Man-eating Lions

Why do some Lions become man-eaters?

It has been said that once a Lion eats a person they will often try hunting people again as they then like the taste of human flesh.

This is not the case. A lion does not have many taste preferences, as they will eat just about any meat, especially when they’re hungry. They will even eat rotting meat filled with maggots. A few weeks ago we had a pride of lion eating a large male giraffe, it took them 7 days to finish it. By the 6th day the giraffe meat had tuned into soup it was so rotten, yet the lions kept eating.

The Lions that are most likely to become man-eaters are often old, injured or very ill and are struggling to hunt, so they start looking for alternative prey that might be easier to catch. In some cases a Lion might feel threatened by a person that walks to close to them, and in defence it attacks and kills, possibly turning it into a meal.

Once a Lion has killed a human it may then realize how easy it is to kill us. We are slow and very weak compared to most of the animals that they normally hunt. We are easy prey. In many cases like this, Lions may try hunt humans again, so sadly they must be destroyed to prevent it from happening again.


Censorbugbear said...

Is it true that some lions also learned to eat human flesh in the Kruger because of the many Zimbabweans sneaking across the borders there at night? I saw such a programme on Animal Planet not too long ago with some very terrifying footage.

African Safari Stories said...

This is true although most of the people killed or eaten are coming from Mozambique.

Censorbugbear said...

I'm sorry to ask you this but does that make it OK then, because they come from Mozambique, that they get eaten by lions? How many of these hunger-refugees from Mozambique get eaten by lions each year, any idea at all? How many prides along the border have become man-eating prides? I love your blog, and really would like to know more about this.

African Safari Stories said...

There are no accurate statistics for the amounts of deaths or the number of prides as these figures can vary considerably.

Between 4000 and 6000 refugees enter the Kruger every year and of those, possibly 100 are killed by lions.

Man eating lions are normally shot after killing people, so their numbers will go up and down all the time.

The Kruger National Park's boundary to Mozambique is approximately 400 km long.

I'm taking a wild guess, along the boundary there may be 5 or 10 man-eating prides or possibly many more. Nobody really knows.

Anonymous said...

There is a fantaastic book called maneaters of eden, written by a man called robert frump which is very detailed. He went on safari and saw the grusume sight of a jackel scavenging from the remains of one of the human carcasses. Its a very specific problem tourists go for walks and have no problem (though they have armed escorts). 50 years ago mozambequans would have had the bushcraft so would have known how to aviod them. They dont anymore. The problem is located mostly in the northan part of the park which is far more wild (up there you can go fro hours without seeing another car), it is also where the kruger borders the limpopo transfrontier park which is the park in mozambeque.

Because of the guards that patrol the park during the day the refugees travel at night, and to keep on track they follow the electricity pilons. This means that not only are weak starving people out walking when the lions are mostly hunting, but also that they follow preset routes, and often walk right into the lions.

Usually once a maneater, always a maneater. This is because humans are slow have no horns or anything, and our flesh is apparently far more tender (as a result of this the animals that usually turn to maneating are sick or old). However this has been going on for perhaps 50 years and frumps estimations suggest that perhaps as many as half a million have been killed. He stresses that this is the upper limit however at the hieght of the problem around 100000 people were being eaton each decade(in the 70s and 80s they can demonstrate this with reasonable certanty)

Anonymous said...

Yes, man-eating lions are said to occur in Kruger, but my feeling is that these lions are being very opportunistic. It a sense it is not their fault, it is what they are designed for to seek out the weak and kill.
As was mentioned in previous comments that these people would be moving at night, and I have heard stories that to scare animals away the make noise, banging pots and talking loud. The lions after years of this have learnt this is not a threat to them and now recognise it and may even be attracted to the noise.
Once again I would like to stress that the lions are being opportunistic, if people stopped moving around at night, the lions would most likely go back to their normal lives, and won't seek out humans as a food source.