Nigeria: Zookeeper fatally mauled by lion under his care for nearly a decade

Francis Akhalbey February 21, 2024
A zookeeper at a Nigerian university was fatally mauled by a lion -- Photo Credit: William Warby

A veterinary technologist and zookeeper at Nigeria’s Obafemi Awolowo University was on Monday fatally mauled by a lion that had been under his care for nearly a decade. According to BBC, the deceased man, identified as Olabode Olawuyi, was feeding the lions when one of them fatally attacked him. 

Olawuyi, who was the head of the university’s zoo, could not be saved by his colleagues as he succumbed to his injuries, the university stated. A spokesperson for the university, Abiodun Olarewaju, said that the man had been “taking care of the lions since they were born on campus about nine years ago”.

“But, tragically, the male lion killed the man who had been feeding them,” Olarewaju added. “We never knew what came over the male lion that it had to attack [him].” That lion has since been euthanized.

In an interview with the West African nation’s Vanguard news outlet, Abbas Akinremi, the students’ union leader, said the zookeeper was fatally mauled as a result of a “human error.” He said Olawuyi forgot to lock the door after giving the lions food, adding that his death was unfortunate. He also said Olawuyi was a “good and humble man, who attended to us nicely whenever we went to the zoo.”

Prof Adebayo Simeon Bamire, who is the university’s vice-chancellor, said Olawuyi’s death had left him “saddened.” An investigation into the incident has since been launched. 

In 2022, Face2Face Africa reported that a man was fatally mauled by lions after he entered their enclosure at a zoo in Ghana’s capital city of Accra. The fenced enclosure was keeping a lion, a lioness, and two cubs. The middle-aged man was seen scaling the fence shortly before the wild animals mauled him to death. 

Workers at the zoo ultimately retrieved the man’s body after they managed to get the animals to move to a corner. In the wake of the fatal incident, local news outlet MyJoyOnline reported that the man allegedly entered the enclosure in an attempt to steal a cub.

Authorities at the zoo also said that none of the lions escaped.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: February 21, 2024


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