One weighs 550 pounds, and sizes up to 6-foot-long, has 7 centimetre long flesh ripping incisors and one-and-a-half inch long claws on paws that deliver skull-smashing force in one blow. The other is an average primate who was deceived by evolution when it came to endowing physical strength as opposed to other species of animals – its weight averages around 180 pounds, is almost the same length as the former but is nowhere close to its physical strength. Furthermore, the latter has no claws, nor a set of formidable jaw to defend itself against attackers, neither does it have any noteworthy power of speed (except one specimen by the name of Usain Bolt), sight, smell, or hearing.
So, when in trouble, who would you most expect to be a greater threat to your survival – the fearsome lion, or a defenceless human?
While the answer seems quite obvious (in normal conditions), here is a true story that will surprise you.
Back in June 2005, a twelve-year-old girl was abducted by four men in rural south-west Ethiopia while she was on her way home from school. A week after the kidnapping, her captors were attempting to move her when three lions chased the men off. The lions remained with the terrified girl for half a day guarding her from any other predators (animal and man) until police officers arrived to escort her to safety. She told them that although she had been beaten by her kidnappers – who it is believed had been attempting to sell her into a forced marriage – the lions had not touched her.
Sergeant Wondmu Wedaj said, “They stood guard until we found her and then they just left her like a gift and went back into the forest. Everyone thinks this is some kind of miracle, because normally the lions would attack people.” An Ethiopian wildlife expert explained that because the girl’s cries were similar to mewing of cubs that the lions may have spared making a meal out of her.