Lions and Man eaters

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Lions and Man eaters

The first time I knew about lions was when I was growing up and I saw a movie called born free acted in Kenya; It was about a Lioness called Elsa, Elsa and her two sisters “Bigone” and “Lustica” were orphaned on First February 1956. Her mother (lioness) was shot by a game warden George Adamson and Joy Adamson, the lioness had charged to the game warden, after he shot her mother, he adapted the cubs and raised them.

Lions are the largest cats on earth and live in pride, each pride has one lion with many lionesses, sometimes there can be a coalition of more than one lions in Tsavo West National park, two male lions formed a coalition and killed railways construction workers . In the Masai Mara there has been a coalition of five lions, they are famous called five brothers. Lionesses can live without the help of a lion, the pride is controlled by lionesses, they collaborate in hunting and raising the cubs if one of the lionesses is dead other lionesses will hunt and share their meat with her, the cubs can also suck milk from other lionesses around,  because of their social behavior lions are the most social big cats in Africa, the lioness is good when it comes to hunting, lions hunt mostly in the morning and evening,  lions can spend about 18 hours sleeping, lions  don’t want to spend wasting a lot of energy during the day.  A mature lioness will be on heat for two days, most of the time she is the one that initiates the mating, once the eggs are fertilized the lions will take one hundred and ten days before she perpetuates, she will not mate again for a year.

During the annual Masai Mara wildebeest migrations, they will prey on Zebras because they love their meat so much.   Sometimes due to human-wildlife conflict, there are cases that lions eat human beings.

Cub of a lion eating a carcass of a zebra

Where did Man eaters happen?

Re constructed remains of the Man eaters of Tsavo in Chicago field Museum

In 1898 lions had eaten about 135 railway construction workers in the man-eaters of Tsavo historic site. Africans who lived in the area (Wadawida tribe also called Taita, refused to build the railway because they feared that the British will take the land. An African prophet had prophesied that some foreigners will come passing their land from the coast Indian Ocean to Lake Victoria and they will take their land.   The tribes had also seen slave trade in the area and they did not want any interactions with foreigners. So they refused to collaborate with the colonial government during this period but however history shows that they collaborated with the British to fight the German during the East African campaign

Why were local people not eaten by lions?

When the British arrived in the area Tsavo Area, the communities didn’t collaborate with the British government.    The  British government had to bring skilled workers from India who did not know the environment and tactics to keep wildlife animals away from their tents they had been in Tsavo West National Park.

Acacia tree

The Taita people use thorn trees from acacia trees growing in the area to protect their homestead from predators, in a well-secured homestead a lion can’t jump over an acacia tree fence, the Indians did not know how to protect their camps with thorny trees,  Some of the lions in that area had been addicted to eating human flesh because slave traders used to drop the sickly and weak slaves to die in the wilderness during the slave trade, the Kenya Uganda Railways was constructed along the slave route that passed through the Tsavo National Park.  Lions are skilled hunters, they can stock prey for hours or even days before they make a kill, they just do not kill wildlife animal they find, lions know how to target and aim at prey. Lions kill by suffocating the throat, breaking the neck, and sucking blood from the prey,  Mostly lions will attack the throat and suck the blood before they eat the fresh meat.

The coalition of two maneless lions in Tsavo West national park attacked the railway workers at the Tsavo River, these two lions would come in the night and attacked a suspicious person each night and killing the person.

Who killed the two Man eaters lions?

A British administrator Col Pettersen had been brought to supervise the construction of the railways in the Tsavo river and the Tsavo Bridge did not believe that lions could be killing people in the area. He did not believe it until he saw one of his workers who was killed by the lions. The railway construction was stopped for nine months.

When were the two man-eaters killed

On 12 December 1898 Col. Petersen used bait and killed one of the lions at night using his gun, he tracked the other lion and killed it two weeks later.

A total of 135 Indians had been killed by the two lions.

Later it was discovered that the lions used to take the victims to a cave one and a half meters from the railway construction site

On your way to Man eaters from Voi along the Mombasa – Nairobi highway, you will see very many baboons in a place called Manyani (baboon).

Baboons in Tsavo West National Park

Also, you will see very many zebras browsing along the Mombasa – Nairobi highway

The houses which Col Petersen had been living are there, Many people all over the world go to see for themselves the historic site in Tsavo West National Park.

Visiting this park, you will be accompanied by a warden from the Kenya wildlife service.

If you would like to book for this safari talk to us today.

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  1. […] also eat human beings In 1898 lions had eaten about 135 railway construction workers in the man-eaters historic site, the victims were carried to a cave about 1.5 kilometers from the Campsite, Colonel Petersen used a […]

  2. […] Two lions ate about 135 railways construction workers when the British government was building the railway. You can read man-eaters and lions here […]

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