Death of Mohawk, 13-year-old lion in Kenya, sparks outrage

The killing of a 13-year-old lion has sparked outrage in Kenya and across social media channels. 

Mohawk, who was named for the shape of his mane and born in Nairobi National Park, escaped and pounced on a man in a crowd in the town of Isinya on Wednesday, where he was fatally shot by wildlife rangers, China Daily reported

 

Kenya Wildlife tweeted that rangers put down the beloved lion to "avert injuries or at worst, deaths to members of the public." 

Also, a day after wildlife officials killed Mohawk, tribesmen speared two lions Thursday that strayed from the Nairobi National Park in Kenya, the Associated Press reported. At least one lion, a 2 1/2 year-old male, had been killed, the AP reported.

 

According to Kenya Wildlife, Mohawk was agitated by the "rowdiness and size of the crowd." The service added that the male Mohawk had been involved in "territorial fights" in the last couple weeks. 

Some Kenyans asked why a tranquilizer gun wasn't used instead of fatally shooting Mohawk. 

More than 2,000 people signed a petition against the Kenya Wildlife Agency while messages were posted on Twitter via hashtag #JusticeForMohawk, The Star, a Kenya newspaper, reported. 

"I am sad and heartbroken. I am determined to do more towards conservation. I am angry. How do the custodians of our wildlife and nature, the KWS, just gun down a famous dominant male lion in front of hundreds of people including children?" wildlife photographer Paras Chandaria told the Star. 

The Kenya Wildlife Service said rangers had to shoot the lion because a veterinary and capture team had not yet arrived with tranquilizers, according to China Daily.

Perez Olindo, a director of the Kenya Wildlife Conservation and Management Department, condemned the shooting, according to The Star. 

"There are many biological means of subduing lions and translocating them, which is purely the mandate of the KWS. Killing them is not part of the agency's role and does not mean lions will not stray from the park," Olindo told The Star.

Follow @JessicaDurando on Twitter

 


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