Target: William Kibet Kiprono, Director of Kenya Wildlife Service
Goal: Suspend rangers who shot and killed Mohawk the Lion instead of subduing him via non-lethal means.
A popular 13-year-old lion named Mohawk was shot and killed by Kenyan Wildlife Service (KWS) rangers after he escaped from the Nairobi National Park. Mohawk had wandered 12 miles into the town of Isinya, where a large group of several hundred people began crowding around him. Distressed by the “rowdiness and size of the crowd,” the animal attacked a man on a motorcycle, leaving him with bruises and lacerations to his back. It was at this point that the rangers on the scene shot Mohawk multiple times, killing him.
The lion’s death is tragic in that it was completely preventable. According to Perez Olindo of the Kenya Wildlife Conservation and Management Department, “There are many biological means of subduing lions and translocating them, which is purely the mandate of the KWS. Killing them is not part of the agency’s role and does not mean lions will not stray from the park.”
Many people are outraged and have questioned why the rangers did not elect to subdue Mohawk with nonlethal implements. The answer, apparently, is that they were not equipped with any. A team of veterinarians carrying tranquilizers were reportedly on their way to the scene when Mohawk was gunned down. It defies logic that the rangers would not be armed with tranquilizers, especially considering how common these incidents have become.
As reported by CNN, the Nairobi National Park, which is also home to endangered black rhinos, “is getting encroached on by lucrative development projects. The [Kenyan] government also started building a highway through a section of the park, agitating the animals with constant noise.” It is no wonder, then, that animals like Mohawk stray from the park.
Clearly, the KWS rangers who shot Mohawk are unprepared to deal with these increasingly common situations. Please sign the below petition to demand that they be suspended, the incident thoroughly investigated, and appropriate action taken to ensure that no other lions meet with Mohawk’s tragic fate.
Dear Mr. Kiprono,
Like millions of other people around the world, I was shocked to hear of the killing of Mohawk the Lion by Kenya Wildlife Service rangers. These individuals should be trained and equipped to defuse these situations without resorting to lethal force. After all, their job is to conserve the animals living in Nairobi National Park, not kill them.
In light of Mohawk’s tragic death, I urge you to suspend the rangers responsible and launch a thorough investigation into the incident. Furthermore, in the interest of preventing similar incidents in the future, it is imperative that all Kenya Wildlife Service rangers are adequately trained on how to subdue capture animals without injuring them. Please see to this immediately.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Irma Bense