Outrage In Kenya As Another Lion ‘Falls’ In Two Days: Authorities Say Lions Wandering Into Cities More Often Than Ever

Another lion has been found killed in the environs of the Nairobi National Park after rangers shot and killed Mohawk the lion the day before. The slaying of a young lion this time has ignited outrage and has gotten conservationists worried. Over 2-years-old, Lemek the lion was found killed by a spear. According to reports, on Wednesday, rangers shot dead 13-year-old Mohawk after failing to corner and tranquilize the animal.

Wildlife conservationists believe that the ever-changing terrain around the park due to an influx of human settlers particularly toward the south end of the park, has led to a spike in unexpected encounters between lions and people. As a consequence, more and more lions have begun to stray into uncharted territory causing incidents that often end up badly for the lions in particular. Conservationists are concerned that a major construction project that cuts through the park may be one of the reasons lions are prompted to escape the provoking ambiance of their former habitat and wander off into less noisy spaces of the park.

Image: Shutterstock
(Image: Shutterstock)

According to World Wildlife Fund-WWF conservationist Robert Ndetei, increased human settlements have contributed to the unusual straying pattern of these animals.

“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.”

The unsightly slaying of the lions has sparked angst and outrage in the country with a host of on-line forums vigorously rallying behind the cause to protect these magnificent animals. Many have voiced their fears about the scale of the threat being posed to the natural habitat of the lions mostly owing to untoward human intervention.

Kenya Wildlife official Kitili Mbathi has also attributed the surge in lion killings to the highly disruptive construction work under way, which according to him is likely to persist for some time. Until then, authorities have decided to increase patrols around the park’s perimeter, he claims.

“Yes, it has been disruptive but we are trying and they [the contractors] are trying to minimize the disruption. 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.”

Lions from the park have wandered off toward human settlements more often than not in recent times. Not too long ago, a lioness was reportedly spotted in the capital and weeks later, another lion pride destroyed a herd of grazing livestock. Several other lion sightings in the immediate vicinity of the city have also been reported.

Image: Shutterstock
Image: Shutterstock

According to a recent study, African lion population has dwindled significantly over the few decades and is likely to drop dramatically during the coming years if drastic conservation measures are not opportunely initiated.

The study took into account over 8,000 lions and documented an ominous decline in their numbers particularly in West and Central African lion populations. According to Oxford University researcher Hans Bauer, who led the study, there was a significant drop in the East African countries where lions have been known to historically flourish in huge numbers.

“We are losing all the populations which are characteristic of the pristine view of lions. Lions roaming free, hunting wildlife across the savanna.”

Meanwhile, in Nairobi National Park, an earnest attempt is under way to avoid future encounters. Park rangers are looking to mend and even strengthen certain portions of the park’s fence hoping to contain the more adventurous lions from straying into dangerous territory.

On Wednesday, Mohawk the lion, one of the more popular and older inhabitants of the park, had ventured nearly 20 miles southwards and was apparently harassed and provoked by onlookers. The animal was shot and killed by park rangers as it charged at the crowd in an unfortunate encounter which ended provoking enormous international outrage.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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