A man-eating lion (Panthera leo) from Tanzania with a toothache
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.
KeywordsHuman-wildlife conflict Conservation East Africa Lion
This paper is dedicated to Professor Christian Pitra on the occasion of his 65th birthday, April 29, 2005. Prof. Pitra's contribution to the identification of the sable antelopes of Eastern Tanzania including the Selous Game Reserve as belonging to subspecies roosevelti is particularly acknowledged. I thank Harunnah Lyimo, Hussein Ndauka, the Dar es Salaam Anti-Poaching Unit and Utete District game staff for their help. Further thanks for dental information go to Bärbel Verbeck and Dr. Bo Werner.
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