Friday, February 19, 2016

Kenya: Lions on the loose after escaping from national park in Nairobi

Updated February 19, 2016
(CNN)A group of lions left a mostly enclosed park Friday and were reported wandering in residential areas in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, leaving residents on edge and officials scrambling to find the animals.
Two of them -- a lioness and her cub -- were safely back at the Nairobi National Park by Friday afternoon, but at least two others remained missing, Kenya Wildlife Service spokesman Paul Udoto told CNN.
The public reported seeing lions in crowded residential areas early Friday, springing the wildlife service's search teams into action.
Udoto told CNN that the lions still on the loose likely would return to the park before daybreak Saturday. Udoto didn't say how the first two lions had returned to the park.

Predawn search

The 117-square-kilometer (45-square-mile) park, near Nairobi's central business district, is largely bounded by an electric fence to keep animals inside. But the park's south side -- away from the city -- is instead bordered by a river. It wasn't immediately clear what path the lions took to leave the park and enter the residential areas.
Animals at the park include leopards, buffaloes and giraffes grazing in open spaces, with the city's skyline in the background.
Officials urged vigilance and warned residents to call a toll-free number if they spot the big cats.
"Our team has been on ground since 3 a.m. to ensure that the ... lions are safely back," the Kenya Wildlife Service tweeted.

Lioness and cubs

A caller told wildlife officials the animals were seen near a Nairobi hospital, Udoto told the Daily Nation newspaper. The caller said the animals included a lioness and cubs.
Others called to say they saw the lions in crowded residential areas, he said. 

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