Kenya on alert as six escaped lions roam streets

Kenya Wildlife Service wardens with tranquiliser guns. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

Kenya Wildlife Service wardens with tranquiliser guns. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

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SIX lions walked out of Nairobi National Park and were roaming through a residential area yesterday, said Kenyan wildlife authorities who dispatched rangers to find the errant big cats.

The lions were spotted at 4am near a hospital in the suburb of Langata, and later near Kibera, Kenya’s largest slum, said Kenya Wildlife Service spokesman Paul Udoto.

He added: “Lions are dangerous wild animals. Don’t confront them when you encounter them,”

It is unclear how the lions got out of the park, most of which is surrounded by an electric fence.

Residents have been told to report any sightings.

A team of wildlife rangers tracking the lions aims to capture them and return them to the park, “but they are prepared for anything,” Mr Udoto said.

Nairobi National Park’s 45-square-miles is home to endangered black rhinos, lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, buffaloes, giraffes and diverse birdlife. The animals roam just six miles from central Nairobi, which lies north of the park.

Occasionally lions will clash with people on the southern side, which is not fenced. In 2012 six lions were killed after the pride of eight lions attacked and killed eight goats of Masaai herdsmen. Only about 2,000 lions are left in Kenya due to the devastating effect of years of hunting and then poaching.

The government has announced plans to build a railway that will traverse part of the reserve. Conservationists have opposed the railway line, saying it will further damage wildlife habitat.

KWS senior warden Nelly Palmeris assured residents all was being done to find the lions

Mr Udoto said he was concerned that people would try to tackle the lions themselves, as has happened in the past.

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