Dallas Zoo visitors watched in horror as a lion attacked and killed a lioness on Sunday afternoon. Just after 2 pm, a male lion bit 5-year-old Johari on the neck. Although the lioness struggled to get away, the lion did not release his grip until she was dead. Witnesses said the attack lasted around 10 minutes.
Witness Michael Henshaw and Jim Harvery said it looked like the lions were playing. However, as Johari began to struggle it was obvious she was in danger.
Dylan Parker witnessed the entire incident. He said a large male lion approached the lioness and they seemed to be playing. Within minutes, the male lion became more aggressive:
“… they were just going at it non-stop… then the male kind of eased up a little bit on his attack, but the smaller male… decided he wanted to join in and he just pinned the lioness down on the ground and was just dragging her by the neck… he just laid down beside her… until she quit moving.”
Amid the attack, zoo officials announced a code red and asked visitors to leave the exhibit. As reported by CBS News, the Dallas Zoo’s male lions will be separated from the two remaining females until an investigation is complete. The female lions will return to the exhibit on Monday.
The five lions have lived as a family in the zoo’s Giants of the Savannah exhibit for nearly three years. Zoo officials said they were shocked by the attack. Vice president of animal operations and welfare, Lynn Kramer, said he is unsure what sparked the attack. He said he has been a veterinarian for 35 years and has “never seen this happen.” He explains that it was a “very rare and unfortunate occurrence.”
As reported by Fox News, there were no visible wounds of Johari’s neck. Dallas Zoo officials believe her neck was broken, and her death was relatively quick. The investigation into the tragic incident could take months.
[Image via Shutterstock]