Ethiopian girl saved by lions

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Girl gets kidnapped, unlikely heroes save her

Animals are magical

With the list of endangered species getting longer and longer, we need to remember the amazing things animals have done for us. Animals can rescue their owners in various ways – from saving people from their kidnappers to even sniffing out cancer. Read on to learn about one of the craziest examples we could find!

A tragic story with an unlikely hero

Lions save girl from kidnappers
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Back in June 2005, a 12 year-old Ethiopian girl was on her way back from school, just like any other day.

She had a long walk ahead of her, and she was getting very tired. There was no way for her to know the danger that awaited her on what would normally have been a completely average walk home from school.

Walks to school

African child walks to school
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In Africa, it is quite common for children to walk to and from school. And unlike in other parts of the world, that’s not necessarily because they live closeby.

Many students in rural South Africa have to walk more than 20km each day to get to and from school. This is truly a testament to the spirit of these brave children — they’re willing to work so hard and walk so far just to try to get an education.

Facing all the elements

African children going to school
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On their walks to school, they have to battle all the elements. Rain, sweltering heat, wild beasts, and not to mention often living in active warzones, they brave the walk to school.

They cross rugged mountains and flooded rivers, just to get an education. All of this often barefoot!

The dangers of going to school

African children dangers of going to school
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Schools in the north of Nigeria are becoming prime targets for bandits, with over 1000 students taken every year!

As you may have seen in the news, kidnapping in Africa is a huge problem. These poor children are subjected to some of the worst behavior imaginable on earth — they are truly deserving of our sympathy.

A tragic trip home

Girl kidnapped in Ethiopia
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When this girl was on her way home from school, she thought it was just a normal day. That was until she was thrown into a van and taken away.

As she was walking down the road seven men saw her walking unprotected and decided they wanted to force her into a marriage.

Bride kidnapping

Bride kidnapping Africa
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In Africa, bride kidnapping is pretty common. This is when you kidnap the person you wish to marry, and is also known as marriage by abduction or marriage by capture. It is a vicious practice, that should have no place in the modern world.

Not safe for women

Africa dangerous for women
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Ethiopia’s general situation for women is very dangerous and precarious, with “with one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, limited political and legal resources for women, elevated rates of forced marriage, and female genital mutilation”.

Where does this happen?

Bride kidnapping in Africa
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Bride kidnapping tends to happen in rural areas of Africa, and is a cultural issue in this part of the world. There are a number of organizations doing what they can to combat it, but unfortunately there just isn’t enough money or resources to do what’s necessary.

Captive kept in a remote area

Little girl kidnapped for marriage in Africa
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The girl was held captive for a week in the remote south-west of Ethiopia, where she was repeatedly ruthlessly beaten. These men were monsters, and they treated her as though she wasn’t a person.

The police in Ethiopia

Police force in Ethiopia
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The police force in Ethiopia is still a fairly new organization. In fact, the Ethiopian Federal Police force was created in 1995 to crack down on organized crime.

The National Humans Rights Commission was established in 2000, so these are very new concepts in the country. And even with the police doing what they can, this practice happens all too frequently.

Police hot on their trail

Girl abducted by kidnappers in Ethiopia
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However, the police were able to trace the kidnappers, and the kidnappers realized they needed to change locations. They were desperate to not get caught — they knew that if they were uncovered, the punishments would be appropriately harsh for the horrible act they’d committed.

A race against time

Girl kidnapped and saved by lions
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But when the kidnappers were trying to move locations, something strange happened. They abandoned the girl! Police and relatives suddenly found her safe on the outskirts of Bita Genet, she had been beaten, but the kidnappers were nowhere to be found.

Where were they? And why would they have disappeared so suddenly without the girl after traveling so far? It was a huge mystery until the police were able to interview the little girl.

Crying from her beatings

Girl kidnapped for marriage and saved by lions
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The little girl was in pain from her horrible beatings and abuse, and was crying while laying on the ground.

She had no idea that these cries would be the thing that saved her life, and that God’s light was surely shining down upon her that day.

Lions’ reputation

Lions save girl from abductors
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Lions are known to be some of the world’s deadliest mammals. In Tanzania for example, lions kill approximately 100 people per year.

However, research shows that lions can be friendly if they are treated correctly. You should be aware but not afraid of these majestic creatures.

Terrified kidnappers

Lions scare off kidnappers in Ethiopia
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The lions saw and heard the little girl suffering in the hands of her kidnappers, so they decided to approach the girl as she lay on the ground.

The kidnappers, already worried about being caught, were terrified they were going to get eaten.

Was she about to be eaten?

Little girl was saved by lions in Ethiopia
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When the little girl saw the lions, she thought that it was the end. She was terrified by the lions that were beginning to surround her.

Little did she know, they wouldn’t end up hurting her at all! She needn’t be afraid…in fact they were going to end up saving her life!

Are humans considered as prey?

Are humans lions' prey?
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Though a standing human being isn’t considered as prey by a lion, the little girl was laying on the ground, suffering from her beatings.

If you squat down, bend or lay down, the lions can consider you as prey, as you look like a four-legged animal.

The lions didn’t hurt her

Lions save a girl's life
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Surprisingly, the lions didn’t hurt the little girl, they really wanted to keep her safe. In fact, they guarded her for half a day, not even laying a paw on her.

They protected the poor girl, and once the police and her relatives turned up, left her like a gift and went back into the forest.

High crime rates

Crime rates in South Africa
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South Africa has a high rate of crime in particular, and faces many crimes such as carjacking, house robbery and murder. Although the risk of these crimes happening to tourists is relatively low as the Tourism Police prioritizes protecting tourists.

It also takes place in Central Asia. In rural Kyrgyzstan, which represents 60% of the population, surveys suggest that 1 in 3 marriages begin with a kidnapping.

What if the lions hadn’t turned up?

Lions save a girl's life in Ethiopia
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Sgt. Wondimu Wedajo told NBC, “If the lions had not come to her rescue, then it could have been much worse”.

In these kinds of situations, the girls are forced into marriage through violence. It was a good job the lions showed up!

The kidnappers were scared off

Kidnappers scared off by lions in South Africa
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These majestic animals took great care in looking after the little girl. But the kidnappers were obviously intimidated when they came face to face with the three lions.

However some lion experts are doubting the credibility of the story, and the lions’ true intentions.

Are lions afraid of humans?

Are lions scared of humans
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Lions can be very scared of humans when they’re standing up, and they can be intimidated by us. A little girl would be a lot less threatening though.

Lions are also scared of other animals such as giraffes and elephants, which are some of the tallest animals out there.

Were they going to eat her?

Lions save girl in Ethiopia
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“They were probably preparing to eat her but were intercepted by the police and the others,” game hunter Colonel Lemma Legesse told the AFP news agency.

Experts are unconvinced

Lions save girl from abductors
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The expert said that lion attacks on humans and farm animals had increased in the region at that time. So people are unsure whether they truly meant to save the little girl.

Did her cries save her?

Little girl saved by lions
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Stuart Williams, a wildlife expert with the rural development ministry, told The Guardian that it was likely that the girl had been saved thanks to her crying.

“A young girl whimpering could be mistaken for the mewing sound from a lion cub, which in turn could explain why [the lions] didn’t eat her,” he said.

Lionesses protect their cubs

Lionnesses protect their cubs
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This could be an explanation for why the little girl was saved by the lions, as lionesses are very protective of their cubs.

They are willing to attack in a case where they feel that their cub is in danger, even attacking one of their own. It is easy to understand how the kidnappers could have been chased off.

Shocked and terrified

Little girl found by police surrounded by lions
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Police found the girl “shocked and terrified”, as you would be after such a shocking incident. She had to be treated for her cuts and beatings, Sgt. Wondimu said.

Four of the men had been found, but the three others hadn’t been caught.

Abductions in Africa

Little girl abducted in Ethiopia
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Child abductions in Africa are increasing in frequency – for example in Nigeria, more than 200 children remain abducted in Nigeria amid what the country has called a “kidnap epidemic”.

Absence of security

Crime rates in Africa
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Crime rates are pretty high across Africa, and are widespread. Both locals and tourists have to be cautious when traveling due to safety concerns.

The consequences of bride kidnapping

Bride kidnapping in Africa
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If the person who is kidnapped falls pregnant, her kidnapper gets full control of her and the baby. Young women and girls are taken from their home on horseback for an easier escape before being abused.

Many human rights groups have tried to help, but the process is long and complicated, and they can’t seem to find a solution for this prominent cultural issue.

A miracle

12 year old saved from abductors by lions
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Tilahun Kassa, a government official, corroborated Sgt. Wondimu’s version of events, and said that the men wanted to marry the young girl.

“Everyone thinks this is some kind of miracle, because normally the lions would attack people,” Wondimu said.

Animals can save lives

Animals saving human lives
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Even wild animals can save lives and surprise us all. You wouldn’t believe all the different stories about them saving humans!

This heartwarming will make you think twice about animals that you may consider intimidating or even scary. Animals can feel concern for us and try to look after us in their own way.