Remember all the talk about the “cowardly dentist” who killed a lion outside Hwange Park in Zimbabwe? Well, another lion just killed a professional hunter guiding a group of tourists armed with cameras in the same park. Apparently the guide, Quinn Swales, stepped between the charging lion and his tourists and did his best to stop the charge with his heavy rifle. He failed and the lion got him.
A safari guide has been mauled to death by a lion in the same Zimbabwean national park where Cecil the lion was killed by hunters.
Quinn Swales was taking guests on a photographic walking safari in Hwange national park at dawn on Monday when he was charged by the male, according to the Camp Hwange lodge. The 40-year-old Zimbabwean saved his guests but died of his injuries.
Hwange was home to Cecil the lion before he was killed last month… by American dentist Walter Palmer, triggering a global wave of revulsion and anger.
Camp Hwange announced on its Facebook page: â€œIt is with deep regret and great sadness that we are able to confirm the death of Quinn Swales, a Camp Hwange professional guide, who was fatally mauled by a male lion whilst out on a walking safari this morning.
â€œWe can confirm that Quinn did everything he could to successfully protect his guests and ensure their safety, and that no guests were injured in the incident.â€
The safari industry paid tribute to Swales. Media reports quoted Shelley Cox, of African Bush Camps, as saying: â€œQuinnâ€™s actions in successfully protecting the lives of his guests is heroic and reminiscent of his outstanding guiding skills, experience and training. It is certainly a tragedy and a loss to the guiding fraternity and tourism industry.â€
The Telegraph has a few more detail, messes up a rifle caliber designation, and gives Simba a pet name.
Mr Swales was employed by Camp Hwange, a four-year-old photographic safari company, and was registered with Zimbabwe’s Professional Hunters and Guides Association.
Other guides in the area said Mr Swales would have been carrying a hunting rifle of at least .375 mm [sic, not metric -JDZ] to protect his clients and himself. …
“I understand the animal went for his shoulder and probably hit the jugular. The clients – I think they were from New Zealand – radioed the alarm back from the vehicle which was nearby. As far as I know they were all walking at the time of the attack.”
He said a helicopter was sent immediately after the distress call came in, but nothing could be done. “It picked up his body. This is a highly professional company. Brilliant operation. We will find out more accurate details in the next day or two.”
A source from the wildlife industry told the Telegraph he believed that the lion was a male named Naka.
“This lion had by all accounts been behaving aggressively for some time. It was even attacking safari vehicles,” said another tour operator from Hwange. “As far as we know he bled to death.”
A safari guide who helped to train the victim described him as â€œa very good guyâ€ who started working for Camp Hwange early this year.
“Quinn was obviously going to be a great guide,” he said. “I have seen him in the bush and he was very good.”
A professional hunter who worked in the area said the guideâ€™s gun would also be checked to see if he managed to fire it. “We don’t yet know if he managed to fire a shot at the lion, or whether he was overwhelmed before he could shoot,â€ he said. â€œThis is terrible, and it is quite a rare event.”
Another Hwange National Park safari operator said he would not do game walks because he was â€œterrified of lionsâ€. â€œBut tourists want to walk with wildlife,” he added.
Kingsley-Heath with lioness shot in Ethiopia for killing livestock.
John Kingsley-Heath was educated at Monkton Combe School and Trinity College, Cambridge. He was commissioned into the Welsh Guards at age 18. He was wounded during service in both France and Palestine during WWII. After the war, he joined the Colonial Administration in East Africa. His passionate interest in wildlife and travel led him to hunt extensively in nearly all the countries of the African Continent. He became an Honorary Game Warden and Park Warden in several countries and played a major part in opening Botswana to tourism. He accompanied many famous people on safari and was a director of Ker & Downey Safaris and Safari South. He was closely involved in securing some of the extraordinary photography in the films ‘Hatari’ and ‘Sammy Going South’. He was a licensed professional hunter for 45 years and a bush pilot for 30 with some 5,000 flying hours, and continued to lead safaris at the age of 80. He was Director of Field Operations of the East African Wildlife Heritage Fund and donated to that organization the proceeds of the sale of his rifles at Christie’s on April 24, 1996.
The Telegraph‘s obituary recalls Kingsley-Heath’s hand-to-hand encounter with a lion:
[I]n August 1961, when Kingsley-Heath was leading a private safari along the Kisigo river in Tanganyika[, f]rom inside a blind (a shelter for hunters), he turned to see a huge, maned lion crouching behind him not 15ft away. As it gathered itself to spring, Kingsley-Heath shot it, and the lion fled. He and his gunbearers gave chase and found the wounded creature lying on its side, breathing heavily.
It was down, but not out. When Kingsley-Heath’s client opened fire, the lion made a single bound of 22ft towards the two men. Kingsley-Heath dropped to the ground and smashed the barrel of his .470 rifle over the animal’s head, breaking the stock at the pistol grip; the lion staggered. As his gunbearers and client ran for cover Kingsley-Heath struggled on to his elbows to get clear.
“Too late,” he recalled, “the lion was upon me, I smelt his foul breath as, doubling my legs up to protect my stomach, I hit him in the mouth with my right fist as hard as I could. His mouth must have been partly open as my fist went straight in.”
With a single jerk of its head, the lion broke Kingsley-Heath’s right arm; as he punched it with his left fist, the lion bit clean through his left wrist, breaking the left arm and leaving the hand hanging by its sinews. Next it clamped his foot in its jaws, crushing the bones in it by twisting his ankle.
One of the gunbearers arrived, threw himself on the animal’s back and stabbed it repeatedly with a hunting knife. With Kingsley-Heath’s foot still locked in its mouth, the lion was finally shot dead. The client reappeared, and with his rifle blew the creature’s jaws apart so that Kingsley-Heath’s foot could be removed.
“I was bleeding heavily … shaking uncontrollably, felt cold, and was likely to lose consciousness,” he wrote later. “I knew that if I did so, I might die.” Instead, after an agonising and protracted medical evacuation, followed by surgery and a bout of malaria, he eventually recovered.
Greenbrier County officials are scouring the woods near Cold Knob after receiving multiple reports that a lion — an African lion, not the mountain variety — is on the loose.
“We’re treating this pretty seriously,” said Robert McClung, the county’s senior animal-control officer. “Right now, we’re trying to confirm the initial report. Once we do that, we’ll figure out what we’re going to do about it.”
A local hunter, 72-year-old Jim Shortridge of Frankfort, was bowhunting for deer Oct. 17 when the lion reportedly approached him.
“I watched it for more than 40 minutes,” said Shortridge, who owns the parcel of land he was hunting on. “I watched it from my vehicle and from my hunting blind.”
Shortridge first saw the creature as he carried a cooler and his lunch from a vehicle to the 6-by-8 foot wooden blind.
“When I first saw [the lion], I thought it was a deer,” Shortridge said. “Then it growled at me.”
The cat ran away after Shortridge yelled at it. Convinced that the potential threat had disappeared, the slightly shaken hunter returned to his vehicle and retrieved his bow. Shortly after he began hunting, the creature came back.
“It paced back and forth, in front of the blind, about 10 yards away,” Shortridge recalled. “I sat and watched him. I kept shining my light into his eyes. The more I put the light on him, the louder he growled.”
Shortridge remains convinced that the animal was a male African lion. He estimated its weight at 250 to 350 pounds.
“It had a mane, so I could tell it was a male. And I’m sure it wasn’t a bear. Bears are all over Cold Knob. I see six to eight of them every time I go hunting, and I can tell the difference. Bears don’t shake me up at all. This lion made me pretty nervous,” he said.