Standard Gauge Railway cause of straying lions – KWS


Standard Gauge Railway cause of straying lions - KWS

It has now emerged that the ongoing Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) and Southern Bypass construction in some part of the Nairobi National Park are to blame for the rising cases of lions straying from the park.

A highly placed source within KWS and who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the ongoing constructions cannot go on with the electric fence on and has to be switched off during the construction process, something he says makes it easy for the lions to stray from the park.

The number of lions escaping from the Park has increased in the last two months with KWS gunning down one of the wild cats in Isinya, Kajiado Wednesday after it turned violent and attacked a boda boda rider, just days after a similar incident along Nairobi’s Mombasa Road.

KWS Director General Kitili Mbathi confirmed that the ongoing construction has contributed to the cases of lions straying, but denies that the electric fence around the park is switched off intentionally.

“There has been a bit of infrastructural construction on the Western side of the Park. First, it was the Southern Bypass and now the Standard Gauge Railway” said Mbathi.

He added that construction workers sometimes hit the fence accidentally and break the current making it easy for lions to escape from the park.

“As the construction workers continue with their work at night, they sometimes hit the fence and break the current on the electric wire. The lions periodically test the fence to see if there’s charge in it. When there’s no charge sometimes they jump over and try and get to livestock grazing near the park or next to the army barracks,” he added.

The solution, he says, will be stronger vigilance to make sure when the incidents happen the fences are fixed fast enough.

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Story By Ruth Njuguna
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