- The Washington Times - Monday, November 18, 2013

It’s all fun and games — until one lion bites another too hard. That’s what happened at the Dallas Zoo over the weekend when a lion killed a lioness in front of visitors. Zoo workers are struggling to understand why.

“At first you think they’re playing, and then you realize he’s killing her, and … you’re watching it and you just can’t believe your eyes,” one witness, Michael Henshaw, said to WFAA.

He was referring to the Sunday-afternoon attack on Johari, a 5-year-old lioness, by one of the male lions in her pride, watched by dozens of zoo visitors, CNN reported.

“The male lion that started it just had his mouth over her throat and everyone thought they were playing at first,” said another witness, Jim Harvey, to WFAA. “But then they could see she was struggling.”

Zoo workers said Johari was killed quickly, but another witness, Dylan Parker, said to the local television station that the lion had a hold of Johari’s throat “for like 10 minutes … waiting until it quit moving.”

Officials closed the exhibit after the attack. They also removed the lion and three others off the site and put them in different cages.

At least one veterinarian said the attack was rarer than rare.

“In my 35 years as a veterinarian in zoos, I’ve never seen this happen,” said Lynn Kramer, adding that the incident was “very rare and unfortunate,” CNN reported.

Zoo officials, meanwhile, still can’t explain what happened and why the lion decided to kill the lioness.


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