A lioness mauled a female tourist to death at a private game lodge in Pretoria, South Africa, on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old victim, who was attacked by the lioness in the unnamed game lodge — located outside of the Dinokeng Nature Reserve, near the Hammanskraal area in South Africa — at around 11 a.m. local time (4 a.m. EST), did not survive. The nationality of the tourist was not revealed.
Nick Dollman, the spokesman of Netcare 911, an emergency service which responded to a call regarding the attack told Eyewitness News (EWN): “Tragically the young victim had sustained severe injuries, there was nothing further that paramedics could do to save her and she died at the scene.”
He added that when the paramedics reached the scene, they saw bystanders trying to administer CPR to the victim. However, they were unable to save the woman.
It is not immediately clear what prompted the wild animal to attack. The Gauteng Agriculture Department and the Cullinan police were investigating the incident.
“It is indeed very sad and regrettable,” Loyiso Mkwana, director-general of natural resources, told EWN. “We are with the members of the family of the deceased. These kinds of incidents, we should not have them, and we should always have vicious, dangerous animals like lions under control.”
According to the BBC News, the Dinokeng reserve boasts of being the “first free-roaming Big 5 residential game reserve in Gauteng — and probably in the world — next to an urbanized area.” It is also the same facility from where eight elephants broke out last year after a bull elephant breached the electric fence bordering the area.
In 2016, another elephant from the reserve found its way out into the highway and collided with an ambulance, prompting the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to issue a warning to the public.
Although cases of predatory animals mauling humans are not common, they are also not unheard of. Earlier this month, a pride of lions mauled a suspected poacher to death inside Ingwelala Private Nature Reserve, a private game reserve near the famed Kruger National Park, in northeastern South Africa.
“If you look at the economics of poaching, these guys are taking a risk. It’s got to be worth their while,” Michael ‘t Sas-Rolfes of the University of Oxford told National Geographic at the time. “The probability [of being caught] and penalty is about the same…but the price for lion body parts is way lower than rhino horn.”
A hunting rifle as well as ammunition were discovered with body, which was eaten beyond recognition by the lions.
Sas-Rolfes added that although the area was famous for rhinoceros poaching, hunters would often kill lion for their claws and teeth, which are sold by poachers. However, although the rate of lion poaching is increasing, it is yet to become an epidemic, like rhino and elephant poaching.
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