Lion strays from Kenya park, mauls pedestrian

FILE - In this Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014 file photo, a male lion looks out over the savannah at dusk prior to being shot with a tranquilizer dart, in order to fit a GPS-tracking collar, by a team led by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) in Nairobi National Park in Kenya. A lion attacked and injured a 63-year-old man Friday, March 18, 2016 after straying out of the Nairobi National Park onto one of the country's major highways during peak morning traffic, a Kenyan wildlife official said. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A lion left Nairobi National Park, walked alongside a highway full of rush-hour traffic and mauled a 63-year-old pedestrian Friday before being captured, officials said.

The man had been “clawed in two areas, on the front of the chest and on the back of the shoulder. He sustained lacerations, quite deep cuts in the left shoulder region and has sustained a small fracture in one of the bones in the area,” said Victor Ng’ani, the director of Mater Hospital.

The lion went by The Star printing press. Wellington Lwenya, a plumber there, said it was terrifying to come face-to-face with the lion, the newspaper reported.

The lion attacked after becoming agitated by motorists honking their horns, said Kenya Wildlife Service spokesman Paul Udoto.

A video circulating on social media show the lion walking on a sidewalk amid a cacophony of honking horns.

Some Nairobi residents are getting concerned by the growing number of such incidents.

“We are worried for our lives,” said Michael Kimani, a Nairobi resident who saw the lion.

Nairobi National Park, which covered 117 square kilometers (45 square miles) on the outskirts of Nairobi, is home to endangered black rhinos, lions, leopards, cheetahs, giraffes and diverse birdlife. It is partly surrounded by an electric fence.

In February, six lions walked out of the park and roamed through the city, scaring residents for a few hours before the big cats returned to the reserve.

Occasionally lions clash with people on the southern side, which is not fenced.

In 2012, six lions were killed after the pride of eight lions attacked and killed eight goats of Maasai herdsmen. Only about 2,000 lions are left in Kenya after years of hunting and then poaching.

The government has announced plans to build a railway that will traverse part of the reserve. Conservationists have opposed the railway line, saying it will further damage wildlife habitat.

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