An escaped lion mauled an elderly man in Nairobi, Kenya. The big cat had strayed from a nearby national park. The animal had become quite agitated by the incessant honking and people clamoring to take selfies. Kenya park officials are concerned about the big cats that are increasingly straying into cities.
A male lion managed to escape from a park in Nairobi and ended up mauling an elderly man. Such incidents are increasingly becoming common in the ever expanding and bustling Kenyan capital. While the lion has been recaptured and sent back to the park, the man survived the attack and is undergoing treatment for his injuries, confirmed Kenya Wildlife Service.
A short but viral video that’s doing the rounds of social media shows a lion with a blackish mane, majestically striding down one of the busy streets of Nairobi. The lion appears completely unconcerned about his surroundings, as if he was out on one of his walks in the park. However, the panic among the motorists is quite clear from the incessant honking that can be heard in the background. Meanwhile, many people standing behind decorative fences, which simply won’t be able to keep the powerful predator out, appear extremely interested in watching the lion as he appears to be on his casual morning jog on the sidewalk.
Perhaps it is this unwanted attention and close proximity of humans who seemed insistent on getting a selfie with the big cat that may have aggravated the animal and caused it to attack an elderly man, who just happened to be in the vicinity. In the video, the lion later disappears from camera view as motorists honk wildly and shout that it’s jumped on a man, reported CNN.
Kenya Wildlife Service spokesman Paul Udoto later confirmed that that the lion was successfully recaptured and returned to the park. Meanwhile the 63-year-old man has been admitted to a local hospital.
Though the lion has been brought back, park rangers are still combing the streets of the city just in case there are other lions around that have not been spotted, added Mr. Udoto.
According to Kenyan media, this is the fourth time in recent weeks that lions have escaped from the park. Just last month, a pride of lions had sauntered into residential areas in Nairobi. The lions had entered the city in the night, perhaps looking for a quick meal. While the park officials went into emergency mode and raced against time to recapture the predators, it is the local residents that often cause multiple complications by their vanity, complained Udoto.
“Residents have complicated efforts to recapture the animals. Some try to take selfies with escaped lions in the background, risking their lives for a photo. Are you out of your senses?”
The problem of animals wandering away from their designated areas is getting increasingly acute. The fact that the park is separated from densely populated neighborhoods including Kibera slum in the south of the city by just a main road, only makes the matters more complex.
Animal conservationists are blaming the ever decreasing loss of habitat of the creatures as the primary problem, reported the BBC. Speaking about the issue, Kenyan conservationist Ali Kaka said the following.
“A loss of habitat for lions in the city means they are increasingly coming into conflict with human populations, putting their survival at risk. If there is no prey or there isn’t enough prey in the park the animals may decide to wander out.”
Incidentally, the Nairobi National Park may be fenced where it meets the city, but it has been kept open elsewhere to allow the annual wildlife migration. While the escaped lion may have mauled a man, in 2012, four unfortunate lion cubs lost their mother due to similar incident.
[Photo by Tony Karumba/Getty Images]