, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 31 – Following the outcry sparked by the killing of a lion in Isinya on Wednesday, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has sought to justify the actions of its rangers, saying the decision was taken as a last resort to safeguard public safety.
KWS Corporate Communications Manager Paul Udoto explained that rangers who had been deployed from their Kajiado station gunned down the lion named Mohawk to avoid further injuries to other people after it wounded a motorcyclist.
“At about 10.30am members of the public surrounded the area where the lion was, which was about 7km from Isinya Town, on the Isinya-Kiserian road. The lion which was lying down got scared from the many shouting people who had surrounded it,” he said. “The lion carcass has since been disposed off in Nairobi National Park.”
He admitted that the rangers deployed from Kajiado did not have tranquilisers and had to wait for a team from Nairobi more than 40 kilometres away before the situation turned ugly.
“At 8am this morning (Wednesday), a team of KWS rangers from the Kajiado Station were deployed to Isinya Township after they were informed about presence of a lion. They guarded it while waiting for the veterinary and capture team from Nairobi who were dispatched at around 9.30am,” he stated in a statement issued late Wednesday.
He indicated that the lion was identified as a predominant male named ‘Mohawk” and had been involved in territorial fights in the last couple of weeks.
Isinya is about 30-40 kilometres to the south of the park free of fencing which is part of the seasonal migration area, and Mohawk was trying to establish new territory. The KWS statement said the lion was aged 13 years and was born in Nairobi National Park.
Conservationists have questioned the killing, saying the situation could have been handled better.
The 27-year-old man wounded by the lion was identified as Evans Mburu Murigi who is being treated at the Isinya District Hospital.