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March 7th, 2013
11:12 AM ET

Wildlife expert Jeff Corwin: Lion attack reminds us we shouldn't forget power of animals, talks challenges of researching sharks

Wildlife expert and host of ABC’s “Ocean Mysteries” Jeff Corwin talks with Soeldad on "Starting Point" to discuss the recent lion attack that killed a young woman in California, and the new aerial footage of shark migration in Florida.

At “Cat Haven,” an animal sanctuary in Dunlap California, a intern was mauled to death by a 350 pound African lion named Cous Cous. The victim was 24-year-old Dianna Hanson from Seattle, Washington.

According to her father, Dianna adored the African lion and her internship was her dream job. Dianna entered Cous Cous’ cage when he attacked her, and the four-year-old lion had to be shot and killed by deputies when workers could not lure him away from the victim.

Corwin stressed that lions are powerful animals, and it struck him “as potentially dangerous for someone to be alone with a cat like this.”

Corwin says that lions are “hardwired to be exquisite pinnacle predators, they are at the top of the food pyramid when it comes to the ecosystems where they live.” He warns that even when a lion is raised in captivity their baser predatory instincts are not diminished. This is "why many zoos and institutions under the AZA have very strict rules and regulations when it comes to working with these animals.”

Corwin also discussed the new developments in solving the puzzle of great white sharks. The non-profit organization Ocearch recently tagged a great white shark off the coast of Florida. The 14 foot shark, known as Lydia, now has a GPS device attached to her fin that can track her movements.

Corwin believes that this advancement will help, “unravel the mysteries of these incredible predatory sharks...to find out why they would stray, and to wander into waters that really aren’t typical when it comes to the habitat where these sharks live.”

He concludes that sharks have more to fear then people do, and he gives the staggering statistic that “just this year alone at the wrap up of 2012 we killed more then 100 million sharks. Today 90% of shark species are in trouble because of the industrialized shark fining industry.”


Filed under: Great white sharks • Lion attack • Wildlife