Six lions walked out of Nairobi National Park and were roaming through a residential area Friday, said Kenyan wildlife authorities who dispatched rangers to find the errant big cats.

The lions were first spotted at 4 a.m. near a hospital in the suburb of Langata, and later near Kibera, Kenya's largest slum, said Kenya Wildlife Service spokesman Paul Udoto.

It's unclear how the lions got out of the park, most of which is surrounded by an electric fence.

A team of wildlife rangers tracking the lions aims to capture them and return them to the park, "but they are prepared for anything," Udoto said.


A Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officer carries a tranquilizer gun, during a search Friday for lions who left Nairobi's national park and went into highly populated areas. (Simon Maina/AFP/Getty Images)

Nairobi National Park's 117-square-kilometres is home to endangered black rhinos, lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, buffaloes, giraffes and diverse birdlife. The animals roam just 10 kilometres from downtown Nairobi, which lies north of the park.

Occasionally lions will clash with people on the southern side, which is not fenced.

In 2012 six lions were killed after the pride of eight lions attacked and killed eight goats of Masaai herdsmen. Only about 2,000 lions are left in Kenya; the devastating effect of years of hunting and then poaching.

The government has announced plans to build a railway that will traverse part of the reserve. Conservationists have opposed the railway line, saying it will further damage wildlife habitat.