Lions in the suburbs


Residents of an outlying village area of Tanzania’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam had a rude shock recently when the roars of at least one, possibly two lions were heard, driving the population into a state of panic. While there is a distinct possibility of a second lion hiding out somewhere in the area one however was killed by police called in to ‘deal with the situation’ as TANAPA was notably absent as was any effort to actually either dart or trap the beast.

When the body of the big cat was handed over to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, it was then discovered that the tail and all claws had been removed from the carcass. Lion claws in the past were often ‘framed’ and then used in necklaces while the lion’s tail is a traditional ingredient in the still widely practised witchcraft. The ministry promptly issued a statement saying it was illegal to actually possess such items without a proper government license, but as if the people who were involved would care much about it.

Meanwhile has one conservationists consulted over the story in Arusha decried the use of lethal force without first attempting to trap the animal or dart it and then relocate it, saying TANAPA and the ministry had failed in this case, while hoping that should a second lion indeed hide out in that area better methods would be employed to safeguard villagers.

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