This past Sunday, at about 2:25 p.m. local time, a male lion at Dallas Zoo in Texas attacked and killed a lioness he shared an enclosure with.
People who were at that time visiting the zoo witnessed the entire incident, and say that it all went down in the blink of an eye.
Apparently, the 5-year-old male simply pounced at one of the females, i.e. 5-year-old Johari, and sunk his teeth into her neck. One other lion joined him, and in about 10-15 minutes the lioness was dead.
As far as visitors to the zoo and keepers can tell, Johari did not in any way provoke the two males. Hence, they have no idea why it was that they turned against her.
“You could see this lion holding the other one down. There was no blood, but it held her down for about 10 to 15 minutes 'til she was lifeless,” witness Michael Henshaw told the press, as cited by Huffington Post.
“This is a very rare and unfortunate occurrence. In my 35 years as a veterinarian in zoos, I've never seen this happen,” added Lynn Kramer, the zoo's vice president of animal operations.
Wildlife researchers say that, although it sometimes happens that lions attack females in the wild, it seldom happens that they hurt lionesses that are part of their own pride.
The three lions that were involved in this incident at the Dallas Zoo had all been born and raised in captivity. Following the attack, the two males were separated from the remaining two females.
An investigation is ongoing, and keepers hope to figure out what caused the lions to behave this aggressively towards the female.