Tag Archives: Colonel Lemma Legesse

Animal altruism: Lions protect girl from abducters; dog leads owner to injured pup

(1) Ethiopian lions protect girl, 12

BBC News and the AP have an astounding account of three African lions in Ethiopia protecting a 12-year-old girl from her abductors.

Police Sgt. Wondimu Wedajo, speaking by telephone from Bita Genet, about 350 miles southwest of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, recounted that the girl was abducted and beaten by seven men on her way home from school.

Tilahun Kassa, a local government official who corroborated Wondimu’s version of the events, said one of the men had wanted to marry the girl against her wishes.

Kidnapping young girls has long been part of the marriage custom in Ethiopia. Young Ethiopian girls are often abducted and forced into marriage. The United Nations estimates that more than 70% of marriages in Ethiopia are by abduction, practiced in rural areas where most of the country’s 71 million people live.

On June 9, 2005, a week after she had gone missing, the girl was found by police and relatives on the outskirts of Bita Genet. Police caught four of the abductors and three were still at large.

Sgt. Wedajo said the girl had been guarded by three lions for about half a day, after the lions chased off the abductors: “They (the lions) stood guard until we found her and then they just left her like a gift and went back into the forest. If the lions had not come to her rescue, then it could have been much worse. Often these young girls are raped and severely beaten to force them to accept the marriage. Everyone thinks this is some kind of miracle, because normally the lions would attack people.”

But cynical “wildlife experts” are skeptical:

  • Game hunter Colonel Lemma Legesse told the AFP news agency lion attacks on humans and farm animals have become increasingly frequent in the region, and that the lions “were probably preparing to eat her but were intercepted by the police and the others.”
  • Stuart Williams, a wildlife expert with the rural development ministry, said the girl may have survived because she was crying from the trauma of her attack: “A young girl whimpering could be mistaken for the mewing sound from a lion cub, which in turn could explain why they didn’t eat her.”

Ethiopia’s lions, famous for their large black manes, are the country’s national symbol and adorn statues and the local currency. Despite a recent crackdown, hunters kill the lions for their skins, which can fetch $1,000 a piece. Williams estimates that only 1,000 Ethiopian lions remain in the wild.

(2) Dog leads owner to injured pup

Ace the pit bull was out walking with his human dad in New Jersey.

Suddenly, Ace pulled dad off course towards an abandoned home. In the alleyway next to the house was an injured 10-week-old pit-bull mix puppy, barely alive.

The man rushed the pup, later named Theo, to a local animal shelter to get help.

Source: The Dodo

H/t PawMyGosh

See these other accounts of animal altruism:

~Eowyn

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