Why is it that we humans never understand that even a captive lion is forever a predator… and can and will kill?
Oh how horrible!
Was my response as I read about the killing. One of Kevin Richardson’s lionesses attacked a woman. Kevin, a huge advocate for lions, campaigns against the captive breeding of lions. Some find this controversial. Kevin has a sanctuary for lions that can’t be released. However, Kevin doesn’t breed lions. He provides them with a forever home. As part of the lions’ enrichment he takes them for ‘lion walks’ on the Dinokeng reserve where the sanctuary is located.
Captive lion kills woman
On this particular Tuesday morning Kevin sent out the usual alert about his regular ‘lion walk’. This is when Kevin takes a few of his lions out into the bush and allows them to be lions. Sadly, at the same time a 22 year old woman was out and about in the reserve taking photographs. What was she doing outside of the vehicle? Why had no one alerted her? Why didn’t she understand that she was in a game park with predators?
The lioness Kevin was walking reportedly ran off after an impala and came upon the woman. Sadly the lioness attacked. Sadly the woman died.
About Kevin’s lions
It’s such a sad situation. We’ve been to Kevin’s place. We went to visit the cubs we helped rescue way back in 2015. Kevin loves his lions. He openly says that others shouldn’t walk with lions the way he does. He openly says that lions should not be in captivity, especially not bred for the cub petting and canned hunting industry. He openly says that his lions will never know true freedom because of what humans did to them before they came to him.
Who is at fault in this tragedy?
Unfortunately we humans have intervened in the natural scheme of things. We create reserves and parks to restrict wild animals so we can enjoy them. This is not all bad. After all how can we gain an appreciation of the beauties of the wild if we don’t see them, experience them? However, it seems we forget our place when we are in their (wildlife’s) environment. Is it because we watch too many films? When we watch films and see wildlife doing their natural wildlife thing we are safe. We don’t have to be watchful. However, it seems that some humans enter the real wildlife space and mistakenly feel that same element of safety.
We see this when tourists carelessly leave their car. Or even far less innocuous, allow their arm or leg to protrude from a vehicle. In both cases lions, elephants and rhino have responded and attacked.
While in the game drive vehicle with Kevin he firmly reminded us not to break the perimeter of the vehicle. Africa, our ranger in Swaziland told us the same thing as we watched a lion pride on the road in front of us.
In the Kruger park I leaned out of the window to get a better photo of elephants crossing the road in front of us. One broke ranks and came towards us with ears flapping until I withdrew back inside the vehicle. Supposedly these wild animals see the vehicle as a whole. They become accustom to them. However, a perimeter breach is different and threatening.
Although the lioness attacked the young woman and caused her death. Who is really responsible for this tragic event?
What should be done to prevent future tragedies?
Watching lions (from safety of vehicle) on ‘lion walk’ at Kevin Richardson’s sanctuary
When tourists and others visit wild places its important to obey the rules of nature. We are not on the top of the food chain in the wilds. It’s important to listen to the rangers. If we humans do this we surely can increase the likelihood of keeping both the lions and ourselves safe.
Bottom line… stay in your vehicle when in wild places with predators and captive lions. Don’t lean out… not even to take that coveted selfie.
Let’s follow the rules, if not for our sake, then for that of the wildlife.
Our condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.