Kenya fits lion with tracking device to stop it straying into town

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NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenyan authorities have fitted a tracking device a onto one of the 36 lions that live in a wildlife park on the outskirts of the capital city, aiming to stop the animals coming into unwanted contact with people.

Human settlements have long been encroaching on the Nairobi National Park which was established in 1946 and gives visitors a chance to see lions, giraffes, zebras and other wildlife against a backdrop of the city’s high-rise buildings.

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said the it now had six lions in the park fitted with satellite tracking devices inserted into special collars, in a project that began in 2014.

“The information is collected by the lion collars in real time and transmitted to park management to guide problem animal control teams whenever collared individuals are observed to be headed to areas inhabited by people, thus averting conflicts,” KWS said in a statement.

Last year rangers shot and killed a male lion after it strayed out of the park. Another was speared dead in a township south of Nairobi. [nL5N1742PZ][nL5N1722KD]

Conservationists say a new road and railway passing through the park was affecting animal behavior and leading more big cats to try to escape in search of quieter hunting grounds.

There are about 2,000 lions left in the whole of Kenya.

Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Robin Pomeroy