Klaserie River Sands

Lioness gored by buffalo horn lives to see another day

Written by: Patrick Reynolds, Governors Il Moran Camp manager

Lioness Siena from the Marsh Pride of lions in the Masai Mara was badly injured on her left lower flank by a buffalo horn. Siena has three tiny cubs so the lives of four individual lions were at stake. The wound was deep with the skin sheath being fleeced but no perforations to the stomach wall or any bone dislocation.

lion's-injury Siena's-injury

Governors Camp driver guides found her with the injury in the early morning and immediately alerted the rangers, we also made contact with the David Sheldrick Wildlife foundation that mobilised the vet in Nairobi and arranged a plane to fly the vet to the Mara.

The veterinarian Dr Njoroge from the Kenya Wildlife service’s landed at Musiara airstrip at lunchtime and Governors guides drove the medical team directly to where Siena was resting. Treatment started in the afternoon when she was darted. Moments later a sub-adult lioness promptly sauntered up to Siena who was still standing while the drug was taking effect and pulled the dart out of her with her teeth.

Siena was treated and stitched effectively which took approximately 1½ hours.

lion-injury lion-injured injure-lion injured-lion lion-treatment lion's-stiches lion-injury-treatment treatment-lion-injury

48 hours later we found Siena 2 kms on from were she had been treated and she was doing remarkably well, she was walking with her cubs and also squatting to pee; all good signs, we only hope that she continues to improve.

lioness-treatment lion-treated

Sincere thanks to the effective response from the The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, the medical team from the Kenya Wildlife services, and the assistance of the Narok County Council and Governors’ camp staff.

Without intervention it is certain that Siena would not have survived this injury and her cubs would also have been in jeopardy.

Governors' Camp

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  • Benjamin Smith

    This is very impressive. Good job!

    • Trever

      I think people are misunderstanding why this lion was helped. The lives of that lioness and her cubs are very valuable, literally. What attracts people to spend money every year to visit the masai mara? A diverse selection of animals. If the lions were as plentiful as the buffalo, I dont think anything would have been done.

      • Peter Apps


        I’m sure you are right. Top of the list of animals that wildlife tourists want to see are lions, and they want them habituated and looking fit and healthy.

  • Ben Bristow

    Dear Africa Geographic
    This is a great story and hopefully will turn out to be a good ending down the line.
    I have one question tho, what was the clay looking stuff that the vets put over the stitches? The reason I’m asking is because I work on a small reserve and sometimes we need to treat our animals for injuries, some requiring stitches and I am very interested too know what that substance is and maybe if it will help me out here in Mauritius where Biting and Blue flies are really bad? Any answers would be greatly appreciated thanks.
    Ben Bristow

    • StephDK

      Ben, it’s a green clay that the David Sheldrick vets use all the time to aid in the wound recovery. You might want to reach out to someone at that organization for more information on what it is or where they obtain it from. Good luck!

  • Valerie Lusaka

    Fantastic! Long life at this lioness and at her cubs!

  • S.w. Tsang

    poor girl who was so lucky to have humane intervention. as we can see, it is a hard and dangerous way of life for a predator ( especially withe dependents )

  • Rob Clark

    Dear AG

    I would be interested to know why there was human intervention, surely in a true conservation environment they should let nature take its course. This will mean that human intervention should only happen when an animal was originally hurt through human involvement, such as caught is a snare or poaching etc.
    It’s a very difficult decision to make and in this example could cost the lives of her and her cubs and where do you draw the line.

    • Ron Parnell

      and the (conservation) value of non intervention would be..?

      • Peter Apps

        Part of conservation, arguably the most important part, is to preserve natural processes. A lioness dieing as a result of a buffalo goring her, and her cubs dieing subsequently is clearly a natural process, as is the natural selection that it enables. If this kind of individual intervention is applied to charismatic tourist favourites like lions, will it also be applied to individuals of their prey species that are left injured after unsuccessful lion attacks ?

        • nicky

          I believe in natural selection and survival of the fittest. But when mani Is destroying our natural habitats for wildlife, then we need to step in an help where we can. Nothing wrong with helping where we can. If she had died, which she more than likelywould have from the severity of the injuries, her cubs would more than likely died as well. So we have helped a family survive. PS. What is the clay used called. Interesting

          • Peter Apps


            Saving this lion family (presuming that this is the outcome of the interference) condemns several buffalo mothers to losing calves that otherwise would have lived, zebra foals to losing their mothers, and so on and so on. I wonder what the response (of the lodge staff, veterinary team, and posters on this thread) would have been if it was a spotted hyaena instead of a lion that was injured ?

          • nicky

            Peter. What i am saying is that because of man taking over the world and our natural wildlife areas, i feel it is important where we can, to help our wildlife survive. Yes if the buffalo had killed her then that is nature. But the lion survived and as caring humans and the fact we are ruining their environment, i think it is good that we help animals no matter what species.

          • Peter Apps


            Can you explain in what sense does helping one individual lioness help “wildlife survive”. Wildlife consists of all the individual animals of all the species in an ecosystem. Keeping one individual predator alive that otherwise would have died is no help at all to the prey animals that the predator subsequently goes on to kill. The prey animals are just as much wildlife as the predator, and there is no rational basis in your argument for choosing the welfare of one over the welfare of the other. In fact, if you are worried about animals dieing painful and bloody deaths then you should be advocating the culling of populations of animals that eat other animals. Which I hope that you realise is absurd.

          • Reanne

            I would like to give my two cents in this debate.
            Buffulo numbers are a lot higher than lions (& their other predators) with lions flagging up on the endangered species list. Predators are required in natural systems as a form of regulation for the prey species, their presence makes a population healthier by removing the less able members of that population, preventing their numbers growing too large etc. (see the impacts of returning wolves to Yellowstone park for these processes in another scenario). Since lion numbers are not at the level they should be (for a population to survive & be genetically viable you need a certain number of individuals but I won’t go into that in too much detail right now), so any help to the lion population is a positive thing in terms of aiding that species long-term.

            I know many have responded in this thread with a more ‘helping any animal’ approach, which is fine if they want to be of that opinion, but it is true some animals are given priority over others. There is very little money (relatively) available in conservation, thus decisions are often based on which species are most ‘imporant’, in terms of their ecological, economical & often popularity value.

            I would expand more but I fear I may write an essay, plus it’s hard typing from my phone (apologies if I missed any spelling mistakes). But I’ve offered some info so away I go. *whoosh*

          • Peter Apps


            Your points are all good ones. I would like to mention though that African lions are not Endangered, they are Vulnerable (http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/15951/0). If animals are to be prioritized for conservation (as you suggest that they should be) then the IUCN classifications are the best way of doing it, and endangered should not be used (as it is by several posters in this thread) as a catch-all label for species or populations whose numbers are low.

          • Pamela Davin


          • Peter Apps


            And what I am saying is that intervening to save this lioness does not self-evidently “help our wildlife survive”, to use your phrase. There appears to be a very widespread confusion between saving individual animals one by one, and conserving the habitats of whole populations of animals so that they can get on with their lives without human interference.

          • nicky

            peter. I think you have the minority vote here. yes all interesting information you have put forward but the lioness has been helped which is wonderful and we are all happy. I reckon that many of us would go over and above all to help where we could. If you can just sit around and watch an animal and it’s family suffer, then i am not sure you are the person to be involved with animals. We are not bunny huggers as you might think by any means. I understand culling, death and natural process of life, I have been involved in conservation and rehabilitation and veterinary care all my life and understand when we can help and when we cannot. But i will not stand around and do nothing when man has ruined our land.

          • Peter Apps


            “I think you have the minority vote here. “. I am sure that you are right, fortunately most conservation management is not run as a democracy, it is based on empirical evidence, coherent strategies and long-term thinking.

            “If you can just sit around and watch an animal and it’s family suffer, then i am not sure you are the person to be involved with animals.” You presume rather a lot with this kind of judgement, but leave that aside. The point that I have been trying to make, with rather limited success, is that interfering in this case to relieve the suffering of a single lioness and her two cubs, condemns an unknown number (certainly larger than three) of other animals to painful and terrifying deaths at their teeth and claws. Because of this, the intervention cannot be judged to have reduced the sum total of animal suffering, and so it cannot logically be justified on animal welfare grounds. I will agree that it (arguably) reduced the suffering of a single animal that is highly visible to high paying wildlife tourists, but unlike others in this discussion I cannot find it in myself to judge her suffering as any more important than that of any other animal.

          • Let’s take this logic a little further.
            We should send search parties out to hunt down the buffalo that inflicted this nasty wound. It’s possible that she was merely defending her calf against an animal that wished to eat it. No matter, she’s clearly a menace to the wellbeing of lionesses and their cubs.

            Should we shoot once she’s cornered? Or perhaps we could just humanely dehorn her.

            Maybe that’s the answer; let’s run around the plains hacking off the horns (and chopping off the hooves and pulling out the teeth and destroying any other potential weapons) that predators’ prey may used to hurt them.

            Would that work for you?

          • Charles

            Dehorn her and incapacitate her from defending herself and family, clan in furture? What logic

          • I take it you actually read the previous posts before responding to mine? I presume you not unfamiliar with the use of satire in discourse?

        • Mkenya

          I like your argument very much.It is very logical. But you misspelled the word dying twice. I am left to wonder if you actually don’t know the spelling or you chose to write it intentionally. Still nursing a lion injured in a natural confrontation is unethical. We don’t know what happened to the buffalo. She might have sustained some serious injuries as well.

    • I’m in agreement with Rob. Why did this lioness deserve this degree of human intervention to repair and injury she acquired which did not arise from human intervention?

      • Lynn Gennrich

        Young cubs,

        • ebolaoutkast

          By helping these ‘young cubs’ we have killed far more prey animals.

      • Morris

        The truth of the matter is that this lion will be killed by the next buffalo, before human help gets there. It was humanitarian to save, but temporary in the wild. The fittest survive.

        • The long-term benefits of having the fittest survive appears to be completely lost on those who advocate the creation of a Disney-fied version of the African wilderness.

  • Gabriella Kiss

    Dear Africa Geographic, this is is great story and I wish we could help for all injured animals in this way, as we have less and less lions in the wild. Thanks for all people in Kenya! Dr Gabriella Kiss

  • Furious Eagle

    Im sad that there were some people who actually condemned tis rescue operation as ” intervention of nature” …FYI, man has already intervened and killed off even entire species and subject them to untold sufferring in the last century…when human hunters killed a single lion or lioness many subaults or cubs will die…is it too much to offer compassion and save the life of tis lioness?? Wat if u were in her shoes, and some humans argued that u should be left alone to rot with worms eating yur leg alive?…I ONCE SAVE A RETICULATED PYTHON that wandered onto the highway, i sometimes do think, have i erred, as the snake will continue to live and eat other prey that would have lived otherwise?? We simply dont know..this is the SAME thinking that drove man to hunt and kill tigers, lions, wolves to extinction as they consider them evil and viciuos beast…but they r just living their natural lives…BRaVO to the rescue team and all those involve, may u propsper and live long….as for those who critsized the resuce, a word of advice: The road to hell is paved with many good intentions

    • Rob

      Well done on saving the python. Saving the python is not in the same category as the lioness. A highway is a human intervention and endangers wildlife, so any attempts to save wildlife from this sort of human intrusion into the wild should be welcomed and encouraged.
      However, in the wild, would you have moved the python out of the way of an elephant that could have stood on it and killed it – I doubt it.

    • Peter Apps

      The lioness was injured in a perfectly natural confrontation with a prey animal that was defending itself. If you want to argue on the basis of “Wat if u were in her shoes (sic) ….’, then you also have to put yourself into the buffalo’s shoes. Clearly the buffalo wanted the lioness dead, or sufficiently crippled to no longer pose a threat. Who are you to presume to ignore the buffalo’s wishes ?

      • Ona

        Excellent! You are a genius Peter. Let’s leave nature to take its course. As humans we think we can reason, even on behalf of wild animals. “Put yourself in the the shoes of the baffalo”. Imagine this: You get attacked by a thug, and upon regaining your consciousness, you fight back, and in the ensuing scuffle you injure this intruder who happens to prey on other peoples belongings. This buffalo taught a lioness a good lesson for God has given a baffalo strength and horns to defend itself. If you believe in the scripture, thus our fate is predetermined by our Maker, then it was the lions turn to die, not the baffalo, but as fate would have it, human beings have intervened in a very a bad way. Some people pity young cubs, but are you aware that those cubs will one day came after the calves of a baffalo?

        • Becca

          What an ignorant thing to say. This comment doesn’t even deserve the time of day, so I’m not going to elaborate on my answer any further.

      • Liam Duff

        Humans are also of this planet and if we chose to involve ourselves in the rescue of this lioness because we can see the bigger picture and understand the many threats to this species and seek to mitigate them then that is also within the realms of “nature”. Yes its true that science has “defined” natural as other than human but I belive this is a great mistake because it is through that context that we feel separated from the rest of this planet and this disconnect facilitates our abuse of the planet and the species that we share it with. Now we know that we are all interconnected and that if we want to survives as a species that we have to work together. Its true that we have ” super abilities” compared to animals and this gives us an almost god-like governing power over animals but with power comes responsibility and we have flagrantly disregarded that responsibility in the past and many continue to do so today. There is nothing wrong with intervening in this situation because conservation and the well-being of the ecosytem is what is in mind in this perticular instance.

        • Peter Apps


          Can I pose to you the same question that I have posed elsewhere in the thread (without so far having had an answer). How does interfering with the natural consequences of a buffalo’s defence against a lion contribute to “conservation and the well-being of the ecosystem” ?

          • Everything here is to do with nature, and looks like every player is looking out for their interests… the lion attempting the buffalo, the buffalo defending itself, the humans intervening in saving the lion’s life… Its all natural. Ona gives an example of a thug… doesn’t it baffle you why a thug lives so long terrorizing other people, and always goes away with it for several times? Why doesn’t God just get rid of this thug so that others live in harmony?? I think it’s because it’s not yet their day to die. I guess it wasn’t the Lioness’ day. I think Luck (good or bad) is natural.

            And am not saying Thugs should be let alone to terrorise others. When their luck runs out ofcourse they are caught, sometimes injured, jailed.. etc..

          • Jeff Turnage

            An ecosystem tends to have self-correcting mechanisms that keep it in dynamic equilibrium. A certain percentage of lion cubs die in fancy, some adults die in interactions with other lions, some die from interactions with other species, or after losing their ability to hunt. Some will die of drought, fire, disease or being socially pushed to an area with insufficient prey. If prey populations are reduced due to drought or inability to get to grazing lands, then predator populations suffer as well. That’s all fine as long as enough cubs live to reproduce to keep the population stable and in dynamic balance with the available prey populations. All these different forces operate in relation with each other. That kind of natural stability comes when the ecosystem is very large.

            When human activity reduces the size of “wild” lands and reduces the overall size of predator and prey populations the system becomes more unstable. A drought in one region may devastate the local populations, but later be replenished by in migration from adjacent areas. That only works if there is a healthy population in an adjacent area big enough to be unaffected by the same drought that can freely move in.

            It’s kind of like if your home building company has a crew of 20 workers. If one guy has car trouble, one is sick and another has to attend his kid’s school activity, you still have 17 guys to continue on until things get back to normal. If your work crew is only four guys, and the same things occur, then you’re down to one man. One man may not even be physically able to do the work at all and pretty soon your company is out of business. And suppose the only guys you might hire to fill in are 500 miles away. Or maybe they’re right down the street, but for some reason there are fences and heavily policed territories that prevent them from physically traveling to your work site?

            “Wild” areas, even in Africa are so drastically reduced and affected by human activity that they can barely function as viable ecosystems anymore. Even the loss of one lioness and three cubs could be enough to cause a huge impact on the future of the local lion population. People talk about “the wild” like it’s an endless resource, the same way people hunted the vast populations of animals a hundred years ago like it was an endless resource. The fact is for the most part there is no more “wild.” What we have left are small islands that could easily he lost by a single disease, or wildfire, concerted poaching effort or political whim. What we have left are weakling shadows of formerly viable ecosystems that have to be increasingly managed like zoos just to keep the remaining animals alive.

          • Peter Apps


            Everything that you say is true, but what has still not come out anywhere in the discussion was whether this particular lioness was part of a lion population that is so small and isolated that it needs hands on interventionist management at the level of individual animals. The number of lions in the Mara (where this happened) has been in steep decline recently due to human pressure (mainly conflict with cattle herders and declines in prey numbers due to habitat loss and poaching), but I am still not clear whether shoring up the lion population was the rationale for this intervention.

          • Ben Simpson

            Can i just say to you Peter what everyone else is thinking. – Your a tool. Do you not have anything better to do than piss other people off that feel a sense of compassion to a wounded animal. I’m sure self fulfillment would be better gained through something other than baiting people into obscure arguments regarding their beliefs, which I do not hesitate to say- are none of your business. Get a job mate. . .

          • Peter Apps

            And good afternoon to you too, Ben.

            I was beginning to wonder how many posts it would take for this to descend into personal insults from someone who has nothing constructive to offer, now I have my answer.

            Do you really think that discussions about what the best way to conserve wildlife and its habitats are “obscure”. I would say that these problems are among the most important that we have to deal with. Presumably the people who are posting here do not share your belief, or they would not be posting. Unlike you I do not presume to know what everyone is thinking, but that must be a really useful talent you have, do you put it to any constructive use ?

            What people believe is indeed none of my (or anyone else’s) business, right up until they enter those beliefs into a discussion. One issue is that successful conservation has to be based on the hard facts of how nature operates, not on how people believe it does or should operate. If how we conserve wildlife is to be based on belief then the beliefs of the conservationists have to be traded off against the beliefs of the exploitationists, and who is to say whose beliefs will win that particular contest ?.

            I have a job, thank you. I work in conservation. What do you do when you are not cruising the internet ?

          • Gabriella Hernandez

            Peter I know you are entitled to your own opinion but really what would you be thinking in the lionessess shoes. She has a family and little ones who need her to survive. Some say that animals don’t have emotions like humans but they do! The pride would be devastated by losing the Cubs and her. I know it’s the way nature works but imagine if you saw a woman on the steers and she was wounded that badly. Just like any other living thing she has feeling and a family and people she would miss. Would you really just sit there and let an innocenot lives be extinguished. I know the Buffalo was defendingitself. It has a family too but like you said it’ Nature’s way. If it was the Buffalo that were en danger ed I am sure someone would help them. And we don’t just help cute ones. People help all form the lion to the blob fish. And finally I hoe everyone will stop calling names and such. Yout are grown people! You sold know better. Lately it seems like all the human race does is fight, call names, and take and a accuse people. Why can’t we all acept each other’s differences and move on… I am not as old as many of you. I’m only a kid. But if a kid can see all that’s wrong with the world and tries to fix it when all the adults just point fingers and fight with each other then maybe somethings wrong. I look all around and I see war, drugs, and a whole bunch of stuff. for example cop haters. They yell about all this racism stuff but when a black dude shoots a white cop you don’t hear a pep. The cops main goals are to keep everyone safe, help those who need it, and come home safe to their families. I have heard dozens of stories of cop haters on the news. When will we hear the one about them saving people? Stopping them from jumping of bridges and killing themselves? Giving to kids with no toys by making toy charities? When are we going to hear the story of the cops who saved people? I could talk for hours on what’s wrong with the world but really why shouled i? Adults always think your just a kid and that your opinion doesn’t matter. Well let me tell you this. Whatever we become, whatever the world makes us, we are the future and I will be honest. We need all the help we can get to help the future become a little brighter. One of the best sayings I ever herd was from doctor Suss “unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot nothings going to get better. It’s not.” I know its only from a kids book but it’s true. Change starts when you decide to care. When you decide to try and change the world for the better. I just hope that someone will see this message and carry it on so we can finally see the change in the world that we really need. Thank you*

          • Peter Apps

            Hi Gabriella

            You are quite right, I am entitled to my opinion, and so is everyone else. And we are all entitled to express our opinions in a peaceful and reasoned manner.

            But being entitled to you own opinion does not mean that you are entitled to your own facts. One “fact” that people are making up for themselves is that African lions are endangered – they are not; check the IUCN Redlist website. Since lions are not endangered, all the argument’s in this thread that justify the intervention on the basis that they are, are arguing from a false premise. Similarly, none of the arguments that would have us treat lions as if they were humans are based on the facts as we know them, because lions are not humans.

            And I hope that you will not mind me noting that your ranting on for the final two thirds of you post does not advance the present discussion at all.

          • I can think

            the lions and buffalo need NO intervention from humans, they have been doing what they do for millions of years. Stay out of it do gooders.

          • William Dale Lyle

            That was a very longggggggggggggggggggg
            Comment but, it makes perfect sense!! And, I agree with most of it. I know the population of the USA (330 to 340 million give or take a few million and China is
            1.3 BILLION, YES, BILLION!!!) It pisses me off to see 3rd world & & up countries destroying habitat of animals that we have on the critical list of extinction. Take the Mountain Gorilla for example. We have to do something to stop the destruction of OUR rain forest and other habitat that OUR animals need to live and thrive!

          • Maretha Botha

            I think for me it has to do with the immediacy of the situation. The lioness was suffering and she needed help, which the team admirably gave. If a buffalo or any other animal for that matter was injured, I would like to believe that for the sake of helping an injured, vulnerable creature under such circumstances, help would be given. Unfortunately there will always be humans who interfere with ecosystems and wildlife as a whole, doing so to satisfy their greed. So, if sometimes people put themselves out to do good to others, in this instance this lioness – I say BRAVO!!! You are still a human with feelings and have a conscience.

      • Jeannine

        I thought it had more to do with the fact that lions are an endangered species?? Which is a HUMAN problem.

        • Peter Apps

          African lions are not endangered: http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/15951/0

          • travisphoenix

            From http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kelsey-davenport/lions-the-new-endangered-species_b_4769328.html :

            “Asiatic lions are firmly placed in the “endangered” category, but many believe African lions should be as well. Looking at the numbers, African lions seem safe — there arebetween 32,000 and 35,000 in existence. Upon examining the situation further, however, it is alarming to discover that their population has been cut in half in the past twenty-two years, and that they only occupy roughly 20 percent of their historic range, meaning that they are extinct in 26 African countries. Worst of all, many current lion populations are too small and isolated to be sustainable. Habitat loss is the primary cause of the decreasing number of lions, but other problems exist as well. Of these problems, trophy hunting is the most deplorable. Trophy hunting, or the hunting of exotic animals for personal glory, still exists in most African countries. The United States is the world’s leading importer of lion parts for trophy hunting and commercial purposes.

            How is this practice still continuing when lions are at a risk of extinction within the foreseeable future? And what can be done to halt the decline of lion populations all over Africa? In November of last year, animal behaviorist Kevin Richardson made a fifteen minute GoPro video titled “Lions – the New Endangered Species?” The video went viral, gaining almost six million views within the first three months of its upload date. In the video, Richardson focused on the playfulness of the lions he works with — lions are the only social big cats — and educated the viewer on the problems facing Africa’s lion population. In the comments section, many Youtube users expressed concern and their prior ignorance to the harsh fact that lions are slowly disappearing.”

          • Peter Apps

            Nevertheless, the IUCN, which is a more substantial authority than the the huffingtonpost I think you will agree, classifies them as Vulnerable. “Endangered” is too often carelessly used as a catch all phrase for species whose numbers are declining.

          • Becca

            Yes they are.

          • Peter Apps

            Not according to the IUCN – take the trouble to check the link before pronouncing your opinion.

          • pme01

            Dear Peter,

            I have taken the time to read through your posts. Firstly let me say that in classic conservation terms I am against intervening if no human interaction has been the cause for an animal to get into trouble. In the circle of life it is predator vs. prey.

            However, when I saw the AG post on this cat getting stitched up, another thought went through my mind: The thought that on this planet, as far as we know there is only one species that is capable to think up and execute a compassionate act to potentially save an individual of another species from an agonising end. (Potentially, because it remains to be seen whether the intervention was of long-term success.)

            There is no doubt whatsoever that lions are in grave danger throughout their remaining range. Their single source of trouble being Homo sapiens sapiens. Although stitching up one lioness has nothing to do with long-term species conservation I am glad to see that today some humans will actually go out and act on behalf of an individual of a species in trouble. Remember, there are about 3’500’000’000 girls and women on the planet, and probably no more than 12’000 lionesses.

            I see you quote the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species and you corretly state Panthera leo to be listed as Vulnerable, rather than Endangered (followed by Critically Endangered > Extinct in the Wild > Extinct). If we were having this discussion about Panthera tigris, only 25 years ago, you would have had to draw the same conclusion. Today, there are about 20’000 lions left in Africa and there are about 3’500 tigers living in the wild. If we as a species do not act now, tigers will be gone from the wild by the year 2020 and there will be less than 10’000 lions left in Africa, and there will be a population smaller than is genetically viable in the long term by the year 2030. I know this sound like miles away, but it is only 16 years from now. Think back of where you were 16 years ago in 1998 and tell me again that 2030 still is a long time away.

            So to me, today, every lion counts because I want to contribute to ensure that there will be lions roaming in the wild not just 16, but 100, and 200 years from now. By the way this is the objective of the IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group.

            For the buffalo: Interfering this way is so far removed from what we think of as ok for long term species conservation today that there is no point mentionig it. If someone could have told the buffalo which injured this lioness that there was a vet flying in to stitch up the cat, the buffalo would no doubt have stampeded in to stop this nonsense. However, As per IUCN census, there are over 800’000 buffalo left in Africa. They too compete with humans for access to natural resources, but for now, for right now, demographically and genetically they are nowhere near Panthera leo.

            Again, I will most of the time defend non-interference but it gives me some hope to see that humans start to stick up for species that have been driven into trouble by ourselves, as is the case with P. leo in most of eastern Africa.

            I am glad the buffalo is not standing next to me as I type these lines.

            Best regards from Switzerland,

            Patrick Meier


          • Peter Apps

            Thank you Patrick for a well considered argument.

            Let me use two quotes from your post:

            “Although stitching up one lioness has nothing to do with long-term species conservation …..” captures exactly what I have been trying to put forward, and is what many others disagree with.

            “…. I am glad to see that today some humans will actually go out and act on behalf of an individual of a species in trouble.” Me too, not so much because it reflects well on the human race (although kudos to the field teams who actually did the job) but because we have an ethical duty to alleviate suffering where we are able to and where the overall benefits outweigh any adverse impacts. In some instances helping individuals can contribute to conservation in the larger sense, but most of those instances concern individuals of species that are critically endangered.

            Quoting you again: “There is no doubt whatsoever that lions are in grave danger throughout their remaining range.” And yet they are about ten times more abundant than cheetahs and African wild dogs, and when lion densities are high they are an important cause of mortality for both these species. Lions thrive in large, well managed conservation areas – well managed in this context mainly means protection from human incursion – and when prey is abundant their populations are able to increase rapidly. This is not to say that some local lion populations are not in serious trouble; the population in the Mara being one of them, and in these populations intervention at the individual level may be entirely appropriate as a population conservation action. It has struck me as slightly strange that not one of those who have criticised my posts have mentioned this themselves.

            I have no intention of disputing that the number of lions (and all other large carnivores) show declines whose simple linear extrapolation will lead to extinction in the wild in a few decades. But I do dispute that lions are currently classified as endangered, because they are not so classified, and for post after post to assert that they are simply misrepresents the current situation. “Endangered” is too often thoughtlessly trotted out as a convenient catch-all label, all it takes to find a species threat classification is to look it up on the IUCN website.

            I would also like to stress that I have never suggested that a buffalo wounded by a lion should receive the treatment that this lioness received, although I did use the possibility of such an intervention to try to understand the logic behind some posters’ positions.

          • pme01

            Good evening Peter,

            I agree with you regarding the impact apex predator populations have on mesopredators. Though cheetah and wild dog (as well as leopard) are pressured by many more factors than lion density.

            In my personal opinion it may take a re-evaluation of the levels of Red List status for some species. Again in my personal opinion, with lions we have now reached a point where every wild living individual must count. If not now, when will that be the case? When there are 15’000 left? At 10’000? At 5’000? Or as with the tiger on the Indian subcontinent, once within a single century 96.5% of the population have been lost?

          • Peter Apps

            Hello Patrick

            Let us leave the IUCN classifications in the hands of the world experts who draw them up, based on the very best evidence that is available.

            The question of when every individual counts should really be considered at the population level, not by total species numbers. So if there is a small isolated population of an abundant species, individual interventions might well be appropriate in that small population, but not in another, larger, healthier population of the same species.

      • Neverfox

        Well, human. Say a human being justifiably uses deadly force to defend themselves, intending to kill or sufficiently wound the attacker so that they pose no further threat. But rather then killing them immediately, for one reason or another, they only mortally wound the attacker, who is now going to die slowly. By your argument, the wounded attacker shouldn’t be attended to medically because of the wishes of the original victim. But the the fact is, letting the person die at that point, when they could be saved, is itself an act of aggression. Our moral obligations to injured beings, whatever they may be in a given context, are not related to the moral justifications for causing injury or death nor are they dictated by the intentions of anyone else, human or otherwise.

        • Peter Apps

          Neverfox, you bring up a good subject for a discussion of our moral duties to other humans.

          Can you explain how it is relevant to the current discussion about our ethical duties to animals and the species (or population) conservation value of interventions at the individual level ?.

          • SumAnon

            Completely outside of a scientific or conservation-minded argument, I think humans are geared towards helping those that are suffering, even individuals outside of their species. We look at an animal suffering as this lioness obviously was, and we sympathize.

            In terms of how humans should act in the ecosystem … there are good points to both sides of the step in/don’t interfere debate. But when it comes down to it, humans have an instinctual reaction to seeing wounds like the picture above. Our social-group programmed brain kicks in, and it is is very hard for people to distance themselves from suffering on this level. I think it’s a safe bet that everyone who saw this article had a gut reaction to an animal in pain. And that, itself, is a natural thing.

            Perhaps it is easier for people to identify more with the predator/lion than with the close-to-beef buffalo. Cow-ish animals are ‘dumb’ and ‘die all the time,’ which is an extension of our own justification eating meat. We like the lion more, so there is a quicker jump to help one in need, versus the buffalo that may well have also been injured or killed (horribly some times!) by the lion. Not that the vet who helped this lion would have withheld care to a buffalo, more the Interweb Surfer Activists who anthropomorphize the creatures they find pleasing and dismiss the ones they don’t.

          • Neverfox

            To answer that, I’ll remind you of what you said:

            If you want to argue on the basis of “Wat if u were in her shoes (sic) ….’, then you also have to put yourself into the buffalo’s shoes.

            But why? By offering an example involving humans where that directive is absurd, surely it follows that one involving buffaloes is equally, if not more, absurd. The matter of what our obligations are to either animal is really not the point, except in the sense that they don’t include an obligation to carry out the buffalo’s (or “nature’s”) intentions, directly or through inaction.

      • chikoppi

        This happened in the Mara, where human-animal conflict is a very real problem. Farmers and ranchers are tempted to kill lions and other predators, whose populations are increasingly threatened. The Kenyan government and a number of NGOs are hard at work in the Mara attempting to mitigate the damage being done by human encroachment on this protected habitat as well as the effects of industrialization, such as construction of roads across migratory paths and deforestation. We aren’t “correcting nature,” we’re trying to undo some of the damage already caused by our disproportionate interference. Large predators are an at-risk population in this ecosystem due to human activity.

    • Sarah

      Humans are a part of nature.Most people don’t see it that way anymore and that’s where all our problems come from. They did right to save this Lioness as they should with any injured animal they come across.

      • Kraigla

        Why don’t save all the animals that’s in the lion’s menu then? Or are you just picking the most adorable ones and leave the uglies to be condemned to be food?

        • Monique Doiron

          your sarcasm reflect only a non common sense answer. Humans for as long they have been on this earth has done more harm than any other living thing on our planet! Its the best gift that a human can give back to wildlife. The humans are choking the wildlife all over the world from over population in their habitat.

          • Stuck_in_Ca

            We’re wildlife too.

        • William Dale Lyle

          Are you stupid? It’s called the food chain. God made animals this way, some predators and some prey. Would you rather see this animal die a slow death which would mean certain death for her cubs!

        • Tasty Pete

          Lions are endangered. Saving this one is a step towards making them no longer endangered. Really, if anyone needs to explain it to you any further then there’s no hope for you at all.

    • Dick Berry

      Unfortunately all pythons should be destroyed in Florida…they are a invasive species that is destroying the ecosystem of Florida due to the exotic pet trade which is another issue.The lion is continuing to killed off by man for many reasons…if it continues all lions in Africa will be gone in 10-15 years.

      • Hera Mitropoulou

        Pythons are imported to Florida and are dangerous. Sometimes they kill the precious pumas (cougars).They should be eliminated.

        • Nick

          “Precious Pumas.” You mean the pumas that attack livestock and attack pets? >.>

          • Jorge W. Moreno-Bernal

            The pumas that are a native species to the americas as the lions are to Africa.

          • Mark Arnold

            keep your pets indoors, as far as livestock, consider it God’s tax

    • Tsz Kan Fung

      I don’t think it is an “intervention of the nature” as well… If the case is “we are helping the lion to get its prey OR the prey to avoid its predator” it is an intervention… However, what we can see there is just a wounded animal (no matter how it get wounded), we pay our mercy and sympathy to cure her, to rescue its fate from death to alive… It is love and the good side of human nature, not intervention…

    • Stuck_in_Ca

      Would they repair the buffalo if the roles were reversed?

  • Ben Bristow

    And after all that effort to help this lioness, i believe from an unconfirmed source that she is back in the same state as when she was found!!!

  • Les

    Would they have nursed back “a badly injured” buffalo if it managed to escape from a lion assault? The debate continues on whether it is proper for us to interfere with Mother Nature in the wild and exactly how we make the decision on where and when and how.

    • Hera Mitropoulou

      Buffalos are thousands but lions are few and endangered and by no means they can be compared to buffalos and gnous as concerns beauty!

      • Tony Featherstone

        Its like the Panda conservation. It depends what cute package you come in. Nobody cares about the thousands of bears farmed in asia for their bile.

      • godwane godwane

        I respect your opinion. But beauty is not a criterion when it comes to interfering with the ecosystem.

        • Hera Mitropoulou

          I agree but I also referred the number existing and the endangered species.

          • Carol @IfByYes

            Also, yes, they probably would have helped a buffalo who was that severely injured, if a lion hadn’t put it out of its pain first. The thing is a buffalo won’t suffer like that for long because a predator will kill it, and then its body will go to feed those predators. Lions don’t have predators. She would suffer and her death would benefit no one.

          • Peter Apps


            Old, sick and crippled lions are “put out of their pain” to use your phrase by spotted hyaenas. To repeat what I said above- the death of a predator benefits the animals that it would otherwise have killed, not to mention the hyaenas, vultures and other scavengers that feed on its body.

          • Hera Mitropoulou

            And there are cases where buffalos cause the same injury to lions and lions die. it’s a pity, since lions have become rare. it’ an endangered species and is found only in restricted places on the earth.

  • Jennifer du Toit

    The david Sheldrick wildlife trust does such awesome work I saw the marsh pride when I was there in september last year well done Daphne and all at the sanctuary this is what makes donating all the more worth it xxxxxx

  • Vanderlei Torroni

    Parabéns para o trabalho do Africa Geographic…

  • Crack3r

    Congratulations to everyone involved!

  • Tash Wen

    Wow! Wow wow wow!!!! Unbelievable! Well done to the team who worked on her! Absolute dedication to the preservation of our wildlife!

  • Mary-Joye Lewis Louw

    That is a nasty wound! She is very fortunate to get the veterinary treatment, I don’t think she would have survived that wound for very long!
    Great job!

  • Bruno

    this is GREAT!!!!!

  • North Wind

    I’am so glad there are still people who are willing to give up their time and money to help those animals .. it’s great and wish to see her in good shape soon .. thanks to all involved ..

  • The lion survived the buffalo – let´s hope she will survive Melissa Bachman the Coward too.

  • Charkra

    Great action taken to help out nature – Whilst reading the comments about intervention of nature, I notice that many think that the action should have been to leave the lioness and see what happens. I cannot understand why those who condemn, believe that humans are NOT part of the nature cycle too, considering how much we already impact and destroy nature, Maybe it is about time we stopped the destroying part and concentrated on the conservation and recovery part. Would it not be great if those who condemn would place their energies in condemning the slaughter of rhinos and other endangered species. Once again, thanks to all those involved in helping , keep up the fantastic work.

    • Peter Apps


      Can you (or any of the other posters who share your views) explain to me how interfering with the consequences of the perfectly natural process of a prey animal defending itself from a predator can be construed as “action to help out nature” ?

      • Sabrina Erin Manger

        Dear Peter Apps,

        If you were left with a decision, completely autocratic, to either help this animal or to leave it be so it will die of infectious wounds or blood loss, would you really?

        I hardly believe that your answer would be a yes because you believe humans have no right to intervene. There must be some rational explanation as to why you would think like this instead of with compassion for both sides of the argument in the first place.

        Think of it like this: If the lioness was killed, and they had killed the boar, this would be considered unethical human intervention. However, this lioness did not die and she was left suffering with young ones to take care of, this is what many, along with myself, would define as an ethical, fair intervention.

        The fact that you repeatedly insist this intervention was “interfering with the consequences of the perfectly natural process of a prey animal defending itself from a predator ” proves that you have not thought profoundly enough to properly advocate for your chosen perspective of this little debate you have going on here. I admit you have thought outside the box, but you have forgotten to see the situation in the place of the veterinarians and rangers whom have decided to help this animal.

        But please, I’d be intrigued for you to revisit this debate when you’ve had time to rethink what you meant to say instead of typing out complete bullshit you thought sounded reasonably intelligent and snappy 🙂

        I await your glorious return!

        Sabrina E.M – HS Student.

        • Peter Apps

          Hi Sabrina

          I do not usually stay in discussions that have descended to a patronizing tone, ad hominen attacks and mild obscenities. Nevertheless you pose some questions that deserve replies.

          I willl deal with them one by one. I have to confess that your meaning is not always clear to me, please forgive me if I have misinterpreted anywhere.

          Q. “If you were left with a decision, completely autocratic, to either help this animal or to leave it be so it will die of infectious wounds or blood loss, would you really?”

          A. I interpret this to be asking whether I would have left this particular lioness, in this particular set of circumstances to die or recover without human intervention. The baseline answer is “Yes”, because if we are trying to conserve natural habitats and the populations that inhabit them, then we have to let natural processes take their natural course. There are all sorts of circumstances that might change my decision to “No”. If the lioness was a particularly valuable part of a small population (for instance an immigrant bringing “new” genes) I would probably intervene. If she was part of a well habituated pride close to a high fee lodge that provided good sightings and attracted more dollars into the local conservation economy, then I might intervene, but if I did the motivation would have more to do with business than with conservation. What has been conspicuously absent from this discussion is any information on whether this lioness was indeed a special case, although her being seen by Governor’s camp guides certainly suggests that she might be a crowd pleaser.

          Your comment. “I hardly believe that your answer would be a yes because you believe humans have no right to intervene.”

          Reply. Certainly humans have a right to intervene. But that is not the same as it being right for them to intervene.

          Your comment. “There must be some rational explanation as to why you would think like this instead of with compassion for both sides of the argument in the first place.”

          Peply. The “rational explanation” is that I have considerable experience in animal behaviour, ecology and conservation. You mistake my desire not to interfere in natural processes with a lack of compassion for the suffering of animals. If the lioness had sustained similar injuries as a result of human activity (from a snare for example) I would have intervened.

          Your comment. “If the lioness was killed, and they had killed the boar, this would be considered unethical human intervention. However, this lioness did not die and she was left suffering with young ones to take care of, this is what many, along with myself, would define as an ethical, fair intervention.”

          Reply. Perhaps if you had read carefully you would have noticed that the lioness was injured by a buffalo, not a boar. Why would anyone kill a prey animal that had successfully defended itself from a predator ? Suppose that the circumstances were reversed: the guides had found a buffalo badly injured in a lion attack, would you advocate that they intervene to save the buffalo’s life ? If your position on intervention is logically consistent then your answer has to be “Yes”. As an example of the spreading ripples of unintended consequences that result from such interference, suppose then the the buffalo survives, which deprives a lion pride of a carcase to scavenge, so more of their cubs die from starvation, and instead of scavenging a dead buffalo the adult lions kill two zebra mares, both of which have young foals which are subsequently killed by spotted hyaenas. How much animal suffering has treating the hypothetical injured buffalo actually prevented ?

          Your comment. “The fact that you repeatedly insist this intervention was “interfering with the consequences of the perfectly natural process of a prey animal defending itself from a predator “. ”

          Answer. That the intervention was interfering with a natural process is a simple fact, it does not need to be insisted on. The interesting and important question is whether the intervention was justified, and if it was, on what basis.

          Your comment. “… proves that you have not thought profoundly enough to properly advocate for your chosen perspective of this little debate you have going on here.”

          Reply. I am not sure that I follow the logic – you appear to be suggesting that disagreeing with your point of view results from shallow thinking. Maybe so, but your assertion does not advance the debate. And although a few dozen posts on an internet forum are unlikely to have much impact, the larger debate over what interventions are appropriate feeds directly into the global problem of how we are manage dwindling areas of natural habitat and the populations of plants and animals that live there.

          Your comment. “I admit you have thought outside the box, ..”

          Reply. Actually not, my view that hands off management is appropriate unless and until special circumstances dictate otherwise is boringly conventional among professional conservationists. So natural fires are now left to burn themselves out, fewer artificial water points are being used, and animal population numbers and their impacts on habitats are being left to fluctuate.

          Your comment. “…. but you have forgotten to see the situation in the place of the veterinarians and rangers whom have decided to help this animal.”

          Reply. The vets and rangers did good work here (although there has been a suggestion that the intervention was unsuccessful), what I have been trying to find out (so far unsuccessfully) is what the conservation rationale was behind interfering with a natural predator – prey interaction. I fully understand the rationale in terms of individual animal welfare, and in terms of preserving the life of an economically important individual animal.

          Your comment. “But please, I’d be intrigued for you to revisit this debate when you’ve had time to rethink what you meant to say instead of typing out complete bullshit you thought sounded reasonably intelligent and snappy :)”

          Reply. I think that I have been clear enough, but let me summarize. I favour hands off, non interventionist conservation management because it allows ecological processes to continue. In some circumstances intervention is necessary, but I have read no convincing arguments that this particular intervention contributed to conservation. Let us at least debate like grown ups.

          Your comment. “I await your glorious return!”

          Reply. Your wish has been granted.

          • Carol @IfByYes

            I don’t see the point of allowing suffering where it benefits no one. It is one thing to intervene, say, in the killing of a bison because while the bison may suffer, the lions need to kill to survive. But watching this lion suffer and die would not have done anything to help the ecosystem, besides possibly feeding some buzzards which could just as easily feast on the kills of this lion if she survives.

            We don’t want to mess up the cycle of life. But this injury was pointless, and we have the capacity to help. I’m glad they did. If it were me with that injury, and someone said “we don’t want to help you because our species wasn’t the one that hurt you” I’d get a little upset.

          • Peter Apps


            Five points:

            The death of a lioness benefits the prey animals that she would have gone onto kill had she lived.

            An African buffalo is a completely different species and lives on a different continent to the bisons.

            The main scavenging birds in Africa, where this occurred, are vultures, not buzzards.

            The injury to the lioness was not pointless to the buffalo that inflicted it.

            It was notyou with that injury. It was an animal with no capacity at all for the kind of thought process that you want to put into its head.

          • Hera Mitropoulou

            Predators like lions are useful, and there is no need to prove it here. Apart of that, lions are emblematic animals and very beautiful, charming and proud. They should be protected in any way.

          • Peter Apps


            You are clearly a fan of lions. You do know that males kill lion cubs (which are cute and cuddly and furry) and that both male and female lions kill cheetah cubs (which are even cuter and cuddlier and furrier than lion cubs) and African wild dogs which really are endangered.

          • Hera Mitropoulou

            I do know all these, and I am not happy for that. I also love the feline species exceptionally, and then all the animals- after the cats. Yet, no human can interfere in cases that happen in his/her absence..But in this case when the help was feasible, it was well done.

          • Hera Mitropoulou

            The preservationists could do something in this case. Which is to create protected areas for cheetahs and lions separately, for lionesses with cubs until they grow up ,to intervene when they see lions in danger etc. In fact they should carry pistols with anaesthetic for furioys male lions ready to kill cubs or even guns for killing a buffalo whan it is ready to kill a lion. Cattle are numerous, they are not endangered. I don’t like to see documentaries when buffaloes tear up lions with their horns and the film takers do nothing or cannot do nothing but see….I am always on the side of the cats.

          • Peter Apps

            Good grief ! Do you want to turn the whole of Africa into a petting zoo ?

          • Hera Mitropoulou

            It doesn’t get a petting zoo by helping some lions. Buffaloew and gnou and the similar are millions but lions are about 12 000 as I have heard. And they are so precious. Some people have farms with lions where visitors go for safari (killing them with guns!) whie something similar does not happen with other animals. Croxodiles, rhinos, hippos and snakes are too dangerous to be left multiplying uncontrollably. I don’t understand why some people help to preserve deadly poisonouus snakes. Of course one ould say that they keep the number of rodents under control, but they have to be under control themselves. Tigers are also in great danger, and unfortunately some people keep killing them illegally for trading. This is murder.

          • Hera Mitropoulou

            I agree!

      • Charkra

        Peter, In response to your argument/discussion. As a conservationist your answers seem to be inconsistent at best. Depending on the circumstances , will depend on your answer. On one hand you say you would leave the lioness to die (it may have or maybe not, certainly the percentage of survival was lowered ) but depending on financial support (tourism) – you would have interceded. I am sorry, but that is a very dangerous ground you stand on. Basically you are saying that if funds were given, it would be worth it, but isn’t that justifying the process to intervene. Your arguments you have proposed – defense of the buffalo, all fly out the window, and your integrity was lost at that point. In the world there are many areas set out for conservation, to “attempt” to preserve the environment before man stepped in. This process of creating conservation areas is too, a human intervention, which without would have certainly contributed to the demise of other nature elements. I am not sure of your agenda in this discussion thread, maybe keeping the article alive could benefit peoples awareness to nature, rehabilitation, conservation, (insert other agenda here) . I can understand your stance where compassion for one animal has an unequal level against another (lion verses buffalo), and as a conservationist it is a teaching experience to educate others on why you have one opinion where others may have another. As this story was primary centered around the good intentions and compassion about a lioness, you could certainly appreciate the sentiment of many readers.

        • Peter Apps

          Hello Charkra

          You seem to be more than a little confused about what it is that I am advocating. Let me summarize. It is the usual practise in conservation not to interfere in natural processes – I agree with that. It is also the usual practise to interfere (or intervene if you prefer) under certain circumstances. I also agree with that. I have been trying to establish whether the circumstances of this particular intervention justified it in terms of conservation of either lions as a species (almost certainly it does not) or the population of lions in the Mara (which it might well do).

          It is a harsh truth that without tourist dollars, the conservation areas of Africa would be over run with cattle and crop farms. It is simple pragmatism to intervene to protect high earning animals like habituated lions. If you feel that my recognition of these realities compromises my integrity, then so be it.

          In another post in the thread I have already stated explicitely that I cannot value one animal’s welfare above another’s, so I am at a loss to understand where you get the idea that I am defending the buffalo, or that I cast the argument in terms of lion vs buffalo.

          Creating conservation areas is exactly the type of large-scale, habitat, population and ecosystem level intervention that ensures that natural processes continue and that populations remain large enough to be viable in the long term. It is as far removed from treating an individual animal as it is possible to get, and yet you appear to be suggesting that because it is appropriate to set up conservation areas it is also appropriate to intervene at the individual level.

          I do not have an “agenda”. I have been trying to find out what the conservation rationale was behind this intervention. Nobody on this thread has been able to tell me, so I did some research which confirmed that the Mara lion population is in steep decline, that Siena is in any case near the end of her life and her current cubs are likely to be her last, and that she is a high value animal that provides good sightings for high paying tourists. All of these are valid reasons for stitching her up.

          And you have been so busy criticising me that you forgot to answer my question from three days ago: “Can you (or any of the other posters who share your views) explain to me how interfering with the consequences of the perfectly natural process of a prey animal defending itself from a predator can be construed as “action to help out nature” ?”

          • Charkra

            As written English allows for a great level of understanding or misunderstanding, the clarification of “nature” in the context appears to be what you have an issue with. When I initially stated “Great action taken to help out nature” I was referring to a lioness that was in pain due to an injury (however it happened) and seeing the response that man had taken to stitch her up. I was not commenting on the natural selection process or predator verses prey conservation, just purely to show appreciation for the efforts that were made in a world where humans always appear to take priority over animals. In my comment stating “I cannot understand why those who condemn….” I was addressing the remarks that were stated ,in what appeared to be a goading manner to provoke a downward spiraling argument. As Africa is in my heart and conservation is very important to me and to my home country I wished to generate a constructive discussion as opposed to a tit for tat usual type of internet discussion to nowhere. I have seen from subsequent posts and replies that the conversation in the most part has been far more constructive.

            I would also like to clarify, I did not say it was OK to setup conservation areas and therefore was OK to intervene on an individual level, I was highlighting the fact that humans do interfere with nature, and in some cases it appears to be acceptable, and in others it is not. There is no one measure on where the line is drawn (unless you are God), maybe you can clearly draw this line, and as I mentioned this would be an ideal “teaching/learning” moment for you and those reading these threads. Your position that you have claimed to be would entitle you to be constructive in your discussions and help people understand your stance.(on subsequent posts I have seen you state your position, although by the initial posts, I would not have know that) I am not busy criticizing you in any demeaning manner, but stating the facts that have taken place in this thread, highlighting an indecisive answer that conflicts with your conservation stance I would consider constructive as opposed to a whim of dis-respective conversation.

            I have always found it better to get an answer directly from the “horses mouth” when inquiring specifics that you were asking about the ecological/nature reason for the initial action.

            I sincerely wish you the best in your conservation activities (the world certainly needs more), and the more we can educate people and help them understand the actions that are taken (or not) , the better understanding and support can be given.

          • Peter Apps

            “… the more we can educate people and help them understand the actions that are taken (or not) , the better understanding and support can be given.”

            I agree completely

        • Jade

          Well said Charkra! I agree with you 100% – Peter, after reading all your posts, you well and truly have spoken yourself in a hole – I am afriaid that the term “conservationist” is also one of those words thrown about too often. I photographed this same Lioness a couple of months ago with her three very small cubs still suckling – to my mind, I am more than happy they still have a mother. I am really not interested in all this feigned intellectualising you are so bent on offering everyone.

  • Mkenya

    Inasmuch as I appreciate the work done by the veterinary staff, I think that it’s unethical to help only one animal injured in a confrontation with another in a perfectly natural environment. No doubt that the lion is more endangered than the buffalo given their variation in the survival rate of the cabs and calf, but once in a while nature comes into play that the prey kills the predator. It is perfectly normal, nothing abnormal here. Thus, intervening in a case that involved two animals in their natural setting to me is unethical. The buffalo might have also had some calves and somebody need to check up and see if she was injured and do the nursing as well. Otherwise the whole process looses meaning and turns into some kind of animal discrimination.

    • godwane godwane


  • Eric Ankrah

    well done team rescue….Conservation and protection of wildlife and the environment should be our topmost priority

  • Char

    Amazing! With so many lions being shot for fun it warms my heart to know there are people out there to save them too. Shame on people condemning this!!!!!

  • Hera Mitropoulou

    I agree with the previous comment. When an animal is in danger it should be saved. Especially for lions, tigers, peopards and other cats since they are so beautiful and andangered as species.

  • ThePyratez Kydd

    Such a nice gesture to all who participated in the operation; we need to take care of our wildlife, especially now that the number of Lions is way less; criticism will always exist but we have to do what we have to do to preserve our heritage – Buffalo population is way to high as compared to the argument of letting nature take care of its own course.

  • Véro

    Congratulation to all team ! Good job ! It’s fantastic

  • Kiru Rangaiah

    Hats Off!! Thanks for saving that beautiful girl…

  • Tony Featherstone

    lets hope this vet sticks round to sew back together all of the animals that manage to escape the jaws of the lion !

  • Simon

    Epic. Story’s like this give me hope for the human race.

  • VanDutch

    Well done for helping this Lioness!! Keep up the good work of saving all animals. I think what all the people against helping the animals are saying is if in the human world they were to have an accident brutally injuring them and leaving them unable to help themselves and they had there helpless baby/babies with them, we should not stop to help. Lets rather leave nature to take its course. Should they survive the accident good for them, if not oh well nature took its course.

    • Peter Apps


      I am deeply puzzled by the logic of “Keep up the good work of saving all the animals”. How does interfering by (possibly) saving the life of this lioness and her cubs help the animals that they will go on to kill ? In an ecosystem where some animals live by killing others it is impossible to save all of them.

  • Gerhardus Malherbe

    I applaud all the people who have worked together to save this lioness and subsequently the lives of three cubs.

  • Gerhardus Malherbe

    I applaud all the people who have saved this lioness and subsequently also her three cubs. Keep up the good work to save the animals on our planet from extinction.

  • vishwesh

    very good job done, congratulations to all the staff and the Dr.Njoroge.

  • Steve Fodor

    I just read this article and saw all pictures and the only 2 things in my mind are : 1/ I hope Siena will get better and her cups will survive with her , 2/ heartful thanks and congratulations to all people involved to make this miracle happen !!! there is still hope for humans on earth 🙂

  • theRealist

    Did they patch up the buffalo aswell?

  • Fred Daka Kamwada Kamwada

    job well done

  • warrior

    And then they say Africans have low IQs and can’t do anything.

  • Is it nature

    After all the reserves are just another form of a zoo after mankind claimed most of the natural habitat.

  • Sabrina Erin Manger

    Repost so that all may see:

    Dear Peter Apps,

    If you were left with a decision, completely autocratic, to either help this animal or to leave it be so it will die of infectious wounds or blood loss, would you really?

    I hardly believe that your answer would be a yes because you believe humans have no right to intervene. There must be some rational explanation as to why you would think like this instead of with compassion for both sides of the argument in the first place.

    Think of it like this: If the lioness was killed, and they had killed the boar, this would be considered unethical human intervention. However, this lioness did not die and she was left suffering with young ones to take care of, this is what many, along with myself, would define as an ethical, fair intervention.

    The fact that you repeatedly insist this intervention was “interfering with the consequences of the perfectly natural process of a prey animal defending itself from a predator ” proves that you have not thought profoundly enough to properly advocate for your chosen perspective of this little debate you have going on here. I admit you have thought outside the box, but you have forgotten to see the situation in the place of the veterinarians and rangers whom have decided to help this animal.

    But please, I’d be intrigued for you to revisit this debate when you’ve had time to rethink what you meant to say instead of typing out complete bullshit you thought sounded reasonably intelligent and snappy 🙂

    I await your glorious return!

    Sabrina E.M – HS Student.

    • Peter Apps

      Hi Sabrina

      You reposted while I was replying. I am sure that people will be glad to have your thoughts in a more prominent place, but rather than fill the page with duplicated text I am going to ask people to scroll down to my reply.

  • Brad Wood

    reminds me of morrowind…help it with medicine, kill it to end its suffering, or walk away…the choice is yours!

  • Cls37x0

    Bless her and her cubs… #prosper #multiply

  • StarFuryG7

    People did the right thing here, for a change. It’s good to see. There was no reason not to help this animal survive such a horrific injury.

  • Michael Varian Daly

    F*** humans! Save the lions.

  • Meg

    How about we all just be happy that someone was compassionate enough to help this lioness out instead of arguing that the “circle of life” has been ruined and the that the lioness deserved to be hurt by the buffalo? A story like this is very heartwarming and it should stay that way instead of being turned into a big debate.

  • Hera Mitropoulou

    Poor lion, I’m so glad it was saved.

  • Charkra

    For an update to this story – http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/updates/updates.asp?Rhino=&ID=646 for those who may be interested.

    • Peter Apps

      Interesting, thank you.

  • Holly

    She is unlikely to survive a wound like this anyway but it was an admirable attempt.

  • Fxmx

    So when a dolphin saves a human from drowning is that still “intervention of nature”? We are both animal kingdom species.

  • D X

    This is lame and violates all ethical procedures I’ve seen so far. Leave nature alone. If you were sorry for the lion, why not be happy for the bufallos that will be killed by this lion? You’re just messing around with Mother Nature for your own amusement. You idiots should be forbidden to get in this “natural” reserve.

  • .rdk

    Special to see this, saw Siena myself in November 2013. She was in an ambush for a zebra: http://youtu.be/PQuZkMjQn6c

  • evey

    i see nothing unnatural or against “nature taking its course” when a bunch of homo sapiens, a communal and altruistic species of animal, decided to help a member of the panthera leo.

    its in our nature. its normal. accept you are a member of a species that is generally inclined to want to help.

    • Peter Apps

      Ok, so do you see anything “unnatural or against “nature taking its course” when a bunch of homo sapiens,” a greedy and rapacious species that is rapidly increasing in numbers, takes over huge tracts of wildlife habitats to grow luxury crops, or shoots hundreds of elephants to sell their ivory to the far east ?

      And if one action is natural, and the other not, on what basis do you classify them ?

      • evey

        i’m sorry, i didn’t realize we weren’t talking about sewing up a lioness’ wound and that by virtue of having done really crappy things, we aren’t allowed to do non-crappy things.

        don’t make this into something it isn’t. doing good and doing bad are not mutually exclusive.

  • secretdraft

    Wonderful work by wonderful people. Best to all of you, including Siena and her cubs!

  • geraldo ferreira da

    parabéns a toda equipe

  • Jm Mac

    Follow up?!

    How is she now?

    More treatment needed?

  • Muhammad Faisal Khan

    Well done and many thanks to the Rangers team and those who are looking after these animal since a long time. You people are Man of the world

  • lioness

    This is honestly so heart warming (and a little gross to look at ) I’m agreeing with alot of people we humans have screwed everyone over (including ourselves) by so greedily consuming recourses, including killing animals for stupid reasons like fur coats. It seems only right to try to help restore the populations in any way we can. This includes all animals. If we weren’t here there would be millions happily roaming the savanna/ other habitats, not punctuated by human occupation, and of course, our guns.

  • Paulbee

    On a whim we destroy, on another whim we save. I am at peace with saving this lioness. Good Job to the guys who did this.

  • serenity southars

    That is sad that that happened but good that they are fixing it, Sincerely someone♥ get well soon little lioness☺

  • serenity southars

    My name is actually serenity southard

  • I can think

    How horribly wrong of you. Your gonna call me an idiot for running up to the black death and slapping it in the nose. Lion gets on the wrong side of nature and you save its life. You are so horribly naïve. Its nature and natural selection. Stay out of it.

  • JuaKali

    Thank you to the David and Daphne Sheldrick Wildlife trust for saving Sienna. Thank You!

  • Von

    Honest question: what would happen if no one cared to take care of this lioness?

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