A lion at Ghana’s Accra Zoo mauled an intruder to death after he climbed a fence in an alleged attempt to steal a rare white cub, officials said.
At around noon local time on Sunday, security guards on patrol at the zoo noticed that the middle-aged victim had scaled a 20-foot-tall mesh fence and entered the enclosure housing a lion, a lioness and two cubs.
“The intruder was attacked and injured by one of the lions,” Ghana’s state Forestry Commission said in a statement, adding that the unnamed man had died from wounds he sustained in the attack.
Authorities said they have not yet determined a motive behind the breach, but it is suspected that the intruder may have been after at least one of the two lion cubs, which are considered rare — and especially valuable to poachers — because of their unusual light coloring.
The cubs were born at the zoo in November and have been drawing large crowds of spectators, reported BBC.
“The lions have cubs so if you come too close they may feel you are trying to take away their babies,” Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources Benito Owusu Bio told reporters.
Only about a dozen white lions exist in the wild, according to the Global White Lion Protection Trust.
Police who responded to the scene were able to safely remove the intruder’s body from the lions’ enclosure and transport it to the local morgue for an autopsy, according to the local outlet 3NewsGH.
“The police are working with the management of the zoo and the forestry commission to get to the bottom of this unfortunate incident,” the Accra Police Service stated.
None of the big cats escaped during the incident and the enclosure remains secure, the official statement said.
The Accra Zoo remained temporarily closed to the public in the wake of the mauling but has since reopened.
With Post Wires
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