Captive Zim lioness killed by other lions

2015-08-04 14:18


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Harare - A lioness being raised in captivity in Zimbabwe has been killed by other lions in her enclosure, a well-known private game park announced on Tuesday.

Thembile's attackers had lived with her "for a long period", said Antelope Park.

The park, which is near the central city of Gweru, said that it was "with shock and deep sadness" that it announced the lioness's death.

"We suspect that it may have been owing to a dominance/social rivalry between the lions in her enclosure. Unfortunately she was caught in the middle of the dispute which had fatal consequences," a statement read.

"This was a shock especially since they were getting on so well," it added.

It was not clear when the incident occurred.

An official at the park was not immediately available for comment when contacted by telephone.

Conflicting statements

News of the killing comes with Zimbabwe's lions very much in the global spotlight after the illegal killing of Cecil the lion by US hunter Walter Palmer early last month. The authorities announced this weekend that they were investigating the earlier killing of another lion, also by a US hunter.

There is some confusion over whether that lion was killed in April or in July, with officials from the state Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority issuing conflicting statements.

Antelope Park, which operates a lion breeding and release programme, said the parks authority had been called in to assess the situation in the wake of Thembile's death.

This appears to be the first time that the park has confirmed the death of one of its lions at the hands of other lions.

"Lions in the wild have dominance disputes and do lead to injury and death," the park said.

Many Zimbabweans have felt alienated by the media frenzy over Cecil's death. But @shonatiger, a popular Zimbabwean on Twitter said after news of Thembile's death broke: "Lions are having a pretty tough time in Zim right now."

In 2010, the daughter of the then education minister David Coltart, was mauled by a lion at Antelope Park when she put her hand into a cage. The eight-year-old child believed the animal was tame, reports at the time said.

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  southern africa  |  animals

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