A lion caged at the Nairobi National Park underwent a vasectomy at the Nairobi Animal Care Unit on Thursday.
The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said the three-year-old lion was subjected to vasectomy to control population in the orphanage.
“The orphanage acts as a refuge site for stray or orphaned animals in the parks. In one cage, we had one lion and three lionesses. The animals had reached the mating stage, and the male one had begun showing signs of desire to mate. To prevent inbreeding, we decided to conduct vasectomy on the lion,” said Cornelius Kibet, a KWS officer.
“That would ensure the population in the cage is controlled,” he said.
The officer said the surgical procedure took three hours, from 9am to around noon, and it will take about a week for the lion to heal.
“The lion was darted with an anesthetic drug to immobilize and make it insensitive to pain. The surgical procedure to sterilize it was conducted by qualified veterinaries,” said Kibet.
“During the three-hour surgery, the anesthetic drug wore out and the veterinaries had to act fast to immobilize the lion. They administered more anesthetic drug to allow them complete the procedure,” he added.
As part of post-operative care, officers will be monitoring the lion daily to ensure it heals properly.
Vasectomized lions lose their puffy hair as they lose the testosterone that gives them their mane, according to veterinarians.
The more testosterone they have, the bigger and darker their hair. This is an attractive feature to lionesses.