Panic on OAU campus as hungry lion breaks loose from zoo, devours staff, injures another

BY TIMOTHY AGBOR

The entire community of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State was thrown into panic after a lion allegedly broke loose from cage and killed a zookeeper.

The deceased was said to be feeding the wild cats in their den at the Zoological garden of the university when the nine-year-old male lion suddenly perched on the zoo worker and tore him to pieces.

The victim, identified as Mr Olabode Olawuyi, who was a Veterinary Technologist, was said to have been in charge of the Zoological garden for over a decade.

The Public Relations Officer of the university, Abiodun Olarewaju, confirmed the incident in a statement on Monday.

He said, “Mr Olawuyi has been taking care of the lions since they were born on campus about 9 years ago but, tragically, the male lion killed the man who had been feeding them.

“The other members of staff who were at the scene of the incident did everything within their power to rescue their boss but the wild cat had already caused severe fatalities.”

Olarewaju said upon hearing the sad news, the management team, led by the Vice Chancellor, Prof Adebayo Bamire, abruptly ended an ongoing meeting for an on-the-spot assessment

“Vice-Chancellor, Professor Adebayo Simeon Bamire, was informed, on arrival, by the Acting Director of the University Health and Medical Centre Dr. Tirimisiyu Olatunji, that all first aid and medical efforts to save the life of the victim proved abortive.

“Saddened by this tragic event, the aggressive Lion has been euthanized.

“The University management has sent a delegation to the widow and children of the deceased, imploring them to take solace in God who gives life and also has the power to take life,” he added.

The varsity spokesman said the management had ordered a comprehensive investigation into the immediate and remote causes of the incident.

It was gathered that one other staff member of the institution sustained injuries while trying to rescue Olawuyi from the attack.

There was fear in the university community following the sad event.

Students and staff members became more worried when the injured staff was said to have been rushed to the campus health centre on Monday.

“Everyone has been very careful about their movement since the incident because we heard that the lion is on the loose. We are afraid,” s student said.

In February 2018, a 22-year-old woman was mauled to death by a lion at a private Game lodge close to South Africa’s capital Pretoria.

The victim was attacked by the lioness near Hammanskraal, roughly 45 kilometres (30 miles) north of Pretoria around 0900 GMT.

“When Netcare 911 paramedics arrived at the scene, bystanders had initiated (resuscitation). Tragically, the victim had sustained severe injuries and she died at the scene,” Nick Dollman, spokesman for the Netcare 911 ambulance service, said.

OAU lion
OAU lion

Also in August 2022, a South African conservationist was killed by lions he hand-reared, according to the family.

West Mathewson, 69, was walking two white lionesses when one of the animals attacked and killed him without warning.

The incident took place on the premises of the family-owned Lion Tree Top Lodge, in South Africa’s northern Limpopo province.

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