Euthanasia and the Man Eating Lions of Tsavo
The lesson for this event is probably: You sow what you reap, the local population practised euthanasia by feeding their week and old to the lions. The lions developed a taste for human flesh. May people died because of this, in God's great mercy he provided someone to shoot them!!
The extraordinary true story of the two man eating lions of Tsavo was dramatized in 1996 by the Paramount Pictures film THE GHOST AND THE DARKNESS. In the advertisements for the movie, the claim was made, "Only the most incredible parts of the story are true." A careful comparison of the 1996 film with the original 1907 book upon which the film is based makes that clear.
It is a fact that two powerful 200 kg lions (one with a blonde mane, the other with a black mane) terrorized the railway construction works at Tsavo in Kenya throughout 1898. They indeed were the lions who stopped a railway, bringing all construction work to a standstill for over four months. They defied all attempts to trap and kill them. They attacked by night and day. They came into people's tents and even railway carriages and carried off their victims leaping over 8 foot bomas (fences made of thorn bush.) The lions outwitted some of the finest hunters and marksmen the British could field in Kenya.
On lion did indeed walk straight into the elaborately set up railway box car trap. The door came down behind him and the 3 riflemen positioned as bait safely behind bars on the other end of the box car opened fire. Yet, the lion evaded the 12 rounds fired at point blank range and smashed through the door, escaping unharmed! And, Patterson's first clear shot of one of the lions did misfire. He anathematized the day that he accepted a borrowed rifle and took an unproved weapon into the field.
These and many other aspects of the incredible story are true and are documented in Lt. Col. John Patterson's book, THE MAN EATERS OF TSAVO, published in 1907.
However, much of the Paramount movie is pure Hollywood invention. There were only two man eating lions, and it took four months of stalking them before Patterson even saw one. The first "lucky shot" on the first night of the first man eating lion ( never happened.
There was actually no American game hunter involved at all. The Remington character, played by Michael Douglas, was fictitious. No doubt Hollywood scriptWRITER believe they must insert an American character as central to any plot, even such an obvious misfit as the anachronistic Remington who might fit in the 1990s in Los Angeles but certainly not the 1890s in Africa. The British engineer Patterson actually shot both of the man eaters.
The headman Samuel who plays such a key part in the film is another Hollywood invention. The only headman in the book needed to be fired for theft and dishonesty.
More seriously the reason for the unprecedented killing sprees of these lions is ignored in the movie. The horrible fact is that the local tribes had the practice of laying out their elderly, sick and infirm people by the riverside to be eaten by wild animals. The lions apparently developed a taste for human flesh and a contempt for these frail human beings who couldn't run very fast. Euthanasia led to the reign of terror by these man eaters.
For some reason in the movie, John Patterson is depicted as a secular humanist who claims that he is "beyond conversion." In fact, Col. Patterson was a Bible believing Christian who was a faithful member of the Church of England. In the First World War, Patterson founded the first Jewish Regiment since the Maccabees. He led the Zion Regiment in battle against the Turks at Gallipoli and in Palestine. For the rest of his life, from 1915 to 1947, Patterson dedicated his life to seeing their homeland Israel restored to the Jewish People.
Why do so many scriptWRITER in Hollywood find the need to distort history and delete any positive references to Christianity? Instead of accepting Patterson's Christian faith and the role that it played in his courageous lone struggle to protect his workers, THE GHOST AND THE DARKNESS invents another weaker character who is made out to be a "Bible-thumper," and who is killed by a lion. That too is fiction. In fact, no Christian was killed by these lions.fear-of-god