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Predators Of People

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Bengal Tiger

As humans, we are relatively lucky in the sense that we are not generally seen as prey by other animals. The world however, is not without it's man-eaters which are animals that prey on humans as part of their diet, actually hunting and killing them rather than simply scavenging remains. Although there are a number of different species that have a bad reputation including wolves, sharks and Komodo dragons, it is three of the world's largest cats which appear to be our most feared and ferocious predators.

The biggest and most powerful of the world's felines is the tiger, which is responsible for the deaths of more people than any other large cat. Native to the tidal mangrove forest of the Sundarbans in the Bay of Bengal, a population of around 600 Bengal tigers is known to attack and kill up to 250 people every year, actively entering villages during daylight hours in search of food. Although they are not the only species of tiger to live close to people, they are the only man-eating tiger species remaining.

Male African

Over in Africa, it is the continent's largest feline (and the second biggest cat in the world), the lion, that is the most greatly feared carnivore. African lions have been known to sneak into villages (sometimes of great size) to find food, and are known to attack up to 700 people every year, with lions being responsible for 100 human fatalities annually in Tanzania alone. In 1898, two lions in Kenya (known as Tsavo lions - a species of mane-less lion) became famous for killing and eating over 130 rail-road workers over a period of around 9 months.

Although the reasons for animals becoming man-eaters are often unknown it is generally thought to be due to the carnivore becoming vulnerable in it's natural habitat whether that be from illness, malnutrition or simply old age. Large felines however, such as the Tsavo lions, were found to have been in good health and may have started hunting people as any easier source of food. On the border between South Africa and Mozambique lies the Kruger National Park where refugees were commonly hunted by hungry lions as they tried to cross the border illegally.

African Leopard
Leopards are one of the world's largest cats but unlike tigers and lions, leopards are found inhabiting regions on both the Asian and African continents. Although leopard attacks in Africa are not that common, reports of attacks from Asian leopards detail the cats breaking down doors and weak roofs in order to get in. Leopard attacks tend to happen under the cover of night and there are up to 35 leopard attacks on people every year.

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