Elderly Kenyan man mauled by lion agitated by cars honking and selfie-takers

An elderly Kenyan man was clawed by a lion that was wandering along a busy road during morning rush hour in Nairobi on March 18, 2016.
An elderly Kenyan man was clawed by a lion that was wandering along a busy road during morning rush hour in Nairobi on March 18, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

NAIROBI (AFP) - An elderly Kenyan man was clawed by a lion that was wandering along a busy road during morning rush hour in the capital Nairobi on Friday (March 18), wildlife officials said.

It is the third time in a month that lions have caused panic as they roamed outside of Nairobi National Park, a 117 sq km reserve almost surrounded by a fast-growing city of over three million people.

The 63-year-old man was injured when the lion became agitated and swiped at him, said Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) spokesman Paul Udoto.

"People were there, hooting their horns, taking selfies and all that and the lion got agitated," Udoto said, adding that the man was taken to hospital and was in stable condition.

Soon afterwards, the lion returned to the park, followed by rangers who encouraged it to move deeper into the reserve.

"The lion is safely back but our teams are still on the ground in case there are any others around that have not been spotted," Udoto said.

In a video shared on social media, commuters honked their horns continuously at the large, dark-maned male lion as it trotted along Mombasa Road, a traffic-clogged four-lane highway that is one of the capital's main arteries.

Bystanders peered out from behind fences and gates.

The park is not entirely fenced to enable traditional migration by animals in search of grazing.

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

Conservationists say lions predate people in the area and are not "escaping" the park nor "straying" into human settlements, rather people have moved into the lions' home ranges.

In mid-February, two lions spent a day wandering through Kibera, a densely packed city slum, before returning to the park, and days later more lions were spotted in town.

While lions on the loose are increasingly common in Nairobi, it is unusual for anyone to be injured during their outings.