Escaped lions back safely in the Nairobi national park


Several lions which strayed from the Nairobi national park, on the edge of Kenya’s capital, and wandered into a residential area, have returned, an official has said.

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) issued an appeal on Friday, with armed rangers and KWS vets with dart guns scouring bush and farmland alongside the capital’s Kibera district, one of Africa’s largest slums, for the predators.

KWS also used helicopter to search for the lions, who returned home to Nairobi National Park on Friday of their own accord.

“The lionesses and cub are safely back into the park,” KWS spokesman Paul Udoto said. “All is well that ends well.”

The wildlife service said its team had been dispatched to the residential area at about 3am local time and had urged members of the public not to try to capture the lions on their own.

Lions, buffalo and rhino run free in Nairobi National Park, which is spread over 117 square kilometres (45 square miles), just seven kilometres from the bustling high-rise city centre.

It is not the first time lions have escaped the park, a sprawling sanctuary for giraffes, zebras and other wild animals. Previous escapes have brought rush-hour traffic to a standstill, forcing bewildered commuters to dodge playful lions.

While the park is fenced in on the city side — some bars even have terraces where customers can view animals while downing a cold drink — it is unfenced on other sides to facilitate the annual wildlife migration in search of grazing.

The big cats are under growing pressure as one of Africa’s fastest growing cities creeps onto ancient migration routes and hunting grounds.

Lions are estimated to have declined in number by as much as three-quarters since 1980, and to occupy less than a tenth of their historic range across Africa.