Most big cat rescues are about saving a large predatory beast from abuse at the hands of cruel owners. In one case, it was about large predatory beasts saving someone from cruel abuse.
In 2005, a twelve-year-old Ethiopian girl was waylaid as she returned home from school. Four kidnappers abducted her, and the police were quickly summoned. An investigation followed, and a week later law enforcement was zeroing in on the location of the girl. The criminals decided to move her.
The girl was crying, because of how she’d been beaten and because she was expected to be married off to one of the kidnappers. The four men were dragging her along. The police were tracking them down… and some others were tracking them as well.
Before the police could arrive, three lions found the men… and attacked. Prepared to fight off police but unprepared for the fury of feline killing machines, the four men fled, abandoning the restrained girl.
Their path of retreat placed them directly into the hands of the police, who promptly arrested them. Upon learning why the felons were running, the police hustled to the location of the lions, expecting to find the girl dead.
Instead, they found the three lions sitting near the girl, as if protecting her. Sighting the large group of men arriving, the lions sauntered off, leaving the girl unharmed.
A local wildlife expert quoted by the BBC said that the lions may have protected her because the girls’ cries sounded like those of an injured cub. A professional hunter from the area painted a less rosy picture, saying the lions were probably preparing to eat her but simply hadn’t gotten to it yet, as she wasn’t in the process of running away or fighting back.
No matter what the reason, the girl was saved, the criminals were caught, and the lions… just wandered off, because they’re lions in the middle of Africa and nobody’s going to tell them what they can and can’t do.
Question of the night: Who (or what) was the strangest friend you had in high school?