We hardly encounter problems with the lions of Tarangire, as they are large, composed and always stay clear of our homes,” says Chief Lobulu.
But he points out that the troublemaking cats are the lions hailing from Lake Manyara National Park.
“Manyara Lions are smaller in size, usually move in groups and prone to launch attacks on livestock and sometimes even maul people,” says Laigwanan Lobulu, adding that the beasts are known as ‘Simba Mbarara,’ which translates to ‘Irate young cats!’
As it happens, Laigwanan Lobulu also happens to be a victim of a lion attack, during his youthful days.
The lion tore off his upper thigh during the deadly battle in which the cat was killed.
Human Wildlife Conflicts along the Kwakuchinja corridor usually pit people against two species of wild beasts, the lion and the elephant.
Lions attack livestock while elephants destroy farms.
The Tarangire Manyara Ecosystem is home to around 180 lions, the number having been dropped from more than 200 Leos that roamed the area in 2003.
The Chem-Chem Association, which operates tourists’ properties within the Burunge Wildlife Management Area, has been working with the local community to avert such incidents.
“We have assisted in construction of predator prevention enclosures (Bomas) in three villages,” says the Chem-Chem spokesperson Charles Sylvester.
Chem Cheme has so far helped to establish 13 predators’ proof, resilient bomas in the three villages of Kakoi, Sangaiwe and Vilima Vitatu in Mdori Ward of Babati District.
There are so far Nine Bomas in Kakoi, Two in Sangaiwe and two others at Vilima Vitatu.
That was among the findings by Members of the press recently visited the Kwakuchinja Corridor.
The trip was conducted under the auspices of the Journalists Environment Association of Tanzania (JET) funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).