Mother Lion Kills Zoo Intruder

Officials say he may have been trying to steal rare white lion cubs
By Mike L. Ford,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 29, 2022 4:08 PM CDT
Mother Lion Kills Zoo Intruder
Stock image shows a white-furred lioness. White lions are born as the result of a rare mutation.   (Getty - Anolis01)

A man was mauled to death Sunday at the zoo in Accra, Ghana, after he entered an enclosure housing a female lion and her two cubs, per the Telegraph. The intruder, described only as a man in his 40s, was reportedly attacked as soon as he entered the enclosure. In a statement following the incident, officials said, "After the necessary forensic examination of the scene, the body was removed and has been deposited at the Police Hospital morgue for preservation and autopsy." Speaking with reporters, Benito Owusu Bio, deputy minister for lands and natural resources, explained that lionesses are especially defensive when cubs are around. "We ask the public to desist from doing anything like this,” he said.

Police stressed that they do not yet know the man’s motive. However, according to the BBC, some suspect he was trying to steal the rare white lion cubs, which are "born after breeding a male and female lion with recessive traits called leucism, which is different to albinism." About a dozen such lions are known to exist in the world. To reach them, the man scaled two mesh-wire fences, one of which was 20 feet tall. Per Africa News. staff on routine patrol noticed the man in the enclosure but could not respond in time to save him. The white lions are a major attraction at the Accra zoo, which—as the Guardian reports—was established as a “private menagerie” for Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah, but has been open to the public since his overthrow in 1966. (More Accra stories.)

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