If you spend any time reading me you know that one of my fears is being eaten alive. You can add it to this list.
Of course if you know me then you also know that I have a plan for dealing with cannibals and animals on both land and sea. You will not take me as a Scooby snack, no sir, not me.
Crocodiles and alligators beware because come looking for me and I will have a new set of boots and belts. Sharks, if you don’t want to end up as dinner or have me use your teeth for a new necklace go bite someone else. Lions, tigers and bears, oh my. All of you better watch out or you will end up as a rug.
Unfortunately as the article below shows some people are not so fortunate.
“JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Attacks on humans by man-eating lions are on the rise in Tanzania and Mozambique, raising the stakes in the conservation game as environmentalists strive to save the big cats from extinction.
Lions in the area have developed a taste for human flesh because people have been sleeping outdoors to protect their crops from raiding bushpigs, which the cats follow onto croplands, a leading expert said.
“In Tanzania in the early 1990s there were about 40 recorded lion attacks a year. In the past couple of years they have risen to over 100 and about 70 percent are fatal,” said Craig Packer, an ecologist at the University of Minnesota.
“The problems are down in southern Tanzania and northern Mozambique, a region which is very remote and very poor,” Packer told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday.
Packer, who has headed the Serengeti Lion Project since 1978, was in Johannesburg for a conference on conservation strategies to save the African lion which also aims to find ways to reduce human-feline conflict.
Estimates for the continent’s lion population range from 23,000 to 40,000.
In southern Tanzania and northern Mozambique, which are contiguous, Packer said there was believed to be around 5,500 lions. This is one of the biggest concentrations of the predator and most of that range is outside of protected areas.
“The region doesn’t have a lot of natural prey or a lot of livestock and so as a result, the lions there eat a lot of bushpigs, which is unusual,” said Packer.
“But the bushpigs are also quite a pest and so the people in those rural areas sleep outside to protect their crops. So it seems that the lions are drawn into the cropland where they encounter sleeping people,” he said.
And humans are easy prey.
“Once they discover that they can eat people they get quite bold. They are even breaking into people’s houses and pulling them out,” Packer said.
The lure of the easy kill even attracts lions in the prime of life, contrary to the widely held view that most man-eaters are elderly animals with diminished hunting abilities.
“There was a bad man-eater in the Rufiji district of Tanzania a couple of years ago which they think ate around 40 people. When it was finally destroyed they found it was only about four years old, which is quite young,” he said.
Packer said in the Lindi region of southeast Tanzania there had been an average of a lion attack every month for the past 15 years.
“Imagine living in an area where you know there will be a lion attack in the next four weeks. That must be terrifying.”