Zookeeper is mauled to death while feeding lion he had brought up from its birth: Raging creature is shot dead by marksmen in Nigeria

  • Zookeeper Olabode Olawuyi died from his inquires after being brutally mauled 
  • He had raised the lion since birth and was feeding it when the attack happened 

A zookeeper in Nigeria has been mauled to death by a lion that he raised from birth.

The tragic and unprovoked incident happened when zookeeper Olabode Olawuyi was feeding the lions at Obafemi Awolowo University’s zoo in Osun state.

Graphic video purports to show the aftermath of the mauling, in which Olawuyi can be seen lying on his back, still and bloodied, with his eyes still open.

He was unable to be saved after enduring fatal injuries.

The lion was later shot dead by zoo staff, something that was also captured on film.

Olabode Olawuyi raised the lions since birth and was feeding them when the attack happened

Olabode Olawuyi raised the lions since birth and was feeding them when the attack happened

Olawuyi, who was a veterinary technologist, had been working at the zoo for nearly a decade and had brought all the lions housed there up from birth.

Abiodun Olarewaju, a spokesperson for the university, told the BBC Olawuyi had been ‘taking care of the lions since they were born on campus about nine years ago’.

Olarewaju went on to say: ‘Tragically, the male lion killed the man who had been feeding them. 

‘We never knew what came over the male lion that it had to attack (him).’

The university is now in said to be in mourning for Olawuyi and have sent out a delegation to his family offering its condolences on the devastating incident.

The university’s vice-chancellor, Prof Adebayo Simeon Bamire, said he was ‘saddened’ by the incident and ordered a thorough investigation.

The students’ union leader, Abbas Akinremi, told Nigeria’s Vanguard newspaper that the attack was caused by ‘human error’ after the zookeeper had forgotten to lock the door after feeding the lions.

He described the incident as unfortunate, while paying tribute to Olawuyi as a ‘good and humble man, who attended to us nicely whenever we went to the zoo.’

According to Wildlife Explained, lions in the zoo can form extremely close relationships with their keepers, especially if they have been raised from birth. 

However, the wild animal explanatory site warns: ‘You cannot trust them completely. If a lion feels threatened by some of your actions or gestures or loses his temper, it can become ferocious and cause fatal injury in the blink of an eye.

‘Thus, even if a human has raised a lion as a cub, and they have the best bond, he still needs to be aware all the time.

‘Acting with caution is the most important thing here.

‘You always have to keep in mind that lions are dangerous, and you need to understand their mood and temper and treat them nicely with love and respect to help them maintain their pleasant demeanor.

‘A wild animal will naturally act out of wild instincts, even if they have never lived in a forest.

The lion was shot dead after the brutal attack on the zookeeper who had raised it from birth

The lion was shot dead after the brutal attack on the zookeeper who had raised it from birth

‘They are dominant animals and do not like humans commanding them. It makes them feel threatened and may trigger them to attack.’

The BBC spoke to another zookeeper, Abba Gandu, who has been feeding lions for more than 50 years at a zoo in Kano in northern Nigeria.

He said that Monday’s incident was ‘unfortunate’ and more safety measures were needed.

He said: ‘This incident wouldn’t in any way affect me personally as feeding lions is what I want to do until I die.’

He added that his worst experience was when a baboon he was trying to feed bit his finger.

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