Tragedy at OAU zoo as lion kills veterinary nurse who cared for it for 9 years

Tragedy struck on Monday afternoon at the zoological garden of Nigeria's Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) as Olabode Olawuyi, a seasoned veterinary technician, fell victim to a fatal encounter with a nine-year-old lion.

File photo: Lion

According to Abiodun Olarewaju, the spokesperson for the university, Olawuyi, who had been entrusted with the care of the lion for nearly a decade, was attacked and fatally wounded by the animal. Despite the efforts of fellow staff members to rescue him, the injuries inflicted by the lion proved fatal.

"The other members of staff who were at the scene of the incident did everything within their power to rescue their boss but the wild cat had already caused severe fatalities," Olarewaju stated.

In a sombre decision following the incident, the university authorities made the difficult choice to euthanize the aggressive lion responsible for Olawuyi's untimely demise.

Expressing deep condolences, Olarewaju conveyed that Olawuyi had been dedicated to the care of the lions since their birth on campus approximately nine years ago. However, tragically, it was one of these same lions that took his life.


The university management promptly dispatched a delegation to inform Olawuyi's family of the heartbreaking loss. Despite first aid and medical efforts, the university's acting director of the health and medical centre confirmed that Olawuyi could not be saved.

The PUNCH reports the OAU branch chairman of NANTSU, Wole Odewumi, as saying that while details of how the incident happened were not yet available, he confirmed that another staff member working at the garden was also injured during the incident. There were speculations that the deceased had left the cage opened while trying to feed the animal when he got seized by the lion, but Odewumi, who promised to visit the scene of the incident on Tuesday, could not confirm the claim.

However, Odewumi emphasized that the leadership of the association would meet the university’s management to discuss the welfare of the family left behind by the deceased. He added that Olawuyi’s death was a loss to the entire OAU community.

The tragic incident has sparked questions about safety protocols and procedures within the zoological garden, prompting a reassessment of security measures to prevent such tragedies in the future.

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