Human-wildlife conflict blamed for demise of famous Maasai Mara lioness

Mama Kali was the matriarch of a large pride laden with cubs of various ages

Mama Kali, one of the most iconic and celebrated lionesses in Maasai Mara Game is dead. Courtesy of Angama.com

Mama Kali, one of the most iconic and celebrated lionesses in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve, was confirmed dead on Thursday.

Conservationists in Kenya speculate that the matriarch of the Angama Pride was eliminated by pastoralists.

Due to her habit of moving north and west, up the Oloololo Escarpment around the Mara triangle and into the grazing lands of the Maasai, she was collared back in September 2020.

The collar would allow her every movement to be tracked and monitored in an attempt to keep her safe, alleviate human-wildlife conflict in the area, and ultimately allow researchers and park management to learn more about the life of a lion.

According to Angama Safari Camp the collar stopped transmitting a signal in early February 2022, a few kilometers north of the park.

"Perhaps the batteries had run out, or the collar had fallen off, maybe she had swum across the Mara River and the electronics had flooded? Ranger teams were sent into the area to scour the landscape, nothing," explained Adam Bannister, a Safari guide at Angama.

Mama Kali's passing was confirmed last week, exactly a month after the last transmission from her collar. She was later found by rangers.

"We will never be able to say with certainty the reason for her passing. However, it is highly likely she was caught up in the human-wildlife conflict," said Bannister as he paid a tribute to the iconic lioness.

He added: "Normally, in the Maasai Mara, it is the males who carry big reputations and are awarded iconic names: Scarface, Morani, Notch, Olorpapit — the list goes on. Very seldom does a lioness take on legendary status."

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