NAIROBI, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan wildlife authorities have invested in strong measures to ensure swift response to attacks on human beings by carnivores and big mammals in protected parks, officials said on Monday.
Director General of Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Kitili Mbathi said deaths linked to wildlife attacks have reduced dramatically thanks to quick response by rangers manning national parks and game reserves.
"Though deaths linked to wildlife attacks are a rare phenomenon nowadays, we have put strong measures in place to ensure they do not occur. We always prioritize saving the lives of citizens who encounter hostile animals," Mbathi told Xinhua.
Mbathi said Kenya has always prioritized the safety of visitors to wildlife sanctuaries though it is hard to predict when the attacks can occur.
"Our animals are not in a zoo but in free range territories where they can attack humans at the slightest provocation. Nevertheless, we always encourage visitors to the parks to keep a distance from the roaming wildlife," Mbathi said.
He clarified that killing an animal that has attacked a human being is always the last option.
"We only kill an animal if the lives of human beings in the vicinity are in grave danger. Rangers usually tranquilize an animal in a bid to rescue the victim," Mbathi told Xinhua.
He disclosed that wildlife rangers recently managed to dis-empower a leopard that had attacked a passerby at Tsavo National park and could not kill it because it was too old and fragile.
Kenya was in the global spotlight mid last year when lions strayed from Nairobi National Park and roamed in the nearby residential areas.
Wildlife rangers managed to return the big cats to the parks after combing the residential areas while armed to deter attack on passerby.
In another tragic incident, a stray lion nicknamed Mohawk was shot dead by rangers when it attacked people on the southern edges of Nairobi National Park.
The death of the big cat elicited condemnation from the Kenyan public and wildlife campaigners.