Scientist to Speak on African Man-Eating Lions of Tsavo

A world-renowned scientist who has studied Africa's man-eating lions, which were immortalized in the movie "The Ghost and the Darkness," will give a presentation at Bethel College on Saturday, Feb. 19.

Bruce D. Patterson, Ph.D., MacArthur Curator of Mammals at The Field Museum in Chicago, is among the foremost experts on the two male lions that killed an estimated 140 railroad workers in Tsavo, Kenya, in 1898. He is the author of a book, The Lions Of Tsavo: Exploring the Legacy of Africa's Notorious Man-Eaters. Patterson not only researches the legendary lions from a century ago, but also those that roam the Tsavo region today.

Patterson's presentation will take place at 7 p.m. in the Everest-Rohrer Chapel/Fine Arts Center Auditorium on the Bethel campus and will be followed by a reception and book-signing. The book, which will be available at a discounted price during the signing, is also available at area bookstores.

The event is free and open to the public.

Chris Wozencraft, associate professor of biology at Bethel College, said that the Lions of Tsavo represent a unique episode in history as well as a scientific mystery. "There's nothing else like this in the world," Wozencraft said. "One of the characteristics that distinguishes them from other lions is that the males don't have manes. There are various theories as to why, but so far none of them have panned out. They're very interesting from a scientific standpoint."

Wozencraft said many people became intrigued by the lions after the saga was popularized in the movie starring Michael Douglas and Val Kilmer. The 1996 film is based on the exploits of Lt. Col. John Henry Patterson, a British officer and railway construction engineer, who hunted down and eventually killed both lions. The taxidermy mounts of the lions are on display in The Field Museum.

Patterson has made several trips to Kenya for field research, most recently last fall. He is an accomplished wildlife photographer, and his presentation will feature photographs from many of these visits. Patterson also teaches at the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois and has authored more than 100 scientific and popular articles. He is a past president of the American Society of Mammalogists.

Patterson's visit is sponsored by Bethel College and Mishawaka's Potawatomi Zoo. During his visit, he will also conduct a children's program at the zoo and speak to Bethel's mammalogy class.

For more information about Patterson's presentation, contact Wozencraft at (574) 257-3337 or e-mail For more information about the Lions of Tsavo and Patterson's research, visit The Field Museum Web site,

Bethel College is an accredited Christian college of the arts and sciences offering associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees in more than 50 areas of study. The current enrollment of 1,964 includes students from 34 states, 19 countries, more than 20 denominational affiliations and 16 percent from culturally diverse backgrounds. Scholarships are available based upon a variety of factors including academic achievement, talent in the arts or athletics, ethnicity and church affiliation. The Bethel campus is situated on 75 beautifully wooded acres in Mishawaka, Indiana.                                                                                                                            

Note to Journalists:

Interviews: To arrange an interview with Dr. Patterson or Dr. Wozencraft contact the Public Relations Office.  They are available by phone or the day of the event at 5:00.

Photography: Photographs of Dr. Patterson work at the Field Museum and in Africa are available by contacting the Bethel College Public Relations Office.

Video: Video of Dr. Patterson's work at the Field Museum and in Africa is available on DVD by contacting the Bethel College Public Relations Office.