Three lions rescued a 12-year-old Ethiopian girl after she was kidnapped by several men trying to force her into a marriage, chasing off her abductors and protecting her until she was rescued by Ethiopian police, several news media outlets reported shortly after.
The men had held the girl for a week in the remote south-west, repeatedly beating her, before the lions chased them away, according to The Guardian.
ABC News reported that “the girl was found being guarded by three lions who apparently had chased off her captors.”
“They stood guard for half a day until police and family found her and then they just left her like a gift,” said Sergeant Wondimu Wendaju inKefa province.
“The girl was ‘shocked and terrified’ and had to be treated for the cuts from her beatings,” Sgt Wondimu said.
“If the lions had not come then it could have been much worse. Often these young girls are raped and severely beaten to force them to accept the marriage,” he said.
Many Ethiopian girls live in constant fear of abduction, rape, and forced marriage. Approximately 70 percent of all marriages in the country occur this way, according to Unicef.
According to the police, four men were arrested in connection with the case, but were still looking for three others.
Stuart Williams, a wildlife expert, said it was likely the girl had been saved “because she was crying.”
“A young girl whimpering could be mistaken for the mewing sound from a lion cub, which in turn could explain why the lions didn’t eat her,” he said.
Whatever the reason, we are happy that they were there to protect this poor girl. If only these wonderful lions could watch out for the other girls who meet this awful fate every day.