A PRIDE of some 16 lions has created panic in Serengeti District, Mara Region after eating 80 cows belonging to livestock keepers, prompting wildlife officials to track them down.
Serengeti District Commissioner Nurdin Babu confirmed yesterday that already, 11 lions had been captured and were being kept in a special enclosure (boma) at Ikona Wildlife Management Area.
"We have 11 lions which are now being held in a special boma at Ikona Wildlife Management Area (WMA)," Mr Babu told the 'Sunday News'.
The decision to track down the lions follows a public outcry from people whose cows, goats and sheep were eaten by the lions recently, he said.
The lions, he elaborated, had eaten 80 cows, 25 goats, 21 sheep and a pig in several villages located near Serengeti National Park. The villages were Robanda, Park Nyigoti, Makundusi, Kwitete, Nyichoka.
Besides eating the livestock, the lions wounded two civilians, according to Mr Babu. He said wildlife experts from various government institutions were searching for five missing lions.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, he said, Had sent a team of experts from Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI), Burigi Chato National Park, lions experts team, Tanzania Wildlife Authority (TAWA) who are now working on how to solve the problem in collaboration with Serengeti District council game officials.
Plans are underway to relocate the lions to the new national park of Burigi Chato, Mr Babu said.
"We are now feeding the lions with game meat, mostly zebra meat, so that they can stop the habit of eating cows," Mr Babu said.
The number of wild animals is reported to have significantly increased in Western Serengeti in recent months, thanks to ongoing conservation campaigns.
Last week, a lion emerged from a millet farm and wounded six civilians in Bisarara village, which is located near wildlife conservation areas.
Armed game officers from Serengeti District council shot the lion dead after a seven hour battle.