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Nairobi's city growth pushes lions to villages

ILKEEK-LEMEDUNG'I, Kenya -- Crouching at dawn in the savannah's tall grass, the lions tore through the flesh of eight goats. Dogs barked, women screamed and men with the rank of warrior in this village of Maasai tribesman gathered their spears.

Kenya Wildlife Service rangers responded to the attack, but arrived without a veterinarian and no way to tranquilize the eight lions and remove them from Ilkeek-Lemedung'I, a settlement of mud and stone homes not far from the edges of Nairobi National Park.

In the end, the Maasai men -- who come from a tribe renowned for its hunting skills -- grew tired of waiting, said Charity Kingangir, whose father's goats were attacked Wednesday. The men speared the lions, killing six: two adult lionesses, two younger lions and two cubs.

The lions had killed eight goats, each worth about $60.

Wednesday's killings highlight the growing threat to Kenya's wildlife posed by the rapid expansion of its capital. A week earlier, residents from another village on Nairobi's outskirts killed a leopard that had eaten a goat. Last month, wildlife service agents shot and killed a lion moving around the Nairobi suburb of Karen. On Thursday, three lions attacked and killed three goats outside Nairobi National Park. Rangers chased the lions back to the park.

Earlier this week, the Kenya Wildlife Service sent out a public notice pleading with people who encounter wild animals "to desist from killing them."