The reason why these White Lions killed their owner will surprise you

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First of all, let’s get the question right. West Mathewson was the owner of these two white lions, not their keeper. 
Small but important difference.

He had raised them since they were cubs. Being social animals they no doubt regarded him as ‘Head of the Pride’ and this is where the problems can sometimes happen; that position is always open to challenge.

This was not the first time these two lions had killed someone. A farm worker was clawed to death in 2017.

Mathewson was obviously very attached to his white lions, but he paid the ultimate price for not having a house cat as a pet. 

Any wild cat can be wildly unpredictable and any time you enter their enclosure, particularly if there are multiple cats, you are playing russian roulette. 

Eventually if you keep spinning the barrel, the bullet ends up in the right place to kill you.So why did it happen? That will never be known for sure. 

I would suggest a possible reason was a change in dominance between the two lions. 
The one who moved up the ladder challenged and killed West. 
According to the story, one lioness attacked the other and then went after West.You only get to make a mistake with a wild cat once.

There is another rumor going round that these lions will be released into the wild. Should that happen, it will all end in disaster and they will most likely become man eaters and get shot.

This is yet another example of a wild cat owner being killed by his ‘pet’. When will these people come to the conclusion that they are called ‘wild’ animals for a good reason ???

The last article I read about the South African white lions, who did indeed kill their owner, was that they were alive and have been moved to another lodge in the area. 
Since many other captive lion attacks in South Africa have resulted in death for the lions, it would not surprise me if they kill these two for merely behaving like lions, even though the late owner's family says they have no plans to do so.

It doesn't look like people have learned that messing with wild animals carries an enormous amount of risk, and that most people-like this recent gentleman from South Africa- should stay away from them. I'll get back to his story after I've had a short rant. Forgive me.

I've been writing about the welfare of captive big cats on Quora for three years. Still, I am surprised by the number of questions that ask about keeping lions or tigers as pets, or about “domesticating “ them. I know I'm repeating myself in my answers, and I'm going to do it again here.

Why do we think we can domesticate big cats? Domestication isn't possible with these animals. Besides, tigers can’t ever make good pets, regardless of what the idiots told you on "Tiger King", and regardless of what you see on youtube. And while we are on the topic…

Please stop telling me about Kevin Richardson, please stop sending me links to Dean Schneider. I know all about the lion named “Christian” and I've researched the hell out of Siegfried and Roy. None of what these people do will change my mind and you're not telling me anything new. I welcome debate, but I'm going to be honest, and I am not big on anthromorphism and wishful thinking.

I've raised lions and tigers myself. I still visit tigers at the sanctuary. I've studied big cats' behavior, and I base my reasoning on what I've seen. I've heard of these guys, and I know why they're famous. But there are many other things to consider as well. Most people do not know their whole story.

Kevin Richarson- attacked and almost killed by one of his lions. Roy Horn, tiger, same, almost killed. Christian the lion, although good-tempered, was too dangerous for his owners to keep. I'll keep an eye on Mr. Schneider, my new least favorite. So far he hasnt been very smart.

There are lessons to be learned here. I know because I learned them myself.

I'm no expert, and I don't know everything, but I know big cats are unpredictable, making them dangerous. That's the point I am always trying to make.

If you love animals and want to help them, please stop saying lions and tigers are good pets. What you are doing is spreading your wishful thinking and ignorance, and in turn, you deny these animals their nature, which is key to their survival.

That kind of thinking has led to the deaths of countless captive big cats and their owners, just like this gentleman in South Africa. Let's try to do better than that.

Not one person has successfully made a big cat like a pet; no one is ever safe around one, ever.

Unfortunately, too many people try, and the result is big cats suffering in captivity.

My message is this- please stop projecting your human emotions and hopes onto animals because you're doing more harm than you know. You will not change the nature of a big cat.

In short- Big Cats + Humans = Unsafe. No exceptions.

So back to the man in South Africa, who treated his lions like pets. The articles refer to this man as a conservationist, which is far from the truth.

He did rescue these two lions as cubs, but a conservationist would not then turn around and use them as props for his business, charging visitors a fee to interact with them.

Anyone who could afford it could play with his lions- men, women, children, anyone. His lodge saw over two thousand patrons a year and was an accident waiting to happen.

An accident did happen with these same lions back in 2017. They escaped from their enclosure onto a nearby property, where they attacked a man who was out chopping wood. He later died from his injuries.

There is no information about why the cats escaped, but there was a quote from their late owner where he refers to the incident.

"He shouldn't have run away. They (the lions) thought he was playing."

I really doubt the lions were "playing," but that quote helps me to see why this same man is now dead from a mauling two years later.

His daughter -in- law has spoken out since his death, saying "These lions were like family," and "My father- in- law loved them like his own children, treated them like his own children, walked them every day and they never showed any signs of turning around."

Of course the lions "never showed any signs of turning around". Lions don't "turn around." Lions are true to their nature, which is that of a large, dangerous Apex predator, and their instincts are unwavering. Killing goes along with their nature.

The owner of these lions failed to understand their character, and I truly believe that's what got him killed. He was the one who went wrong here, not the lions. Ignorance can be a dangerous thing.

It sounds to me like denial runs deep in his family. I don't mean to sound harsh, but his death shouldn't have been a surprise. It would not be had they known the reality of mixing with lions.

Here is another statement by the woman, about the lions who killed her father- in -law-

"They didn't hurt him. It was just a tragic accident."

Again, I'm very sorry. But it's not at all an accident.

Lions will do what lions will do. Natural behavior is no accident. We're aware of what happens when we get too close to big cats. We'll be much safer if we stay as far away as possible.

We should not act like its a big shock when someone gets killed for going in the enclosures. I suppose what she said was true in small part- the lions didn't hurt her father-in-law. But they certainly did kill him.



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