By Jason Neet
The man eaters of Tsavo, Kenya.
There were two maneless lions living in Tsavo, Kenya. According to Smithsonian Mag they killed at least 135 people in 1989. Bruce Patterson, zoologist, did a study with his colleagues and they stated that the lions did have human flesh in them but they also estimated from that study that one lion ate only 10 people and the other around 24 which is still a lot but not nearly the 135 deaths people have said before.
According to National Geographic, the lions in the region are being monitored. It has been known by the researchers who study the lions in Tsavo that the male lions generally have no mane at all or a very small mane compared to other male lions which have very large manes. Lion manes don’t generally start growing until they are one year old and get scruffy at about age two and fully grown at about age five. The man eating lions in Tsavo were adult lions, the first one being 9’9” long and 3’9” high and the second one was 9’6” long and 3’11” high full grown male lions.
According to American Scientists.org, a lion’s mane shows its nutritional levels and to show the lions fighting abilities and overall fitness which the female lion’s desire. No one knows for sure but with the man eating lions of Tsavo, they didn’t have manes so it’s very possible the lions ate people as another way to show their “manliness” to the female lions.
According to the Smithsonian, the lion prides in Tsavo have always been different and the males don’t share power. There is usually two or more males and up to 20 or so females in a pride but in Tsavo it is only one male lion and 20 or so females. This possibly changes how the males act towards prey.
For hundreds of years Arab slave caravans passed through and a lot of people were sick and died during that. According to Smithsonian, researchers think that the lions ate the dead and got a taste for human flesh which could of caused the two man eating lions of Tsavo to eat up to 34 or so people together. Nobody knows exactly how many but estimates show around 34 people were eaten.