This is the type of thing that could easily and quite commonly be witnessed in Kenya, but it is definitely not something you expect to see when strolling through the English countryside. And yet, visitors in the West Midlands Safari Park in the United Kingdom managed to witness a cruel attack on Wednesday morning last week.
Jilani, the leader of the pack of lions, was attacked by a pride of nine female lionesses whilst visitors watched from the sidelines. Sinking their teeth into his back and dragging him to the water, the dominant male quickly found himself helpless under their aggressive behaviour.
‘It pretty much happened out of the blue. It was feeding time and then suddenly we heard growling and roaring. Two other males stepped back and didn’t get involved while the females attacked the leader,’ explained Mya Beverstock, one of the visitors who had filmed the scene.
A dispute overfeeding
We currently don’t know why the attack happened. Did Jilani not want to share his meal with the females when feeding time came? Or, as can sometimes happen in nature, did the females just decide to kill a leader they deemed to be too old and take over the pack? Those in charge at the park seem to be leaning towards the first theory.
‘On Wednesday, a dispute happened between Jilani and a female lion over some meat. Jilani and his two brothers usually stick together and are able to keep the lionesses in order, but on this occasion, the other females became involved first,’ explained the park on their Facebook page. The alerted rangers arrived on the scene quite quickly and, with the help of sprinklers and hoses, managed to diffuse the situation.
Luckily, the attacked male wasn’t seriously hurt.
‘Jilani has been checked over by our vet and apart from being a bit stiff and sore, he has not sustained any serious injuries and has been given some pain relief,’ continued the park in their post. Separated from the rest of his pack, he is currently resting, but will be rejoining the rest of the pride soon.
The male lions were only introduced into the pack a year ago, so they are still getting used to things and adjusting, but this isn’t the first time something like this has happened. Visitors in February were left shook and terrified when some of the lions ran at and scrambled on top of their car. It seems they have already been making a name for themselves.