June 23, 2005

The Lions Who Shot Liberty Valance, Continued

My skepticism on the friendly lions story seems to have been warranted. AFP checks the story out and finds it wanting:

[Wedajo] called the incident "a miracle" and described the big cats' behaviour as "something unbelievable".

Unfortunately for those enchanted by the tale, the latter opinion is shared by a seasoned hunter who has never known lions to be altruistic before.

Colonel Lemma Legesse, a professional big game hunter, said the lions, having chased off the larger humans, were probably getting ready to devour the helpless girl, as they would any other prey, when they were interrupted. Ketma Amberber, head of the zoological and natural history museum at Addis Ababa University, echoed that sentiment and offered another theory as well.

"This was just pure luck, it was not a question of guarding the girl or keeping her safe," he said.

"Either the lions had already eaten and were full or the police arrived as they were deciding whether to eat her or attack."

As of now, according to Google News, there are well over 100 sources carrying the AP dispatch, and only 2 with the AFP skeptical experts version, both of them in South Africa. The spirit of Maxwell Scott lives on.

Posted by John Tabin at June 23, 2005 07:04 AM