Although my deepest sympathies are with the family of the bereaved woman, there is a good aspect to this tragic story which you may have heard about.
In brief, on June 1st, an American woman was visiting a South African safari park, in Gauteng, in which there are many lions. You drive through the Safari Park in a car and visitors are told, in no uncertain terms, to keep their windows shut. The woman was in a car with both windows on either side of the car open. The car was driven by a tour guide. She was taking photographs of a lion about one meter away from her window when the lion lunged at her inside the car and killed her. The tour guide tried to get the lion off her and was seriously injured but not fatally. Park employees managed to get the lion away but it was too late.
The story is tragic but now for the good part (if that is an acceptable phrase under such tragic circumstances). The safari park management did not even consider putting the lion down because she was simply exercising her natural behavior. The person interviewed on television, Scott Simpson, Assistant Director, gives me the impression that it simply wasn’t in his mind that the lion should be euthanised and quite correct he is too. Too often wild animals in zoos are euthanised when a visitor is hurt or killed even though the animal is not at fault – can they ever be at fault?
The lion will be moved to another part of the safari park where visitors aren’t allowed and that will be that. As I understand it, no more action will be taken with respect to this particular cat and she will probably quite likely be brought back to the visiting area of the park at sometime in the future.
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