Two men have been charged with poisoning a famous pride of lions in the Masai Mara game reserve in Kenya.
Two of the lions, who featured in the BBC's Big Cat Diary television show, died after eating a poisoned cow carcass.
Two men appeared in court over the incident on Wednesday with prosecutors alleging herders targeted the animals because they had killed three cows, Kenyan media reported.
One of the two lions killed was Bibi, a 17-year-old female. A BBC wildlife crew member at the scene said she was found "foaming at the mouth, fitting and panting".
The Marsh Pride featured in the popular BBC series from 1996 to 2008. Zoologist Jonathan Scott, who co-presented the series and has been following the pride since 1977, mourned the deaths on his website.
"We have been following the Marsh Pride for 40 years — the Masai Mara and Kenya is close to our heart. We believe that we are at a tipping point in the history of the Masai Mara," he wrote.
"Hopefully something good will come out of the demise of the Marsh Pride. They have been forced to abandon their traditional territory due to the cattle incursions that are now a fact of life in the Mara."
"We could have said ‘shocking news’ in regard to the fate of the Marsh Pride – but there is nothing shocking any more as to what is happening in the Masai Mara."
The other lion was disfigured beyond recognition after being eaten by hyenas, Kenya Wildlife Services spokesperson Paul Udoto said.
Alicia Melville-Smith is a homepage editor and reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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