Lemek: Second Lion Killed After Mohawk, Kenyans In An Uproar

Mohawk the Lion made international news on Wednesday when he was harassed by a mob, and then gunned down by rangers after he turned on a motorcyclist and knocked him to the ground, injuring him.

Mohawk's death was followed by the brutal killing of a second lion, named Lemek, who was found dead in a thicket near a riverbed on Thursday. The two-and-a-half-year-old adult male had been speared to death.

Now locals are in an uproar, as they do not want to be blamed for the death of Lemek, according to a report in The Star, Kenya.

Maasais in Kitengela, Nairobi, have asked the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to stop "dragging their reputation on dirt."

Representative James Turere, a self-proclaimed wildlife conservationist, said by phone that, "This is not the way we do things."
"It has become their habit to apportion blame on our Morans whenever their lions disappear. Let them know we did not kill Lemek. It was not us."
Both lions were killed south of Nairobi National Park. Conservationists say that the animals are on the move due to a rail and road project cutting through the heart of their territory. The lions are searching for a quieter place to hunt, said Robert Ndetei, species conservation manager at World Wildlife Fund's Nairobi office."Before construction started in the park, the lions were not escaping, so there are indications that the noise and blasting is affecting their movements. If you don't plan properly, if you don't do proper environmental-impact assessments, then you are doomed to fail, and at the Nairobi National Park this could lead to more lions and other animals coming into contact with a growing human presence."Kitili Mbathi, director general of Kenya Wildlife Service, confirmed that the construction work was to blame.
"Yes, it has been disruptive but we are trying and they (the contractors) are trying to minimize the disruption."
There are about 35 lions remaining in the park, which covers roughly a mere 44 square miles. The lions share the space with a plethora of wildlife, including buffalo, giraffe, leopard, baboon, zebra, wildebeest, and cheetah. The park was established in 1946, but human encroachment has long been a problem. The new road will connect Nairobi airport with the city center.Mbathi said the construction is slated to end in June.
"We have a temporary fence in certain places there, so now we will be able to put in a permanent electric fence. Eventually, when all the construction is finished, from that side of the park, we don't expect any more disruptions."
He added that KWS had increased patrols along the park's boundaries. But Lucy Waruingi, acting secretary of the Conservation Alliance of Kenya, expressed some reservations about containment of the animals.
"A key concern is that the developer is not taking proper care to ensure there is less disturbance of the habitat while also not securing the perimeter fencing."

Communication manager Paul Udoto told The Star, Kenya that the KWS had been alerted that there were lions loose on the outskirts of the park, so they conducted an air and ground search.

"KWS patrol rangers and the Empakasi chief discovered Lemek's speared carcass near Old Kitengela township, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of Nairobi city."
Udoto said that there had been threats to kill the lions.
"We will have a meeting with all stakeholders to end the hostility between our animals and locals."
Wildlife tourism is considered an essential part of Kenya's economy. Mohawk, the lion killed on Wednesday, was 13-years-old and considered a local celebrity.

[Image via Clayton Burne/Shutterstock]