May 10, 2008 10:24 PM

tsavo maneaters

I decided to take a break from studying, and post a little entry. a while back i wrote a post about ligers, and my friend john showed me this link about the tsavo maneaters. I don't know if you have heard about them, but to sum it up in a nutshell:
"The Tsavo maneaters were a pair of maneless lions responsible for the deaths of a number of construction workers on the Kenya-Uganda Railway, from March through December 1898."

sounds like something from a horror movie, doesn't it?!

According to a site i looked up, lions rarely eat people however during this time period there had been a disease outbreak that killed the zebras and gazelles, so to stay alive the pair of lions had to eat people.
In March 1898, during the building of the Kenya-Uganda Railway, Engr. Lt. Col. John Henry Patterson led the construction of a railway bridge over the Tsavo River in Kenya. During the construction period, many Indian railway workers were killed by two maneless male lions, which dragged men from their tents at night and devoured them. The workers built bomas (thorn fences) around their camp to keep the maneaters out; but the maneaters were able to crawl through. Patterson set traps and tried several times to ambush the lions at night from a tree. After repeated unsuccessful endeavors, he finally shot the first lion on 9 December, 1898. Three weeks later, the second beast was found and killed. By that point, the maneaters had supposedly killed 135 workers. According to Patterson's calculations, though, railway records only recorded 28 deaths, however Patterson later said in a speech of his account that 28 Indians were killed, as well as a large number of native Africans, so the total number is closer to 135.[1] A number of these deaths were unrecorded locals.[2]

After two-and-a-half decades as Patterson's floor rugs, the lions' skins were sold to the Chicago Field Museum in 1924 for a sum of $5,000 US. The lions were then reconstructed and are now on permanent display along with the original skulls, although the lion recreations are smaller than their original size because the skins had been cut and used as rugs for twenty-six years in Patterson’s home, leaving them in relatively poor condition and not conducive to full-size reconstruction.

Patterson's accounts were published in his 1907 book The Man-Eaters of Tsavo.

Angela Hsu | Permalink | Comment on this article | Comments (0)

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