- 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.
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.
The world was treated to horrifying scenes early this week of a lion attacking and mauling Michael Hodge, a British owner of a wildlife park in South Africa.
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“
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