Zoo-goers in Texas were left reeling Sunday after they witnessed a male lion attack and kill a lioness. Officials are shocked by the lion attack at the Dallas Zoo, unable to explain why the male turned on 5-year-old lioness Johari.
The attack took place around 2:15 p.m. Sunday in the zoo's Giants of the Savanna exhibit, which is home to two lions and three lionesses, all of whom were raised in captivity. Seemingly unprovoked, a 5-year-old male bit Johari on the neck. The other male lion joined in on the attack as stunned zoo-goers looked on. Before workers could intervene, the lioness was dead.
“You could see this lion holding the other one down," witness Michael Henshaw told NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth. "There was no blood, but it held her down for about 10 to 15 minutes 'til she was lifeless."
While lions may be aggressive, they don't usually attack others in their pride.
"This is a very rare and unfortunate occurrence. In my 35 years as a veterinarian in zoos, I’ve never seen this happen," Lynn Kramer, the zoo's vice president of animal operations, said in a released statement.
“I would have to think something caused the males to react that they don’t normally see every day,” Kramer further explained to Dallas News.
The male lions were separated from the rest of the pride for the time being. The zoo does not plan to euthanize the lions but has launched an investigation into the circumstances of Johari's death, CBS Dallas-Fort Worth reports.