HARARE, ZIMBABWE - A lion charged and killed a safari guide who was leading a group of tourists in the same national park in Zimbabwe that was the home of Cecil the lion, who was killed by an American bowhunter in July.
Quinn Swales was leading six people on a photographic walking safari Monday in Hwange National Park when he spotted fresh lion spoor and decided to track a pride consisting of two females, two cubs and two males, according to the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.
"One of the lions had cubs, and they became hostile," police spokeswoman Charity Charamba told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "Mr. Swales at first managed to scare the lions away, but then the male lion later made a U-turn and attacked him.'' None of the tourists was harmed, she said.
Camp Hwange, the safari company that employed Swales, said the 40-year-old guide succumbed to the injuries on the same day he was attacked.
The attacking lion, named Nxaha, had a collar that allowed researchers to track his movements, the parks authority said.
The killing of Cecil in July by dentist Walter James Palmer just outside the Hwange park sparked outrage in the United States. Cecil was also collared for an Oxford University study.
Camp Hwange's Facebook page says it offers game drives and game walks where "game likely to be encountered include all of the cat family, wild dog, elephants and buffalo in huge numbers.''
Swales was an experienced professional with an excellent reputation in the safari community. On the Camp Hwange Facebook page, one user who had gone on a 10-kilometer (six-mile) walking safari led by Swales said: "After we left Hwange, our group talked about who we would want near if the end of the world ever came. Quinn was top of the list.''
Walking safaris in which tourists hike through African reserves teeming with dangerous big game are "highly popular, and attacks by animals extremely infrequent,'' said Trevor Lane, an official of the Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe. "I don't recall any such incidents of an unprovoked attack around the Hwange area in the last 30 to 40 years. This is no reason to stop walking safaris. It's been going on for years and it is a great experience.''
In a separate incident in Zimbabwe, the parks authority said a man who sold curios to tourists was killed by an elephant in the resort town of Victoria Falls, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Hwange, also on Monday.