Thursday, December 06, 2007

Kenya - The Man Eaters Of Tsavo Still Live On

One of the most distinct characteristics of the African lion is its mane. The thick hair that grows around the head of the male lions, is a unique identity of its presence and signifies the state of health, age and sends a clear message to rivals about who is in charge. It is thick and has black hair for the lions that are in their prime. The mane is truly the crown of the king of the jungle.

Yet there exists a rare breed of lions that have males that do not have a mane. These lions are so rare that minimal studies have been undertaken to know about them. They are said to have an appetite for human flesh. The photographs of the fallen two man eaters of Tsavo taken by col J.H. Patterson after shooting them is probably the best memory of what the lions look like. There is every possibility that that breed still exists, with the appetite for human flesh very much maintained.

In Nakuru National park, there is a framed photogaph of Judy, a game warden who fell victim to a man eater from Tsavo. Tsavo National park is the biggest park in Kenya. It is not fenced and animals can roam freely for thousands of kilometres with minimal human interference. A couple of years ago, Kenya Wildlife Services captured what was reported as a troublesome lion and sent it to Nakuru National park for rehabilitation. It happened that the animal was a maneless male.

With abundance of grazing game, and with other several prides of lions in the park, the lion should be okay. Nothing could have been further from the truth. After only a couple of days, the lion struck to show its true kind. Judy was on duty at the main gate that evening. Around 7.00 p.m. she decided to go back to the camp for a sweater. She informed her colleagues accordingly and set out to the camp. The camp is only about one hundred metres from the gate.

Without her knowledge, Judy had company. She had her riffle at hand and was able to go all the way to the camp. At the camp, neighbours heard someone shout once. They listened for a second cry but it was not forthcoming. Looking outside, someone saw an outline of some animal.
But consequent searches bore no fruit. When they found the riffle, her alarmed colleagues checked with the armoury, to find that it belonged to Judy who was on duty at the gate only a couple of minutes before. The alarm was sounded and a massive search was undertaken.

They suspected a big cat, possibly a leopard or lion, but they were confused because both animals have been in this park for years and such a thing has never been experienced. After a four hour intensive search, one driver noticed a reflection in some bushes and circled the area again. He confirmed that indeed the pair of eyes were those of the killer animal. the bushes were sprayed with bullets and the beast killed. The body of Judy, lay there, with the neck broken but largely untouched. The man eaters of Tsavo had returned to haunt mankind.

One characteristic that was observed with those lions during the construction of the railway, was the dragging of their catch to the caves. They are expert killers, snatching individuals from camps without the any hint from neighbours, with the only confirmation coming during the morning roll call.Unexplained cases of drivers and loaders on the main Mombasa Nairobi highway disappearing while attempting to change spare wheels have been reported.

With the vastness of the Tsavo, we probably have man eaters that live entirely on human flesh, getting their prey from poachers who cant keep their fingers off the park, but whose families cant report to the authorities for fear of retribution. Whether the man eaters of Tsavo will come back in big numbers and spread to other areas in Kenya, brings forth a chilling thought considering their excellence in execution of the hunt.

James G. Kamweru is a tour operator and has been organizing and reporting on Vacation, Travel and Tours for years. For More Information Visit his site at []Kenya. Article Source:

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