2 Lions Found Dead in Poisoning of Famous Pride
'The situation has escalated beyond all reason'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2015 6:28 PM CST
A BBC photographer was on hand when a poisoned lion was found this week at a reserve in Kenya.   (Twitter)

(Newser) – Two members of a world-famous lion pride are dead after consuming a poisoned cow carcass in Kenya this week, National Geographic reports. The lions of the Marsh pride, which lives in the Masai Mara reserve, are the stars of the BBC's long-running and very popular Big Cat Diary. A female lion named Bibi—who appeared on the show from 1996 to 2008—was found dead Monday, according to the BBC. "One of the more unpleasant sights of my career this morning, last night the lions of the marsh pride in the Mara were poisoned," tweets a BBC photographer who was there when Bibi was found. National Geographic reports scavengers got at the body of the second lion, and it has yet to be identified. A female lion named Siena is currently missing, according to the BBC.

The BBC reports three people have been arrested in connection with the poisoning, which sickened five lions total. The survivors are receiving treatment. Local farmers have been known to leave poisoned meat out as punishment when lions attack their cattle. According to National Geographic, the Marsh pride has been pushed to the edges of its territory as an increasing number of farmers illegally let their livestock graze within the reserve. Grazing within the reserve has increased more than 1,100% in the past few decades. "The situation has escalated beyond all reason." a zoologist says in his blog. The punishment for poisoning lions ranges from fines to life imprisonment, the BBC reports. "The poisoning of lions in the Mara is a disgrace to all Kenyans," a representative of Kenya's Wildlife Direct charity says.
 

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