Some people do die each year from lions, but even some of those could be avoided. Lions seem to prefer cattle pigs and other animals in preference to humans. Hopefully the statistics show that getting killed by a Lion is a relatively rare occurance. If you read the reference extract I've quoted. It seems going out in the fields in the evening is a bad idea, as the lions are hunting. Thats the kind of thing i'm thinking of when I talk about respect and understanding. Now you could choose to ignore that you are likely to find lions in the fields in the evenings in which case it may well end up as a matter of kill or be killed but why blame the lions for that?
Much has been made by Packer and others about the estimated number of human deaths in Tanzania from lion attacks. In total, Packer recorded 563 human mortalities from 1990 to 2004, or about 37 per year, translating to about 8 people per 10 million in the Tanzanian population. The attacks were registered from numerous districts in the country. Without diminishing the tragedy of those deaths they have to be put into perspective as they have led to a demonization of lions and a strange justification for trophy hunting â" essentially the sport hunters are doing the rural communities a favour by keeping man-eaters under control. Not only is this complete nonsense, but human deaths caused by lions are actually miniscule when compared to other sources of annual human mortality in Tanzania.
For a short list, in Tanzania 193 to 1499 people per year die of rabies-infected dog bites, 600 from snake bites, 1,900 from falls, 4,700 from drowning, 6,000 from asthma, 13,000 from road accidents, 14,000 from violence/homicide, 21,000 from malaria, 23,000 from diabetes, 35,000 from diarrhoea, and 122,000 from HIV/Aids/tuberculosis. Tanzania ranks 21st highest among 220 countries in terms of an infant mortality at a rate of 6.7 per 1000 live births as of 2010. The number of humans killed by lions in Tanzania per year (37) is equivalent to the number of people killed in the USA per 100,000 inhabitants by lightning strikes. Lion attacks might make the news much as shark attacks do (over the past 50 years, only one person has been killed by a shark each year in Australia compared to 87 people who drown at beaches annually), but in reality the number of people killed by lions in Tanzania is miniscule compared to the hyperbole that such attacks have generated.
Most people killed by lions are out at night and unprotected. Packer and colleagues were able to assign specific times to such attacks â" after sunset and between 6pm and 10pm in the evening on moonless nights. People were out at such times protecting their crops from elephants and other herbivores, and were attacked either in the fields (lion were also hunting crop raiding animals like bush pigs at the time) or on their journeys back and forth from their villages. As with livestock depredation, there would seem to be practical solutions available to avoid such mortality. But as mentioned above, the long-term probability of a dangerous predator population continuing to live in close contact with humans must be considered insignificant .