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8 lions poisoned in Kenya - Leakey speaks out

17/05/2011 11:13:28

Lion poisoned on the Masai Mara. Credit Wildlife Direct

Carbofuran - Why is it banned from use in USA but still exported?
May 2011. Conservationists have warned that Kenya's lion population is in danger of becoming extinct within a few years if nothing is done to stem a wave of poisonings that have already left at least eight lions dead in recent weeks.

In the latest incident, the carcasses of two lionesses and a young male were found in late April near Lemek, apparently killed in retaliation for attacking domestic cattle. In their investigation, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) arrested a local cattle herder who admitted he had used a pesticide to poison the lions.

Suspected carbofuran
The suspect showed investigators a container with the remains of the poison he had used to lace a cow carcass that the lions ultimately ate. The container had traces of a pink powder that the authorities suspect is a form of carbofuran - a deadly pesticide commonly used in the horticultural industry. KWS has sent samples of both the lion carcasses and the pink substance for toxicological tests to confirm what it was that killed the predators.

Suspect released despite admission of guilt
KWS took the suspect to the police but despite the evidence and his admission of guilt, he was released shortly after. According to anonymous sources, a local politician intervened on his behalf.

5 lions killed in Amboseli
This incident brings to 8 the number of confirmed lions poisonings in recent weeks across southern Kenya; the other five occurring near the Amboseli National Park.

Less than 2000 lions left in Kenya
In their National Conservation and Management strategy for Lions and Hyenas, the Kenya Wildlife Service estimates that only 1,970 lions remain across the country, and said "poisoning is perhaps the greatest threat to predators and scavenging birds".

10 other lions killed in 2011
KWS confirms that 2010 has started off badly for lions - in addition to 8 confirmed poisonings, more than 10 other lions have been killed in other circumstances; A lion was shot in or near Buffalo Springs Reserve, Samburu District, by local police, while others have been speared near Amboseli National Park

Richard Leakey
The situation is now so serious that the conservationist and chairman of WildlifeDirect Dr Richard Leakey has again called for the government to take action.

"The future of tourism in Kenya is at risk if dangerous pesticides like Carbofuran (sold locally as Furadan) remain on the market. Time and again, we've seen these substances used to slaughter our national heritage and destroy one of our greatest economic assets. Yet the authorities continually fail to follow up cases of abuse and prosecute the culprits. The Kenyan government must show that it is serious and take swift action to ban deadly pesticides like Furadan and enforce the law.

"If we fail to put a stop to poisonings, our lions could go extinct in a matter of years; a catastrophic loss for anyone who cares about our national heritage, but also a devastating blow to the tourism industry that currently brings in hundreds of millions of dollars to our economy. "

Cow laced with poison. The cow was set as bait to kill the lions, but 
farmer who admitted to the poisoning was released after pressure
from a local politician.

Carbofuran - Must be banned
Carbofuran is the active ingredient in pesticides most widely used to kill wildlife such as lions and leopards. It is also used to kill fish and birds for human consumption. Carbofuran is a neurotoxin that is deadly to fish, birds, cats and even humans. Kenyan conservationists are calling on the Ministry of Agriculture to ban the pesticide due to its environmental impacts.

Banned in EU and USA
It is not permitted for use in the European Union where authorization for its' use was withdrawn in 2007. Nor can it be used in the USA where it is produced due to a recent decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that revoked all tolerance for carbofuran residues on food. This means that carbofuran residues must not be found on locally produced and imported food items. The decision was implemented on the 31st December 2009.These decisions could affect Kenyan food exports if the product remains in use on export crops. In addition, Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency recently conducted the risk and value assessments for carbofuran and its end-uses on food and feed crops and also recommends a ban of the product.

Conservationists in USA have conducted an online petition and gathered more than 80,000 signatures urging the Kenyan Government to do the same.

After incidents of lion poisoning in Kenya became public in 2008, the manufacturers of Furadan, FMC withdrew Furadan from Kenyan shelves. However, the product is still not officially banned and can be found in some agro-vet stores. The active ingredient, carbofuran, is still available in other over-the-counter pesticides.

WildlifeDirect is a conservation charity registered in USA and Kenya, and based in Nairobi. We enable conservationists at the front lines to tell their stories and raise awareness about their work through over 80 blogs from the field on the website platform The Chairman of WildlifeDirect is Dr. Richard Leakey and the Executive Director is Dr. Paula Kahumbu. Visit for more information

Furadan: WildlifeDirect is campaigning for the de-registration or total ban on the active ingredient of Furadan, carbofuran in Kenya due to the threats it poses to users, consumers and wildlife. This pesticide threatens the survival of lions, vultures, fish species and many other mammals and birds In Kenya. Furadan is produced in USA by FMC and is sold locally by Juanco SPS as an agricultural insecticide. For more information on our campaign against wildlife poisoning visit

Comment on the location and tell us what you saw there

Nice posts. Keep posting such needed information. Thank's!

Nice posts. Keep posting such needed information. Thank's!

Posted by: Kamilla | 23 Jan 2016 17:23:47

The last lion.

The perfect storm has brewed to see that the wild lion in Africa will be gone in 10 years.
In 1955 we had 450,000 wild lion.
Now 25,000 or less.
POPULATION EXPLOSION and human conflict is lions biggest threat.
This includes poisoning. This has been made easy with the deadly and over kill pesticides on the mkt like Furadan and Temic. FMC has a buyback set up in E and S Africa but i have just located huge stocks of 2 kg bags that are labeled FURADAN FMC. in MALI N Africa.Contents are being tested.Very few birds in Mali along the Niger delta??? Google Furadan 60 Minutes and view.Other countries like China and India are making carbofuran as well.
RITUEL KILLING of lion by the Maasai. There are a lot more Maasai and a lot fewer lion these days. It must stop.
BOVINE TB. in lion. 65% of the 2000 wild lion in S Africa are pos with BTB. We gave it to them. It was spread to domestic cattle and from there to the Cape buffalo. Lion now eat their TB and get a very bad form of it.Its spreading.
CHINESE demand for lion bone. They killed all of the tiger to make potions that dont work and are now after lion bones. Wild lion bone is best as it makes for stronger potions?Lions must be placed on CITES to protect them from this brewing industry.Just look what they are doing to the Rhino.
All the above will cause the extinction of our lion but i have not listed SPORT HUNTING or TROPHY HUNTING of wild lion.
Between 2000 and 2008 . 6500 trophy lion were shot and most of them were by US big game hunters.LION AID report.
With so few lion left ,that they must be regarded as endangered we are still shooting them for sport.Shooting lion on bait and with packs of dogs cant be called a sport.
The worst is that it is called Trophy hunting, so that means the hunters are after the largest of the lion.Shoot a big male lion that is a pride lion and we lose many more than just the one that the hunter just shot.The nomadic lions will take over the pride and kill all the cubs so as to bring the females into season. 8 to 15 lion will die from one big male being shot.
No matter what we do we will lose our wild lion in Africa. We can but only try and slow it down.

Posted by: brian gaisford | 06 Jul 2012 20:39:31

No Aliens

That is not true. Smilodon, while entering South America via the newly emerged Isthmus of Panama, was very likely responsible for the extinction of Thylacosmilus at the End of the Pliocene. There are many examples of species, which become extinct of the emergence of new species. The difference is the number of species, which is in danger because of a single species. And that some individuals (which are rich enough) of this species care about other creatures. That is our chance.

Posted by: Westlöwe | 25 Jun 2012 21:52:01


NO animal destroys it's own environment, therefore the human animal can't possibly belong to this planet. I wish that a deadly, fast acting virus would wipe out every member of the human race, before it's too late.

Posted by: | 23 Jun 2012 09:38:07

kenya's week goverment.

Lets face it their goverment is week, letting criminals like him walk out of prison every day. Thats why more and more people in kenya are killing wildlife because they get away with it. Making the chemical banned wont cost any profit loss and bring up roits. Its as easy as declearing it banned and taking t off the streat.
Your right shirley, the earth does no belong to humans. nor any animals its a shared domain for all existence. But it has A BULLY called Homo Sapien Sapiens .

Posted by: Ali | 12 Jul 2011 10:57:14

lion poison

It is awfull what is happening now with those lions. Those beuatiful animals have the right to live on this planet, and not only humans, so I hope that wildlife can do something about it. The lions are part of the ecological system and I'm glad there are people who keep this system in balance. I hope people will understand that the balance of nature is very important.
keep doing the good work.

Posted by: shirley Bruijnder | 20 May 2011 20:29:09

People, Poison and Predators

Furadan should absolutely be banned, but even if it is, there will presumably be plenty of other equally deadly poisons available which can be used for the same purpose. The big question is whether rural Africans (not just in Kenya) will tolerate living with large predators. Better livestock management is one option being pursued by many conservationists in the region. I hope that Africa does not follow the dreadful example of Europe and most of the US by eliminating its large predators.

Posted by: Nicholls Wildlife Art | 20 May 2011 13:25:56


it is very sad that only 2000 lion is left in kenya please my friend help the wild life to safe the lion in every contry

Posted by: mohammed dawood | 18 May 2011 07:54:20

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