NAIROBI - Kenya wildlife officials say a lion that escaped from Nairobi National Park attacked a man on a busy road in the capital Nairobi Friday. This is the third time in less than a month that lions have escaped from the zoo, triggering panic among city residents.
Kenya Wildlife Service Director of Communications Paul Udoto says the fugitive lion clawed a 68-year-old man, and that the behavior of pedestrians and motorists was to blame.
“A crowd that had formed around that lion had made noise. Motorists were hooting (honking). People were taking videos for WhatsApp and other channels and the lion had become agitated and aggressive and injured one old man,” Udoto said.
A video being shared on social media does indeed show commuters honking continuously on a busy highway and onlookers peeking out from behind fences and gates.
The National Park sits on nearly 12,000 hectares of land. In recent years, the ever-expanding capital, which now counts five million people, has threatened the animal sanctuary.
Park officials say animal escapes and sightings are not new, but just getting more attention. Officials say during the wet season, animals tend to roam outside the park limits.
However, Wildlife Services spokesman Udoto says they will be investigating a pattern they have seen in recent months of animals heading into residential areas away from their usual routes.
“It’s a new pattern particularly on Mombasa road and Langata roads, which are more heavily settled by people and industries. [It] is something we are investigating to see exactly what is causing this recurrence of the lions coming out this other side,” Udoto said.
In February, four lions spent a whole day wandering around different residential areas of the city, but no one was injured.