Six lions were speared by herders after they killed 11 goats in Mbirikani area, Kajiado County. This is a representational image. Ingo Stiller/Unsplash.

In a setback to conservation efforts and the tourism sector, a major pillar of the country's economy, six lions have been killed in a national park in southern Kenya.

The lions were slain in adjacent towns close to the Amboseli National Park, according to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), after attacking 11 goats and a dog in the Mbirikani area of Kajiado county.

The government has been concerned about the escalating human-wildlife conflict, which resulted in 10 lions being killed by herders last week.

Peninah Malonza, the tourism minister, visited with residents in the Mbirikani region on Sunday and asked them to contact the wildlife agency rather than spearing stray lions.

The KWS stated in a statement on Saturday that "unfortunately this is not an isolated incident as over the last week four other lions have been killed."

It comes after conservationists announced the killing of one of Africa's oldest lions, Loonkiito, at the age of 19 on Friday. KWS in 2021 described Loonkito as a "legendary big cat warrior" who had defended his territory for over a decade.

Loonkito was described as "a symbol of resilience and coexistence."

The conservation group Lion Guardians said he was "the oldest male lion in our ecosystem and possibly in Africa."

According to conservationists, wild lions rarely live past 15 years.

KWS claimed that company members had met with the neighborhood to try to resolve ongoing disputes between the animals and the locals, but it did not specify what had been decided.

According to the organization, an increase in human-lion conflict typically occurs at the conclusion of a drought because it becomes tougher to hunt natural prey and livestock owners are "particularly vigilant" after losing so many animals.

The drought in Kenya is the worst it has been in forty years.

As humans and wildlife fight for space and resources, residents near nature reserves in Kenya frequently complain that lions and other carnivores kill household animals and cattle, Reuters reported.

Elephants, cheetahs, buffalo, giraffes, and other valuable wildlife are found in the 39,206-hectare Amboseli National Park.

Ten lions have been killed in southern Kenya this past week including six on Saturday alone.

According to the country's first-ever national wildlife census conducted in 2021, there are an estimated 2,500 lions in Kenya.

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