Warning: The video below contains graphic content
This video of Shamba the lion attacking his owner at a private game reserve in Limpopo went viral this weekend. What are your thoughts? We'd love to know! #need2know #5050nature pic.twitter.com/bdcoTOkaij— 50|50 human nature (@5050TV) May 2, 2018
A lion at a South African nature reserve behaved like a lion — and was killed for it.
Shamba the lion was the most popular attraction at the Marakele Animal Sanctuary. On Saturday, he attacked his trainer, which led to his tragic end.
Mike Hodge, 67, who is the park owner, wanted to investigate a strange smell in the lion’s enclosure that was apparently upsetting the animal, according to the BBC. Hodge had a staff member lure the lion away from the gate, so he could come inside and investigate the disturbance. The procedure is very routine, but this time around, something went very wrong.
The animal suddenly took away his attention from the staff member behind the caged enclosure and ran toward his owner. Hodge tried to make his way back to the gate but Shamba pounced on him and dragged him away toward the bushes.
The video was apparently made by tourists outside the enclosure, who screamed in horror as the wild animal dragged away Hodge. A woman can be heard sobbing in the background and crying for help.
The video ends there but a staff member armed with a gun was able to save Hodge’s life by shooting the lion. Unfortunately, Shamba died after the incident.
Hodge was airlifted to a hospital in Johannesburg and is being treated for a broken jaw and severe lacerations. A few days later he was able to walk for the first time since the horrific incident.
However, Hodge is extremely upset over the loss of Shamba, whom he had bottle fed and reared ever since he was a cub.
“He is very upset about the loss of Shamba and I think he is trying to put up a brave face, but he is really battling to come to terms [with] what has happened,” said family spokesperson Bernadette Maguire.
The tragic incident has once again sparked concerns about the ethics of keeping wild animals in captivity. Even though lions become accustomed to humans over time, they still remain wild animals and will follow their base natural instincts.
Animal lovers have taken to social media to criticize Shamba’s death.
“You murdered an innocent being, due to human ego and error,” user Jeanine Jordaan said. “Know your place, we are not the Kings of any jungles. You can never bring that Lion back!”
Never run away from a lion - it triggers predatory instincts. Number two - Exotic pets should be banned. I'm sorry for the man, but nature does what nature is ingrained to do.— Nicholas Alan Groves (@NicholasAG72) May 2, 2018
The incident brings to mind another tragic death of a wild animal: Harambe, the silver-backed gorilla. The 17-year-old male gorilla was shot dead when a toddler fell into his enclosure. The little boy was dragged around by the gorilla for 10 minutes and unfortunately, the zoo staff decided to put down the primate to save the child’s life.
Perhaps it is time animals should be allowed to live in peace in their natural habitat. Dragging a wild animal away from its home and putting it in a cage leads to disaster, as has been proven time and time again.
Banner/Thumbnail credit: REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh