Six lions killed in Kenya capital’s urban jungle

NAIROBI, Jun 20 – Two lions and four cubs have been killed by angry residents on the outskirt of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, after they invaded a homestead killing a dozen of livestock.

The incident occurred early Wednesday morning in Oloika area in Kitengela according to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).

KWS Corporate Communication Manager Paul Udoto said they were investigating the incident.

“I urge Kenyans to desist from killing straying wild animals and instead report the matter to us as these animals are part of our national heritage,” he said.

Incidences of stray wildlife being sighted near homes has been on the rise especially in areas neighbouring the Nairobi National Park.

On Monday, Dagoretti Corner area residents on a revenge mission killed a leopard that had strayed into the village from Thogoto forest in Kikuyu on the outer edge of Nairobi where it had killed a goat.

“We cannot continue to act like this as there are policies in place to protect human beings from wildlife and the solution is not to kill wild animals,” said Udoto.

A feature we posted only two days ago on the human wildlife conflict tells it all.

You can also read it below;

When Danish author Karen Blixen penned her autobiography “Out of Africa”, she wrote of the fierce leopards and lions that prowled the coffee estate she farmed at the foot of Kenya’s Ngong hills.

Today, that farm is a leafy upmarket suburb of the rapidly growing capital Nairobi, swallowed up by breakneck urbanisation that has turned a century-old colonial railway yard into a traffic-clogged major city.

But the sharp toothed big cats have remained, finding themselves under growing pressure as one of Africa’s fastest growing cities creeps onto ancient migration routes and hunting grounds.

“There have been no attacks on humans — only dogs — but as the encroachment increases the probability of attacks grows,” said Francis Gakuya, chief vet for KWS, as captured lion cubs growled in the background.

Pacing in a cage at the KWS headquarters in Nairobi, four orphaned cubs hiss and snarl at vets taking care of them — then give a surprisingly powerful roar for a two-month-old baby already the size of a small dog.

Wildlife rangers were forced to shoot dead the cubs’ mother after it was spotted in Nairobi’s Karen suburb and it charged before it could be darted. The cubs are now being looked after.

But it is not the only recent case. Conservationists warn of the growing likelihood of closer interaction between wildlife and humans if development is not managed in a sustainable manner.

Another lioness captured last month later escaped back into the park, a 117 square kilometre (45 square mile) wilderness where buffalo and rhino roam just seven kilometres (four miles) from the bustling high-rise city centre.
Wildlife officials have issued warnings to residents near the park to call them “should they see another lion in their area as it is possible more than one lion had strayed from the park.”

Traps are set out when a big cat is reported but the wily lions have so far avoided the baited cages – sparking concern in residents, fearful at night when guard dogs howl that a lion could be hunting in the back yard.
“Lions can hide invisible in the long grass so it’s frightening they could be around waiting to pounce,” said Mary Okello, who lives close to where recent lions were caught.

Visit the park and one is rewarded by the bizarre sight of long-necked giraffes running through wide plains of yellow grass with the gleaming skyscrapers of Nairobi’s business district rising in the distance.
– ‘The lion loses out’ –

Although fenced in on the city side — some bars even have terraces where one can view animals over a cold drink — the park is open-sided elsewhere else to allow the annual wildlife migration in search of grazing.

Zebra and wildebeest in the park migrate from the protected Nairobi national park through informal wildlife corridors, areas where pastoralist herders graze their cattle. But Kenya’s population is quickly growing.

The land is under threat from increasing urbanisation and more intensive agriculture, and the routes used by migrating herds in search of fresh grass — and the carnivores that follow for fresh meat — are growing narrower.
“Some can’t find their way through, and they get stranded,” said Nicholas Oguge, President of the Ecological Society for Eastern Africa.

“There is an urgent need for an effective land policy…without establishing formal wildlife corridors, Nairobi National Park will become like an island, a large contained zoo,” added Oguge, a professor at the University of Nairobi.

The situation has changed dramatically in recent decades. In the 1970s residents used to report roaming herds of wildebeest several hundred thousand strong. Today, in comparison, there are just a relative handful of wildebeest left.

Conservationists say wildlife protection is a low priority for city officials struggling with multiple challenges in a grossly unequal capital of some 3.5 million people with overstretched basic services and infrastructure.
In Nairobi, lavish villas rub shoulders with squalid slums and cramped high rise apartments.

“Nairobi National Park is a microcosm of what is happening elsewhere,” said Luke Hunter, president of the wild cat conservation group Panthera, noting that lions have lost over 80 percent of their historic lands across Africa.
“In protected areas lions do well… but outside they are getting hammered.”

Kenyan wildlife officials and other conservation groups are working to support the establishment of a wildlife corridor, including mapping the key routes, but it is no easy matter, said Paul Mbugua, KWS assistant director.
“It would be good to have corridors in place, but we have a challenge as all the land to the south of Nairobi is owned by somebody,” Mbugua said.

Land in Kenya is both increasingly expensive and a highly political issue.

Kenya plunged into violence after disputed 2007 elections, with land grievances a key contributing factor to the explosion of brutal killings, and demarcating protected corridors is harder than simply drawing lines on a map.
Lion attacks on livestock are reported, but there have been no recent attacks on humans in Nairobi, experts say, but contact will grow as the city expands.

“Lions respect and fear people and try to get out of the way,” added Hunter.

“But with development in areas important to lions, people and lions will mix more and more… and an individual lion can be incredibly dangerous. In that mix, inevitably it is the lion that loses out.”

  • Ariemba

    Indigenous primitive energy at work, both from KWS and the Citizen

  • bilahuruma

    Idiots want the tourists to come and share their wealth, but they’re happy to wipe out the one thing that brings the tourists. You reap what you sow, watu. When the last tourist has left, and the last NGO gone back home, who will you turn to with your outstretched hands?

    • mazzdark

      They are not idiots, the dead livestock are their livelihoods, tourism is a silent export and most of the money stays in the hands of majority European owned tour companies and hotels anyway – why should a subsistence livestock owner look to high flying economic ideas when survival is the very cattle the lions are killing…..

    • Quickdraw

      Moronic response from a possible mzungu who thinks this country gets by from your meager tourism dollars. Trust me, bilahuruma, when the last tourist has come and gone, this country will not only survive but thrive – on the resourcefulness of its people, their indomitable and proud spirits, and the as yet untapped sources of economic and social prosperity that even now have you living here (in Kenya) rather than in Europe or elsewhere in the west!

      • Jean

        how stupid are you to make such a comment? You daint know nothing about the kenyan economy!

        • Quickdraw

          No, but I certainly know more than you do about the Kenyan people. If you think Kenya is economically afloat because herds of wild animals roam her lands freely, you need to be given the first place on the queue of people looking to live somewhere else, coz you clearly have limited imagination and therefore contribution to make here.

  • John

    Raabia is going hit the roof.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=564424200 Michael I. Nderitu

    They even killed the cubs? Come on, they could at least have handed them over to KWS!

  • Little Hiti

    KWS has to do more to save the Wildlife, much more. After the fancy dreams of IT innovation fail, fancy oil fantansies, failed devolution etc, Tourism will still provide the hard and very needed dollars. And they will be real, not expected. KWS simply has to do far much more than this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Edinski Andrés Edinski

    we should be more proactive and stop being reactive. compensating the
    locals for livestock killed or injured is not enough. these lions not
    only pose a threat to the livestock but also to human lives. why can’t
    the govt (KWS) provide sedative dart guns to the locals and train them
    on how to use them?

  • ben nandi

    Give State Burual for Them.A True state burial flags half mast

  • Kate

    Tourism is a large part of Kenya’s economy, and tourism depends on a thriving wildlife as well as other things. To for commentators to imply that it has no role in Kenya’s economic success is quite ignorant. However, regardless of the economic benefits of wildlife to Kenya, the lions should not have been killed. It was criminal and cruel behaviour. There are 7billion people trying to survive in a dwindling and increasingly threatened ecosystem. The answer is certainly not lashing out as soon as one’s livelihood is threatened. The people responsible should face criminal prosecution.

  • Rwebembera William

    This good. It awakens the sleeping KWS to provide security and 24 hour surveillance to this wild resource. In Bunyoro (Uganda) we say, “Alema kugwa bamuniga bweme,” literally meaning that when you are wrestling and you fail to throw down your opponent, manage him while standing.

    In the hardest way, the government of Kenya is being reminded of her cardinal role of protecting the people and their property, and that of safeguarding the national resources.