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7,000 Zebras and Wildebeests Being Relocated for Lion Food

7,000 Zebras and Wildebeests Being Relocated for Lion Food

Hungry lions and hyenas will soon have their fill as Kenyan wildlife officials have begun ferrying thousands of zebras and wildebeests to Amboseli National Park to be their food.

Why the meals-on-wheels? The park’s lost 80-percent of its herbivores due to severe drought conditions–the worst in 26 years. As a result, the lions have taken to eating neighboring livestock. This is angering the Maasais and they’re threatening to kill even more of the endangered lions. An estimated 100 lions are  killed every year by angry herders.

“It was the worst drought,” said Kentice Tikolo, spokeswoman for the Kenya Wildlife Service. “The Amboseli ecosystem was severely affected. Lots of herbivores died, carnivores don’t have anything to feed on, and have been attacking neighboring livestock.”

About 4,000 zebras and 3,000 wildebeest will be transferred to Amboseli. The zebras will go first and the wildebeests will follow, after calving season. Park officials hope they’ll breed and sustain the lions over the long term.

“There are only 2,000 lions left nationwide, and we are concerned because the numbers are dropping,” the spokeswoman said.

But don’t let that “endangered” label fool you. This is more about tourism (that is money) than anything else. The cost for these zebra-wildebeest Happy Meals is around $1.4 million.

Tourism is the second-largest source of foreign exchange in the east African nation with Amboseli being the second-highest earner. And lions are one of the top five tourist attractions along with elephants, leopards, rhinos and buffalo.

The zebras and wildebeests will be herded onto trucks using helicopters. Each truckload takes about an hour and a half to fill. From there, they’ll make the five-hour drive south to Amboseli to be released into the wild.

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Source: TreeHugger

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190 comments

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10:44AM PDT on Sep 16, 2011

Although many will become lion prey, that is the natural cycle, also if the zebras to not have a natural control, soon there will be so many that people will begin to shoot them. I do not like it but it the trying to return a little balance that we have taken away.

2:22AM PDT on Jul 4, 2011

Interesting Thanks

1:04PM PDT on Mar 26, 2010

I'll NEVER feel sorry for people that r encroaching. Even if I did ever move to the country I'd use eco friendly housing stuff and certify my backyard. I've always thought about that. Making it as animal friendly as possible. But that's about 20yrs and a million bucks away, lol. But as far as feeling sorry for ppl that kill endangered species....uuummmm, nah. Don't care. There will never be a shortage of humans, we're like roaches, ya know?

2:33PM PST on Mar 9, 2010

OK, are you people kidding me?
Maybe a bit of research before voicing moronic opinion is in order. These lions are not "in captivity". These are PRESERVES. These are places where they have stopped allowing humans to encroach on the natural spaces so that the animals there can thrive. They're places where humans aren't allowed to hunt endangered species. They are not slaughtering the zebras or wildebeests (neither of which are endangered). They are moving them to the preserve and letting them run free. The lions will hunt them for food, just as they would in any other wild place.

As for the tourism, that helps to pay rangers and others who keep the animals in these places safe from hunters and to keep these animals on the preserves from killing the farmers, their children, and their herds in surrounding areas. You know, there are PEOPLE to protect, as well. Moving the zebras and wildebeests to the preserve will encourage the predatory animals to remain there and stay away from the people.

2:42PM PST on Mar 1, 2010

I really wish this would have been a bigger issue for people. There are only 190 comments. I was hoping there would be a huge out pour for these poor animals. Man needs to leave Mother nature to her buisness. Man is always, always the problem

11:29PM PST on Feb 28, 2010

OH MY GOD Are you frickin kidding me, I can't believe what I am reading, you bitch because they're dieing of hunger then you bitch cause they're feeding them, made up your dumb ass mind!

4:27PM PST on Feb 24, 2010

The zebras are just as much food for lionss, cheetah, whatever predators, where they are coming from. Moving them isn't changing that at all.

6:29PM PST on Feb 23, 2010

Who are you to play GOD??? The killing off of other animals, to feed the lions, is so very sad and inhumane! Forget the tourism, where lions are the main attraction. Zebra's and Wildebeasts are also attractions. It's time that we stop upsetting mother nature. She is in control at all times! I'm sorry for the drought and the effects it has placed on the lions. But, who are you to choose who will live and who will die. All that money you use to transport Zebras and Wildebeasts, would probably be enough to sustain the lion population with other means of food. GOD so graciously gave our world these beautiful creatures. Who are you to decide who will live and who will die???

12:56PM PST on Feb 23, 2010

when will people learn to stop messing up nature!

10:40PM PST on Feb 20, 2010

WE definitely need to stop interrupting animals' habitats and we won't have to keep doing this sort of thing

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