Into the Lions Den: Diffusing a Lion Hunting Party

Traditional kraaling structures.

Post submitted by Andrew Stein and Eric LeFlore.

Its 6am on a Friday morning and the kettle has just boiled for morning tea when the phone rings. After some pleasant introductions in Setswana, the main reason for the call comes up. The conversation is quick but the angst is apparent. I hear from the other end, “The lions have come to Teekae cattle post and killed my cows.” After getting a few details, I express my sympathies, ask him to preserve any evidence and tell the farmer I will see him in 15 minutes.


Teekae is one of the larger cattle posts in our study area in the eastern Panhandle of the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Over 100 people live in scattered clusters of mud huts. Amongst the huts are many livestock enclosures which are locally called “kraals.” Some are made from thorn branches others are made from tree trunks and a few are made of wire and upright branches.

Traditional kraaling structures.
Traditional kraaling structures.
Traditional kraaling structures.

As I drive up to the cattle post, it is clear where the events transpired the previous night. About 35 people and a good number of village dogs are standing around a kraal that was short but sturdy. It was clear that a lot of effort had gone into the construction of this kraal but there were a few problems; first, it was only about a meter tall and second predators could easily see their quarry through the wire fencing and branches. The people were peering in as a few men were standing over carcasses of two calves. I got out of the truck and was approached by 8 men ranging in age —> Read More

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