Tsavo Lions

Man-eaters

What Are They?

Tsavo lions are a distinct species of lion, living around the Tsavo river in Tsavo National park in Kenya. The Tsavo males are notable for their lack of mane and their size. The Tsavo lion prides and uniquely different than other prides as they only inlcude normally one male, however in other breeds of lion, there is 7-8.

What Happenend?

In March 1898 the British started building a railway bridge over the Tsavo River in East Africa. Over the next nine months, two large male lions reportedly killed and ate around 120 railway workers and native Africans. Crews tried to scare off the lions by building thron fences and campfires, but it didn't make a difference. Hundreds of workers fled Tsavo, halting construction on the bridge.

The Lions and The Hunter

Why Did They Kill?

Debate continues over why the Tsavo lions became man-eaters. Some hold that in the 1890s, an outbreak of rinderpest disease killed millions of zebras, gazelles and other African wildlife. Lions had to look elsewhere for food, and attacks on humans increased across the continent. Forensic examination of the lion' skulls shows that the “first man-eater” suffered a severe abscess of the lower right canine that would have prevented it from killing large vigorous prey. The 3000 railway workmen who set up camp in this lion's territory became easy pickings for a lion.