Wild Frontiers

Graphic videos shows moment Kenyan rangers killed Mohawk the lion

Mohawk, a lion from Nairobi National Park was brutally shot yesterday by Kenya Wildlife Service rangers in a horrific scene. 

Mohawk had recently escaped from the park days before the incident – the third time an incident of this nature has been recorded in the last two months. The park is not entirely fenced to enable traditional migration by animals in search of grazing, however the population around Nairobi National Park has grown more than tenfold since its establishment in 1946 with residential suburbs, farms and commercial buildings situated just outside the park where grazing land used to be. Conservationists say lions lived there before people in the area and are not ‘escaping’ the park nor ‘straying’ into human settlements, rather people have moved into the lions’ habitat.

A mob of over 400 locals had surrounded the lion in the town of Isinya, about 35km from the Kenyan capital city of Nairobi. The locals taunted the lion, throwing rocks at him and the lion lashed out, striking a 27-year-old man on a motorcycle, who sustained bruises and deep lacerations on his back.


The first animal management team that arrived had no tranquilizers and had to wait for a second team from Nairobi that were on their way with tranquilizers, however the first team killed the animal, saying that the lion posed an immediate threat to human life. “It had injured somebody. There was a crowd that had formed around it, so it was practically impossible to capture it the way we planned to. When it injured that person, it became imminent to us that it could lead to a worse situation and it had to be brought down,” said Kenya Wildlife Service spokesman Paul Udoto.


“The mob had formed and in the process somebody got injured, and by the time the veterinary and security teams got to the ground it was already beyond salvation. With that commotion we risked more injuries or even possible deaths,” he said.


The lion was named Mohawk due to the style of his mane and was well known to tourists and locals alike. “We lost one of our best lions,” said Nelly Palmeris, a senior park warden at Nairobi National Park. The lion carcass has since been disposed of in Nairobi National Park.

The incident has caused ripples of outraged through Kenya and the world. “I am outraged, disgusted and grossly disappointed with Kenya Wildlife Services,” Aisha Tande, a Nairobi resident, tweeted. Another Nairobi resident took to Twitter saying, “Some fools killed a lion by the name Mohawk today here in Nairobi. It’s crazy to think about it even for a second.”


Through various tweets, the Kenya Wildlife Service issued the following statement concerning the incident, “KWS veterinary and security teams had gone to capture a lion in Isinya but it was killed after the public confronted it resulting in the injury. A lion was this morning put down by Kenya Wildlife Service rangers to avert injuries or at worst, deaths to members of the public. This action was taken as a last resort after an escalation of the situation, and a concern for public safety. At 8am today (30 March 2016), a team of KWS rangers from the Kajiado Station was deployed to Isinya Township after being alerted to the presence of a lion. The team guarded it while waiting for the veterinary and capture team from Nairobi who were dispatched at around 9.30am. At about 10.30am members of the public had surrounded the area where the lion was, about 7km from Isinya Town, on the Isinya-Kiserian road. This brought about a visible agitation in the lion due to the rowdiness and size of the crowd. The lion, identified as predominant male Mohawk, had been involved in territorial fights in the last couple of weeks. He was aged 13 and was born in Nairobi National Park. Isinya, 30-40km south of the park (free of fencing), is part of the seasonal migration area and Mohawk was trying to establish new territory. We wish to assure the public that we remain true and committed to serving and protecting our wildlife resources. Our number one focus has and will always be conserving our wildlife for Kenyans and the world as a whole.”

Posted by Mombasa County Government Watch on Wednesday, 30 March 2016

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  • Nikolay Marev

    A very sad story indeed! Wild life is what makes Kenya so attractive… Mob control is very difficult and the lion was not happy being chased… This is a lion after all, the KING! It’s up to Kenyans to decide how to avoid such incidents, when human life is threatened but as humans take territories from the animals such incidents will continue and it’s not good for either side! I just hope wild life will be preserved for generations to see and appreciate. Hope to visit Kenya again soon.

    • Schroederville

      Humans behaving TERRIBLY! Bystanders were throwing rocks at Mohawk. HOW is that ok? WHY? And as for the rangers, HOW on Earth could they not be prepared with proper tranquilizer? That is their JOB, to protect these lions from humans! Their stinking JOB. What a gross ugly botch job of complete incompetence and idiocy. I’m gutted over this. Cannot even watch those videos. It’s horrific! Shame on KWS! Shame!

  • wastehater

    sickened by the carelessness there is so many options it could have been tranquilized and taken to the orphanage why use live bullets who was the threat the lion or the ppl who came to close to this dead lion

    • Loretta Jean Clement

      Yes, was wondering myself why they didn’t tranquilize him. Maybe some basic training for people who choose to move into a wild area regarding how to behave around animals and how to manage a threatening situation.

      • wastehater

        Loretto Jean clement the issue that’s really passing me off so bad is that when these Rangers came they should have condoned and owned the area under their control this is how a professional
        Operation is carried out it was simple ask them to move and if don’t obey orders they are there on their own how do not convince those ppl instead shoot the lion who needed protection here I’m talkin from personal experience I have confronted lions many times and usually the aggressor is not the lion it’s those who come too close and the lion translates that to danger on their part they don’t just maul any and everyone
        I’m so angry if I were there I probably would have shot that silly Ranger or threatened to fire towards those people and see how quick they would disperse
        I’m not insensitive but very angry

  • Sean

    human rights VS animal rights, human will win forever

    • wastehater

      Silly rights that particular area is for wildlife

  • Alice Girard

    So the humans cause the problem by mobbing up and acting like fools and the lion dies…Is it any wonder I despise “humanity”?

    • gerhardus

      how is your comment in any way helpful?

      • Valerie Lusaka

        We can say the same of your post.

    • wastehater

      You are an animal too you make zero sense

      • wastehater

        yakub mohamed toronto

    • Schroederville

      It is my understanding that people were gathering and throwing rocks at Mohawk. What kind of idiotic cruel behavior is that? I am sickened. Ashamed of my fellow humans entirely.

    • Leinani Cambra

      So true, damn idiots!!!

  • Alexandra

    I think it has more to do with finding a reason to shut down Nairobi national park and make way for urban development! Or how come all of a sudden lions break lose every other week?

    • Schroederville

      TRUTH. This is corruption. The lions are being chased out on purpose. SHAMEFUL!

  • Democratic_Thinker


  • Lynda

    Absolutely disgusted with this outcome. Once again, humans created a situation that was unwinnable for the animal. People suck.

  • Human have behaved much worser than animals . Now i ashamed to call myself a human being

  • Schroederville

    This whole thing is HORRIFIC. I’m gutted and heartbroken. This killing was entirely avoidable and unnecessary! I cannot understand how rangers could arrive so utterly unprepared to handle the lion! This is their job. They should always have proper tranquilizers on hand, always. With so few wild lions, and their numbers plummeting daily, the loss of this magnificent and iconic breeding age male is devastating. Kenya Wildlife Services: GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER! We want answers and we NEVER want to see this happen again! Horrible. Disgraceful. Ugly and sick. Protect those lions!

  • Kirsten

    As always, people are the problem and not the animals who are living there for almost a zillion years. Sorry to say but those people are just a bunch of wild beasts.

    • wastehater

      Kirsten wildebeeste are smarter then them they sense danger and take off
      these are the dumbest if you ask me

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  • Lynne Allison

    98% of domestic (non surrendered) cats & dogs in shelters are UN-NEUTERED MALES. Why? Because they inherently like to “wonder”. Most vets agree that neutering male animals helps to curb the “problem” . Anyone consider trying, neutering male lions as as option? Neuter only the male lions who consistently leave the confines of the park. Parks/sanctuary’s would have NOTHING to lose and the lions would have everything to gain. Win/Win!

Jacis Lodges
Black Rhino
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