In some countries, girls and women are forced to live in fear that they will be kidnapped and forced into marriage with a stranger.
This is exactly what was happening in Ethiopia in the fall of 2015, when a group of seven men kidnapped a girl in order to force her to marry one of them.
But what the kidnappers didn’t know was that three lions had witnessed the incident — and they were about to come to the girl’s rescue.
The girl had been missing for a week when the police eventually managed to locate her. When they arrived on the scene, the police couldn’t believe their eyes — the 12-year-old girl was surrounded by three lions. But the lions weren’t about to tear her apart. Instead, they were protecting her.
It turned out that the lions had scared off the men who had abducted the girl and had stayed with her for half a day.
“They stood guard until we found her and then they just left her like a gift and went back into the forest,” police sergeant Wondimu Wedajo told NBC News.
The lions’ rescue effort likely saved the girl’s life, as it isn’t uncommon for girls in Ethiopia to be raped and severely beaten until they accept marriage.
The incredible event astonished the whole world, as lions would normally have attacked and eaten the girl. So what sparked the majestic creatures to protect her? Wild animal expert Stuart Williams has a theory.
“A young girl whimpering could be mistaken for the mewing sound from a lion cub, which in turn could explain why they didn’t eat her,” Williams told NBC News.
The girl received treatment for her injuries but recovery from the shock and terror of the kidnapping and beating would take much longer. Four of the kidnappers were arrested by the police, but it’s uncertain whether the other men were ever caught.
Animals are truly incredible creatures — and we humans have a lot to learn from them. Share if you agree!
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