Being consumed by an African lion is a thought that most of us do not have to consider in our daily lives. For those that share a territory with these top shelf predators, it is a very real consideration. History has shown that given the right circumstances, a lion will certainly eat a human being. Even more common is the problem of lions consuming livestock, and pets. What could cause a lion to suddenly decide that human beings are on the dinner plate?
If you understand the lion is only doing what comes naturally, it becomes painfully obvious.
Lions are first and foremost predators of the highest order. As human beings spread out into the lion’s habitat, the chances for the lion to secure their usual prey reduces. Any time you mix in the human experience with what habitat is still natural, there is a change in the natural order of things.
One of the most famous man eating lion episodes in history was the man-eaters of Tsavo. Two male lions began to attack railway workers in and around Uganda and Kenya. What is not widely known is that the Lions were forced to turn to alternative sources of food due to an inadvertent introduction of a virus that decimated the Lions food sources. This virus was introduced by Europeans a few years earlier, and it decimated not only their own cattle, but the Lions natural prey as well. Through human interaction, the Lions were forced to adapt. Given the stature of an adult male lion, it is easy to see why they would view a human being as easy prey.
While we are supreme animals of the earth when it comes to brains, we are actually quite fragile and slow physically. When compared to a 10 foot long, 500 pound lion that is capable of bringing down a buffalo, a human being is little more than a snack. Human beings present absolutely no challenge through the eyes of the lion. We are quite simply an easy meal, and a lion that is hungry is certain to take advantage. Additionally, a lion will certainly take a dog, goat, or any other warm-blooded mammal that it finds to be appetizing. The lion only considers the fact that it must eat to survive.
As we spread ourselves further and further over the continent, the African lion is sure to be sent into extinction. Far more lion’s are killed by human beings and by human interactions such as the example above, then there are man eaters. We must start to conserve those areas now inhabited by the African lion, or risk extinction of the species.