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Man mauled to death by a lion outside Nairobi National Park

A lion at the Nairobi National Park; a man was mauled to death by the big cat on Monday night just outside the park. /CFM-FILE.

NAIROBI, Kenya Dec 10 – An escaped lion killed a man outside Nairobi National Park on Monday, sending panic to residents living around the park after wildlife authorities warned the big cat was still on the loose.

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said it had launched a search operation to locate and sedate the lion on Monday night.

“We are reaching out to the family of the deceased with a view to visiting and consoling with them. KWS urges members of the public to stay calm and not to venture out at night until the lion is captured,” KWS said in a statement to reporters late Monday.

The incident occurred outside the park’s southern periphery, KWS said. The park is ringed by electric fencing in parts but is not entirely sealed off, enabling traditional migration by game in search of grazing.

Endangered wildlife including lions, leopards, rhinos and buffalos graze in the iconic park against a backdrop of distant skyscrapers.

The park is just seven kilometres (four miles) from the heart of Nairobi, and incidents of animals escaping the grassy plains and wandering into the chaotic metropolis of more than four million are not unheard of.

In March 2016 a lion was shot dead after it slipped from the park and attacked and injured a man. It was the fourth time that year that lions had roamed outside the reserve.

A month earlier, in February 2016, two lions spent a day wandering through Kibera, a densely packed city slum, before returning to the park.

The big cats are under growing pressure as one of Africa’s fastest-growing cities expands into ancient migration and hunting grounds.

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Conservationists say lions lived there before people in the area and are not “escaping” the park nor “straying” into human settlements, rather people have moved into the lions’ habitat.

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