are humans becoming a mane course?

It was long thought that healthy lions posed relatively little threat to people: Only sick or injured animals, unable to catch and kill their usual fast-moving prey, would attack slower humans. For example, the famous man-eating lions of Tsavo that killed nearly 30 people in 1898 were found to have broken teeth and jaws. But, as reported by New Scientist last week, zoologist Bruce Patterson of the Field Museum in Chicago has found evidence contradicting that theory. After examining the teeth and jaws of 23 “problem lions” killed by rangers in Kenya, he found that less than a quarter had damaged teeth — and most were healthy males under 5 years old. Patterson said young lions are leaving park boundaries searching for territory, and the growing (doubtless delicious) human population may be too much for them to resist.

This news brief appeared in the Random Data column of the Boston Globe’s Health/Science section on 2/25/2003.
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