Effectiveness of a LED flashlight technique in reducing livestock depredation by lions (Panthera leo) around Nairobi National Park, Kenya

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Abstract

The global lion (Panthera leo) population decline is partly a result of retaliatory killing in response to livestock depredation. Nairobi National Park (NNP) is a small protected area in Kenya surrounded by a human-dominated landscape. Communities around the park use flashlights to deter lions from their livestock bomas. We investigated the response by lions to the installation of a LED flashlight technique during 2007–2016.We interviewed 80 owners of livestock bomas with flashlights (n = 43) and without (n = 37) flashlights in the surroundings of NNP and verified reported attacks on bomas against predation data over10 years. The frequency of attacks on bomas equipped with flashlights was significantly lower compared to bomas without flashlights. We also found that after flashlight installation at livestock bomas, lion attacks took place further away from the park edge, towards areas where bomas without flashlights were still present. With increased numbers of flashlight installations at bomas in recent years, we further noticed a shift from nocturnal to more diurnal predation incidences. Our study shows that the LED flashlight technique is effective in reducing nocturnal livestock predation at bomas by lions. Long term studies on the effects as well as expansion of this technique into other communities around NNP are recommended.

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Lesilau, F., Fonck, M., Gatta, M., Musyoki, C., Zelfde, M. van t., Persoon, G. A., … De Iongh, H. H. (2018). Effectiveness of a LED flashlight technique in reducing livestock depredation by lions (Panthera leo) around Nairobi National Park, Kenya. PLoS ONE, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0190898

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