KWS rescues late Mutula Kilonzo’s lions from ranch



(KWS) has taken possession of three lions and two cheetahs

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has taken possession of three lions and two cheetahs from the late Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo’s ranch, The Nairobian can confirm.

The late Mutula’s family now risks losing custody of all wild animals that the late senator kept at his Kwa Kyelu Ranch along Mombasa Road.

According to KWS spokesperson Paul Gathitu, the decision to remove the animals from the ranch was reached “after The Nairobian’s exposé on the animals’ deteriorating condition.”

Speaking on phone, Gathitu said: “It is indeed true that we retrieved the animals from the ranch because they were not being fed well. We made a decision to remove the three lions and two cheetahs from the ranch,” said Gathitu.

In early April, The Nairobian reported on a war of words between Mutula Kilonzo Jr and his stepmother, Nduku Kilonzo.

In a stinging e-mail titled ‘Cruelty to animals,’ Kilonzo Jr accused Nduku of neglecting the lions his father had kept at the family’s vast ranch.

“Mama Muathi, face the facts. There is no reason on earth and in heaven to treat these animals like this. The estate has livestock in Nakuru too. You have failed. Period! Your husband would beg to die again if he was to wake up from his grave to see this,” Junior wrote, alluding to pictures of emaciated lions, allegedly from the ranch. In a quick rejoinder, Nduku dismissed Kilonzo Jr’s claims.

She responded that, “I have seen those pictures he is circulating and I can tell you they have been Photo-shopped. Please go to the ranch. I can even accompany you so that you can see for yourself that the lions are in good health.”

In a new twist, KWS now says that besides the difference between the son and stepmother, the family of the late senator has not applied to change the licence to own the animals.

Gathitu disclosed that the initial licence to keep the animals at Kwa Kyelu Ranch was given to the late senator and since Mutula’s death on April 27, 2013, the family has made no request for transfer or change of ownership.

“We have not received any request for transfer and as such, it is only fair that KWS moves in to help protect and manage the lives of all animals in the stable. We will soon go back to pick all other animals at the ranch until such a time that the family makes a decision on the ranch and its management.”