Lion killer escapes

Last week I spent three days in the Masai Mara and went on patrol with the rangers of the Mara Conservancy to catch 7 alleged hippo poachers that were believed to be in the area. While on patrol we had a few ‘adventures’ and dramatic though amusing incidents. Though I wasn’t there, the five poachers were finally caught two days later with a dead hippo which Kimojino reported here.

This podcast and these photos document an extraordinary and rare incident that I’ve never heard of before and nobody that I know has ever observed a warthog killing a full grown lion! Listen to this new post here

The incident took place during a break in the middle of the patrol – we broke off to investigate a report of an injured lioness and what we found was almost too amazing to be true.


A ten year old lioness, killed by a warthog. She looked pregnant. That’s the broken off warthog tooth. Can you see the tiny wound in her neck? Surgical! Only after we turned her over did we notice the pool of blood beneath her.


The brave Masai rangers couldn’t resist getting a few photos with the slain lioness


Here’s the proud lion slayer in a hole just a meter from the dead lioness. Impressive teeth no?

Being the coward I am I wouldn’t put my head in it’s hole (thank God!) but stuck my camera in and took into one but 2 photos with the flash. She or he didn’t budge a millimeter despite all the noise and flash… we were convinced she/he was dead. Can you see the missing tusk?


Here is the deadly tusk – source of much exclamation and awe.

Though I’m very sorry for the lioness I cant help wondering what the heck she was doing? Putting her head into a warthogs hole??? Everyone knows that the first law of African savanna bush, don’t ever EVER stand in front of a warthogs hole. Now you know why.

I hope you enjoy the podcast

Bookmark and Share


  1. Posted March 4, 2008 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    God, that’s awful. However I’m glad the lioness’ death wasn’t caused by human intervention.


  2. Theresa Siskind St Petersburg FL
    Posted March 4, 2008 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Terribly sad but all these animals do battle oneway or the other, everyday. I often have wondered why the stress alone does not kill both prey and predator. It would definitely kill us! Paula, Asuka ran a post about on leopard killing about 18 livestock with photos. Why would a leopard do this? Is this typical of them? He apparently ate only one animal.

  3. Paula
    Posted March 4, 2008 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Hi Theresa and Sheryl. Leopards and many predators just go a bit crazy when there’s so much prey around… instincts just kick in. Have you ever seen the effect of a fox in a chicken coop? or a mongoose in a chicken coop? by the way, is the podcast working? I cant tell from here! Slow connections ala Nairobi

  4. Theresa Siskind St Petersburg FL
    Posted March 4, 2008 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Busted! Ok Paula, I JUST listened to this podcast,(had to take care of some business at the other blogs). It works just fine as I felt like I was there in the mix. I guess the rangers have learned where NOT to stick their heads! I feel sorry for the warthog, toothaches are a major bummer.

  5. Wanda, Atlanta
    Posted March 4, 2008 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Was the warthog dead too? Really

  6. F. J. Pechir
    Posted March 4, 2008 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Paula for this certainly strange story. Warthogs sometimes hurt a lion during a confrontation, but it is the first time that I hear of an adult lion killed in the process. Maybe the battle took place outside the warthog´s den, and then the warthog just returned inside to die. Taking in count the tusk dimension I could say that it is from an adult male warthog. So sorry about both of them…

  7. Theresa Siskind St Petersburg FL
    Posted March 4, 2008 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Paula, correct me if I’m wrong, but this warthog was alive and managed to escape. I’m guessing the nerve roots will eventually die, and he will loose the rest of the tooth. Hopefully he will survive. How did you guess the approximate age of this poor, unlucky lioness?

  8. F. J. Pechir
    Posted March 4, 2008 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Now the Tana River Delta is in danger! First the Lake Natron in Kenya and Tanzania is threatened by the construction of a soda extraction plant that would destroy the feeding and reproductive areas of lesser flamingos. My ACWP, as a member of the Lake Natron Consultative Group is working hard since months ago with my friend Ken Mwathe head of Birdlife Kenya to stop this project, and I can tell you that at this momment the results are encouraging, but there is a long battle ahead and many scientific research and political work is needed. Now, the Mumias Sugar Company and Tana and Athi River Development Authority want to transform nearly 50,000 acres of the Tana river delta into sugarcane plantations. This area is home to at least 150 species of birds, 22 of them threatened. Appart from this, more than 800 hippos and many elephants, lions, crocodiles and other species live there. Also this Delta supports many human communities, specially during the dry season. The kenya government is considering the scheme but it underestimates the real impact on wildlife that such project will has and is not under the international Ramsar wetland convention. I´m just comment on this with Ken Mwathe, and the good thing is that we, as the Lake Natron Consultative Group, are against this proposal and also will work to stop this plan that would put in extreme danger all wildlife in the Delta. About South Africa´s plan to cull elephants, there are far more than 20,000 elephants killed each year by poachers in Africa, and there are some african countries that face this problem since many years ago. With the proper management and with an adecuate protection to this areas, many elephants could be translocated there, it just depends of the South African government and the help of the private conservational institutions (many of them have the will to help) to do this, and many lands in Africa also could be transformed in refuges for elephants and the tourism be atracted to these areas. As I said earlier, there are plenty of space in Africa (remember, more than 20,000 killed each year) for this south african elephants to be relocated but also they must be protected. But there are no space for such a barbaric cull in a world that has already won so many terrain in the conservation of wildlife. There are options, and a cull will be like the greatest back-step in conservation in many years. The proposed wolf slaughter in the U.S. is another example of this kind of situations, both are totally unacceptable.

  9. Francis
    Posted March 4, 2008 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    That was pretty amazing, I wonder if hunger made the lioness go after the warthog and made a fatal mistake.

  10. Paula
    Posted March 4, 2008 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    FJP – thanks for your comments. If you can listen to the podcast it explains the title of the post “Killer escapes”. I did my MSC research in the Tana River forests – don’t worry, Kenyans will fight the plans to destroy this world heritage.

  11. James Learner
    Posted March 4, 2008 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    That podcast was amazing, it sounds like a narrow escape. I listened to it while I was doing my work, had me laughing laughing aloud and causing a scene!

  12. F. J. Pechir
    Posted March 5, 2008 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Dear Paula, I´m sorry, I don´t have the time yesterday to listen to the podcast, but I do now. Thank you!! your voice is so sweet!

  13. Christine C.
    Posted March 5, 2008 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Wow, great posdcast Paula despite mbeing a bit sad about the lioness…though what a surprise ending with the warthog still being alive!!!

3 Trackbacks

  1. By 10 Mara magnets | Baraza on March 5, 2008 at 12:58 am

    […] actually took all those photographs, recorded podcasts, video and did so much  more in three days. It felt like a dream….you know what it’s like when […]

  2. By Conversation with a chief | Baraza on April 4, 2008 at 9:21 am

    […] podcasts and photos earlier about the tourism collapse here and the killing of a lion by a warthog here. This post is about a conversation I had with Kipas, the village […]

  3. By Lion vs warthog mashup | Baraza on November 3, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    […] am amazed! Someone took our blog post and podcast about lion vs warthog in the Masai Mara and mashed it up to produce this great Youtube […]

Post a Comment