The year is 1990. The place is Masai Mara in
Kenya. A pride of lions attacks a herd of Masai cows and kills one.
The Lions have broken a silent agreement between
themselves and the Masai not harm the Masai cattle.
Retribution will be swift and it will be brutal.
Within minutes of the news breaking that a cow has been killed, 20
warriors are moving swiftly to the scene of the attack.
The Lions are found lying in a thicket. The
warriors, each 6 foot tall and magnificent athletes are armed with
long spears, short swords and marungu, surround the thicket. Now
the brothers in arms move in, ready for the kill.
A male lion charges a warrior called Nkotoi. It
jumps on him ripping his throat out. Spears fly through the air
striking the lion. The lion drops Nkotoi and runs. Nkotoi dies
shortly after this from loss of blood.
The warriors pursue the male lion into the next
thicket and find it crouched in the dense bush. Wounded and
aggressive, the warriors know the lion will be at its most
dangerous. Pride and courage are at stake. The Masai know that
another warrior may die, yet still they move in. The male lion
charges and grabs Nanga by the arm. As Nanga goes down, the lion
snaps two of his fingers like match sticks.
More spears fly. The lion runs for a third
thicket. One warrior stays with Nanga, the rest follow the lion. The
male lion is weakening, at least 3 spears have hit him, but he is
not done yet. He charges Sopiya. As he comes in, Sopiya hits him
with a rungu (a rungu is a piece of wood carved with a round knob on
the top). The force of Sopiya's rungu breaks the lionís upper
canine. The male lion jumps onto Sopiya biting across his shoulders
and collar bone. (We later worked out that if Sopiya had not broken
the canine it would have gone into his heart and killed him).
Cordylla runs in, forcing the jaws of the male lion open and pulling
Sopiya to safety. (Cordylla would later receive the highest award
Now 4, 5 and 6 spears rain into the lion and it
dies quickly. The hunt and the life of the lion are over. These are
real hunters. Fearless, brave they are killing the lion not for
trophies, but because it has killed a cow.
One of the Masai is dead, two are badly wounded.
It has been a fair chase with lion having every chance to escape
(The rest of the pride did escape). It has been a contest between
tooth and claw & spears. The highest form of bravery has been
displayed on both sides. Blood has been spilled on both sides.
Compare this to the American who pays a
professional hunter to drag and bait along the boundary of a
national park and then shoots it from the safety of a jeep from 25
metres using a powerful spotlight and compound bow.
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