A Nigerian zookeeper who lost his life saving his colleague from a lion has been described as a brave man.

Olabode Olawuyi, who was in charge of the zoo at Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife in Osun state, was attacked on Monday.

Abiodun Olanrewaju, the university’s public relations officer, told the BBC that the incident happened while the zookeeper’s female colleague was feeding the nine-year-old lion.

Mr Olanrewaju said one of the entrance doors to the lion’s den was not properly locked which enabled the animal to find its way out of its enclosure and attack the female zookeeper, whom he did not name.

Mr Olawuyi immediately stepped into the lion’s den to rescue the woman when he was also attacked.

Other members of staff who were at the scene of the incident did everything in their power to rescue him but the lion had already injured him severely, leading to his death.

Mr Olanrewaju described Mr Olawuyi as a brave man for his efforts to rescue the female zookeeper.

She is in hospital. It is unclear how bad her injuries are.

“The incident is heartbreaking for all the staff and students of the university,” an emotional Mr Olanrewaju said.

The university has now sealed off the zoological garden.

Mr Olabode was a veterinary technologist and had been in charge of the zoological garden for over a decade. He was also the keeper of the nine-year-old lion.

Following the incident, the lion was shot dead.

Mr Olanrewaju said that Mr Olawuyi’s family has not yet set a date for his burial.


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