March 28, 2023

Officials in Kenya have defended their decision to perform a vasectomy on a captive lion last week after locals demanded the feline be released to breed freely.

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The 3-year-old lion, which is part of a rehabilitation program in Nairobi aimed at rescuing orphaned or injured animals, was neutered ‘for the purpose of controlling breeding in the place of captivity’, the service said. Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).

But the move sparked outcry, with some Kenyans calling on the KWS to choose to release the feline into the wild to boost the endangered lion population.

“When wild animals are bottle-fed they lose their natural instincts and if released into the wild they are vulnerable,” the KWS said in a press release on Saturday.

Since breeding “is not permitted in captive centers, officials have ordered a vasectomy,” he added.

Nairobi National Park is home to many endangered animal species, which the public can see grazing against the backdrop of skyscrapers.

But big cats are under increasing pressure in one of Africa’s fastest growing cities, especially on former hunting grounds.

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