Wildlife expert explains what could have triggered the lion to attack and maul his owner, Michael Hodge

What is strange about the whole thing is the family claims the park owner had bottle-raised the lion and cared for it all his life, a full decade — until he attacked him.

  • Mr. Maguire tried to make a dash out of the enclosure but the lion pounced on him before he could get out.
  • Business Insider SSA spoke to Jim Justus Nyamu, a wildlife expert and Kenya’s elephant man to try and understand what could have triggered the lion.

From the video recorded by a tourist, Mr. Maguire is seen entering the lion’s enclosure area then walks to the middle of it before the lions a few meters away from him then turns to him, sensing danger Mr. Maguire tries to make a dash out but the lion pounces on him before he can get out and drags him by the coller to a nearby bush.

Onlookers can be heard screaming for help while the animal mauls Mr Hodge who does not appear to be moving.

The lion drags him further into the bushes but then gunshots ring out and the lion moves away.

According to The Sun newspaper, the 72 year old park owner was investigating a smell in the lion’s enclosure when the predator attacked him.

“Mike and one of his rangers were a little concerned about a smell in a compound that was upsetting one of the lions and had gone in through the gate to see what was causing it," said a friend to Mr Hodge.

"It had put the lion on edge but when Mike went in the lion turned and came for him and he ran but couldn't get through the gate quick enough and it had him.

After the lion had been shot, Mr Hodge was rushed to the Mediclinic Hospital  in Thabazimbi, three miles away where he is "recovering well"

“I do not know how badly hurt he is but he is a lovely guy and I wish him all the best.

"He is no fool around lions and knows how to interact with them but clearly something went wrong.”

Lions are social animals and live in a group of family called pride and they can accept eventually humans as a part of the tribe.

Business Insider SSA spoke to Jim Justus Nyamu, a wildlife expert and Kenya’s elephant man who has literally walked the breath of this earth raising awareness on conservation of elephants through his famous #IvoryBelongstoElephants campaign.

The trained research scientist with a specialty in Elephants’  and has worked previously for Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) and Africa conservation center says lions can indeed remember humans because of their great memory.

“There is a gentleman in South Africa called Kevin Richardson  who had kept lions for some time but he went to England and  when he come back those lions were able to remember him so they have very good memory and can indeed be able to remember humans”

Mr. Nyamu says the lion’s memory of Mr. Hodge may have been erased and clouded overtime by the lion being feed on food laced with chemicals.

“If any animal is in captivity and not in the wild in most cases the kind of food they are being feed there would change their memory so yes if lions are kept in captivity for long and the kind of food they are given which is more chemical food than natural that will change their memory and even behavior and that could be why the lion attacked Mr. Hodge .”

Mr. Nyamu adds that  despite lions having  a great memory one also needs to take extra caution.

“If you see what is happening in  the orphanage we call it conditional  reflex, lions know the keepers who feed them but when they want to feed them they just don’t come and enter the enclosure straightaway,  they first make sure the lion has smelled them to know them before hand, lions identify people by smell not by the voice,  they identity you by the smell first and the voice is subsidiary“

JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!

Unblock notifications in browser settings.

Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or:

Email: news@pulselive.co.ke

Recommended articles

LIVE: Results from Kenya's 2022 elections

LIVE: Results from Kenya's 2022 elections

Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote poised to overtake another Russian billionaire Vladimir Lisin on Bloomberg billionaires list

Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote poised to overtake another Russian billionaire Vladimir Lisin on Bloomberg billionaires list

LIVE: Presidential election results

LIVE: Presidential election results

Mzee Kibor's will made public, revealing how vast wealth and millions will be distributed

Mzee Kibor's will made public, revealing how vast wealth and millions will be distributed

Ini Edo posts new photos amid reports of welcoming a baby through surrogacy

Ini Edo posts new photos amid reports of welcoming a baby through surrogacy

Machakos billionaire buys 680 Hotel in Nairobi

Machakos billionaire buys 680 Hotel in Nairobi

Referee behind chaos at AFCON was rushed to hospital after match

Referee behind chaos at AFCON was rushed to hospital after match

New governors-elect in 42 counties, confirmed by IEBC [LIST]

New governors-elect in 42 counties, confirmed by IEBC [LIST]

Ne-Yo speaks out after wife Crystal announced end of their 8-year marriage

Ne-Yo speaks out after wife Crystal announced end of their 8-year marriage