A staff member at Marakele Predator Centre in Thabazimbi, Limpopo province shot and killed a male lion named Shamba after it mauled Michael Hodge, the proprietor of the facility, news outlets reported last Wednesday.
A video of the mauling lit up news and social media posts. Hodge was walking in an enclosure behind the lion and then running for an exit when the lion turns and chases him. The lion quickly drags Hodge toward some bushes.
Hodge suffered neck and jaw injuries and is being treated at a Johannesburg hospital.
According to the Marakele Predator Centre’s website, the Centre offers rides in a “lion mobile” and shows photos of lions clambering over a vehicle with passengers safely inside a cage on the back.
“I can promise you that Shamba will jump up and look you in the eyes, he also sits on the top of the truck whilst we take the drive through the camp, a super photo opportunity to be had by all!” the website says.
The manager of Marakele National Park, which is about a mile from Hodge’s privately run predator facility, has been inundated with calls from visitors who mistakenly think the attack happened at the state-run reserve, according to South Africa’s National Parks Service.
Hodges bottle-fed and raised Shamba since his birth 10 years ago and despite his injuries is very upset that Shamba was killed.
Police are investigating the incident.