, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 59-62
Date: 10 Nov 2005

A man-eating lion (Panthera leo) from Tanzania with a toothache

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Between August 2002 and April 2004, a man-eating lion killed 35 people and injured at least 9 in a 350-km2 area 150 km south-west of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. Man-eating by lions is common in Southern Tanzania, but this case was exceptional due to the high number of victims attributed to a single animal. After having been killed by game scouts and villagers, it was found to be a young adult male. Dental examination revealed a broken upper left molar where a serious abscess and caries had developed. The lion must have been in permanent pain, and this probably explains its preference for man-eating. Most man-eating lions in Tanzania are healthy animals without signs of infirmity.