He was an old man among lions, but he has not died of old age. Masai warriors have honored his fierceness.
At 19 years old, loonkito was considered the oldest lion in the world. His advanced age made him make a mistake: getting too close to the cattle. Several members of the Maasai tribe killed him with spears, ancestrally linked to the King of the Jungle.
On average, a lion lives in freedom between 8 and 12 years. The savannah is very harsh, and when you are a few years old, other younger lions condemn you to starvation, or the impossibility of catching the pieces.
Loonkito managed to reach the age of 19, and for more than a decade it defended its territory with the help of several lionesses. He drove out all the young lions who wanted to take the throne from him.
The death of the oldest lion in the world
But age does not forgive, neither do lions. He lost the herd to him, and in recent years he wandered alone. Still he managed to survive.
Here you can see the magnificent lion, already old, when it was recorded in August 2022 by the author of the video. His stomach full of him certifies that, despite his age, he had not lost his hunting skills:
He was too old to hunt, so he was getting closer and closer to the cattle of the Maasai people, his ancient enemy. The Maasai are a warrior tribe of about 850,000 people, living in Kenya and Tanzania.
Many of them are “moran”, warriors dedicated to protecting the cattle and the population from any type of attack. The Maasai have shared territory with lions for thousands of yearsand the casualties on both sides are uncountable.
On May 10, Loonkito got too close to a Maasai cattle pen. Several warriors came out to meet him, and they ended up killing him with spears.
“He was an old lion who had trouble getting prey on his own, and cattle are easy prey.“explains Paul Jinaro of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) on ABC News. “A normal lion would go after wild animals inside the park“.
Jinaro regrets that the Maasai decided to kill him, instead of scaring him away and warning them:”People must be sensitized so that they find a way to alert us and thus be able to return the animals to the parks“.
Every year, the territory of the lions is reduced by the growth of the populations and the pens for the cattle. Attacks on cows and sheep, and even on people, are becoming more frequent. It is estimated that There are about 2,500 lions left in Kenya.
Years go by, and we still haven’t found a way for lions and people to live in harmony. At the moment the lion is in the group of animals threatened with extinction.
The death of Loonkito, the oldest lion in the world, is the end of a symbol of Africa. Surely his death could have been prevented.