African Lion – Legend of the Tsavo Man Eaters

There has been much speculation about the man-eaters of Tsavo with a fair amount of sensationalizing and dramatizing especially in the movie based on the story. "The Ghost and the Darkness" was an entertaining film but definitely a spiced up version.

"Tsavo" translates to "Place of Slaughter" which is aptly named if true. Between Lt. Col John Patterson, who was building a railway bridge over the Tsavo River (Kenya) during 1898, who hunted a wide variety of wildlife extensively, and the 2 Tsavo lions that allegedly killed and ate over 130 Indian workers the name certainly fits the bill.

During a period of 9 months the Tsavo lions hunted those working on the bridge despite erecting bomas (fences built from thorn tree branches) and burning fires at night in an attempt to keep the lions away from the camp. The attacks came mainly at night when the lions would enter a tent and drag out the unfortunate victim and then proceed to devour him nearby.

Work ground to a halt on the bridge when the workers all fled in fear. Lt. Col John Patterson, after many attempts, shot the first lion on Dec 9, 1898 and 3 weeks later the second. The maneless lions measured 3m long from nose to the tip of the tail. After the lions were shot and killed the crew returned to the bridge and completed the project.

Tags: Culture,, Lion,, Legend,