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Heroic zookeeper sacrifices life to rescue Colleague from lion attack



Heroic zookeeper sacrifices life to rescue Colleague from lion attack

Heroic zookeeper sacrifices life to rescue Colleague from lion attack

In a heart-wrenching turn of events, Olabode Olawuyi, a dedicated zookeeper at the zoological garden of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State, met a tragic fate while heroically attempting to rescue a female colleague from the clutches of a 9-year-old lion. The shocking incident, which unfolded on Tuesday, February 20, 2024, has sent shockwaves through the university community and beyond, highlighting the inherent dangers faced by those working closely with wildlife.

Wole Odewumi, the Chairman of the OAU branch of the National Association of Non-Academic Staff of Universities (NASU), revealed to journalists the circumstances surrounding Olawuyi’s untimely demise. According to Odewumi, Olawuyi courageously intervened to free a female colleague who had fallen victim to the lion’s aggression, believing that his familiarity with the animal would compel it to release its grip. However, tragically, the lion’s response was one of increased aggression, leading to a fatal attack on Olawuyi himself.

The devastating incident prompted the immediate closure of the zoological garden by the institution’s management, as announced by OAU spokesperson, Abiodun Olarewaju, in a statement issued on Monday, February 19. The closure serves as a precautionary measure while authorities assess the situation and implement necessary safety protocols to prevent similar tragedies in the future.

Elaborating further on the sequence of events, Odewumi recounted how Olawuyi’s selfless act of bravery ultimately cost him his life. Despite his valiant efforts to rescue his colleague, Olawuyi succumbed to the lion’s ferocious attack before medical assistance could be administered. Meanwhile, the female colleague, who was also injured in the incident, is currently receiving medical treatment in the hospital, her condition being closely monitored by medical professionals.

In a poignant display of solidarity and remembrance, a mourning procession was held in honour of Olabode Olawuyi on Tuesday, with members of the university community coming together to pay their respects to the fallen hero. Additionally, the university’s management extended their condolences to Olawuyi’s grieving family, offering support and assistance during this difficult time.

As investigations into the tragic incident continue, the university’s management has taken decisive steps to address the situation and ensure the safety of both staff and visitors to the zoological garden. A committee will be formed to conduct a thorough inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Olawuyi’s death, with representation from his union to ensure transparency and accountability in the investigative process.

The loss of Olabode Olawuyi serves as a sobering reminder of the inherent risks associated with working in close proximity to wild animals, even under controlled environments such as zoological gardens. His selfless act of heroism in the face of danger embodies the spirit of sacrifice and camaraderie that defines the human spirit, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of all who knew him. As the university community mourns the loss of a beloved colleague, efforts to honor Olawuyi’s memory and enhance safety measures at the zoo stand as a testament to his enduring legacy.

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