This is why the biblical figure Daniel was thought to be in grave danger when he was thrown into the lions’ den.
A male African lion killed a lioness at the Birmingham Zoo in Alabama on Monday.
The lioness, named “Akili,” was being introduced to the lion for the first time.
“Animal introductions are always risky because wild animals can be unpredictable and we cannot control their interactions,” said Birmingham Zoo deputy director Hollie Colahan, according to WBRC-TV.
“Unfortunately, Akili sustained serious injuries within the first few minutes of the meeting, and despite immediate intervention … she succumbed to her injuries and died.”
The lioness was born in 2005 and had lived at the Birmingham Zoo since 2007.
A beloved African lioness named Akili at the Birmingham Zoo was badly injured within minutes of a meeting with Josh, who was obtained from the San Antonio Zoo. She died from her injuries.
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— KENS 5 (@KENS5) July 20, 2022
The zoo’s CEO, Chris Pfefferkorn, called Akili’s death a loss for those who work at the facility.
“Please keep the amazing team and everyone that worked with Akili in your thoughts as there are no words that can ease the pain of such a spontaneous loss,” Pfefferkorn said.
“We are thankful that so many in the community had a chance to see and experience Akili.”
When the lioness’ mate died in 2021, zoo staff sought to introduce a new male to her. The male lion, called “Josh,” inflicted the injuries that resulted in Akili’s death.
Tranquilizers weren’t an option when the lion attacked, according to a separate report from WBRC. Colahan said tranquilizers work slowly and could have complicated things.
“If one was still awake and the other asleep then they are very vulnerable, so unfortunately it’s not a tool that we can use in this situation,” she said.
The zoo plans to keep the male lion at the facility and deliberate with the Lion Species Survival Plan about its long-term care.
Humans have been interested in lions since prehistoric times. Cave artwork in France depicting lions is roughly 30,000 years old, according to Smithsonian Magazine.
Lions, of course, feature in the biblical story of Daniel.
Daniel was an adviser to the Babylonian king Darius during the period in which the Israelites were captives of Babylon.
Daniel’s enemies convinced the king to cast him into a lions’ den, accusing him of worshiping the God of Israel instead of Darius.
Yet, in a divine miracle, the lions did not devour Daniel, leading the king to save Daniel and acknowledge his God.
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