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Sambu Killed By Lion

March 24, 2004 Sara Spendrup

Sambu, one of the orphan cheetah brothers was killed by a lion a few days ago. It was very sadly ironic that the event occurred on Simon King’s last day on Lewa at the end of what had been a very successful filming series. Toki, the other brother, is fine, but clearly distressed and confused. The day had been a good one, with the boys killing a fawn in the morning, and a further kill in the evening, near the Wilderness Bridge, of a large fawn.

The cheetahs know that area well, and are familiar with the lion activity there. It seems likely that they finished feeding and went up towards the rocks to spend the night. We found tracks of a large male lion near to Sambu's body. He was killed instantly and left unmolested. It looked as though he died where he was attacked, and had not been carried, typical of lion aggression directed towards other predators.

At the moment we feel that Toki should continue to be given the opportunity to live a wild and free existence. His brother's death, though difficult for us to deal with, was entirely natural. Clearly, Toki will need extra support from John and Stephen (the cheetah’s caretakers) for the next weeks, but we are confident they are capable of giving that care.

We feel though that Sambu's death is not a sign of failure of all our efforts. He led a rich and contented life, all be it a short one. We will continue to be in close touch regarding Toki and how he develops.