Monday, October 29, 2012

Meat is meat and cats must eat!

Regular visitors to national parks and wilderness areas in Africa often come across lions and I think that few of them ever give it a thought that there was a time, not too long ago that people and lions shared common ground and prey. To me the most disturbing thought about that time is that the rifles that the old folks used were a far cry from today's automatic and semi automatic "ready for combat" weapons. The time that it take a lion to charge over a distance of a hundred meters would have been too short to reload. "They say that the only rule is: "Whatever you do... don't run!" Such bravery seems almost impossible. To show you that it is indeed possible, watch this video:

Here is more. Some might call it stupidity!

The best known man-eater lions were a pride known as the "Tsavo lions" that were responsible for the death of about 28 Indian workers that worked on the railway line between Kenia and Uganda. There is estimated that these lions were responsible for the death of up to a hundred people. The movie "Ghost Of The Darkness" were based on these events. It is not recommended to watch this prior to a visit to such areas. Scary! What about the Kruger national park? Are there any man-eating lions? According to Dr Douw Grobler, the park's veterinarian, cases where lions attacked people are by far due to irresponsible behavior of people. When lions tasted the meat of a human they do tend to go for it again. Whether it is the taste or just the fact that man is an easy target is something that can be debated.

There was a pride of five man-eating lions that basically lived off humans for some time in the Klopperfontein region. Their prey was mainly Mozambicans. Over a period of five weeks this pride consisting of a male and four females were responsible for the deaths of at least seventeen people. They became so good at stalking people that they even attacked and killed one of members of the team sent to hunt them down. When they were killed Dr Grobler found the remains of their last victim in their stomachs. The victims ID document and most of the head were found in the male and pieces of his limbs and shoes in the females. It is well known that in cases that humans were attacked they eat everything right down to the clothes.

One of the worst cases known about is the unhappy event where four Mozambicans were attacked while they followed the power line service road from Cahora Bassa to South Africa through the Kruger National Park. They decided to sleep over and made a fire. It was told that a pride of 10 lions simply approached them fearlessly. The men fled up the trees, but one unfortunate guy were to late and his friends had to sit and watch in utter fear and disgust how the lions finished him off to the very last morsel. The story unfortunately did not end there. One of the females managed to scale the tree and bring another man down. This sparked one of the other females to do the same. The last guy were found in hysterics by a party of game rangers on a routine patrol.

Fact is that these and many others are dangerous creatures and we are imposing on their territory. Caution should be taken at all times.

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