Panic as van drops off lions on Kenyatta Avenue, speeds off

April 1, 2016 6:00 am
One of the lions seen here in a photo shared on Instagram by a watchman in the city centre/CFM NEWS
One of the lions seen here in a photo shared on Instagram by a watchman in the city centre/CFM NEWS

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 31 – Barely 48 hours after Mohawk the lion was shot and killed in Isinya after venturing out of the Nairobi National Park, a van was seen dropping off a pair of two other lions on Kenyatta Avenue before speeding off.

Witnesses say they next saw the lions at the Tom Mboya monument outside the National Archives at about 4am before they made their way to the Dedan Kimathi monument.

Hours later, it is believed the lions sought out raised surfaces in an effort to absorb some of the warmth of the rising sun.

According to night guard Wanambisi Labo, the lions were scared off the Tom Mboya monument by the coming alive of bus engines at the famous Ambassador stage.

“They were hard to see because it wasn’t completely light out yet,” Wanambisi who guards a fast food restaurant in the area told Capital FM News. “But when the buses started on their morning routes, they started roaring. At first I thought it was one of those funny sounding horns or a music shop opening up but when I saw people running I knew there were lions in the vicinity.”

Ndong’a Simo, a taxi driver who was parked outside the Hilton, wasn’t as surprised as Wanambisi. He told Capital FM News that it didn’t come as much as a shock to him given stories of lions breaking out of the Nairobi National Park have dominated the news in the last few weeks.

“I knew it was only a matter of time before I witnessed it for myself. I’ve never seen lions up close before except on TV. It was exciting. But I’m glad they found me in my car and not out on the street.”

The lions did not stay long outside Kimathi monument as the day got brighter and as the foot and vehicle traffic got heavier.

Kaberia Jude who operates a kiosk on Standard Street says she got the scare of her life as she was opening her shop at 5am and saw two lions walk past and up the ramp of the Lonrho House parking structure.

“I almost peed on myself. Never in my life did I ever think I’d be standing so close to lions. Now it’s exhilarating but not when they were so close I could see the scars on their bodies.”

The lions remain holed up somewhere in the Lonrho House parking structure which the Kenya Wildlife Service rangers have cordoned off, keen to avoid a repeat of the events that led up to Mohawk’s death.

“We’re doing a co-ordinated search of the parking structure,” KWS ranger Momanyi Bernie told Capital News. “And hopefully in the next couple of hours we should have captured the animals but there’s no denying that we never thought they would venture this far out into a human settlement. It’s almost too strange to be true.”

A majority of the office staff have been evacuated out of the building with none other than the rangers allowed in.

Capital FM which is housed on the 19th floor of the building however has a handful of staff still in the building and we shall continue to bring you firsthand accounts as the story develops.


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