Wildlife park owner dragged away by lion

May 02, 2018, 04:26
Wildlife park owner dragged away by lion

The distraction was meant to help park owner, 72-year-old Mike Hodge, open the gate to exit the park.

Mr Hodge, 67, suffered injuries to his neck and jaw but is now sitting up in bed and posed smiling for a photo - while the lion was put down.

A friend of Mr Hodge told The Sun the sanctuary owner entered the lion compound to investigate a unusual smell.

In the footage, the lion sees Mike after he enters its enclosure and chases him towards the gate.

An unnamed friend of Mike told The Sun that he was immediately rushed to the facility, just three miles away from the park.

At one point everyone felt Mike Hodge was lost forever, but a loud gunshot from nowhere got the lion leave his prey and make a run. The large cat jumps on him as onlookers scream in horror before it drags the man, who goes limp in the lion's jaws, behind a bush. "He is no fool around lions and knows how to interact with them but clearly something went wrong", she added.

Horrified onlookers can be heard screaming as the video shows a man being attacked and pawed further by the big cat at Marakele Animal Sanctuary in Thabazimbi.

Marakele remains closed in the wake of the attack while Chrissy was believed to be too upset to comment.

They moved to South Africa in 1999 and started a lion conservation project in 2003 on a farm 30kms from Thabazimbi.

Hodge, who founded the sanctuary with his wife Chrissy and stepdaughter Emma in 2010, was reportedly investigating a odd smell that had been upsetting the lion.

The park also offers a "lion mobile" experience in which visitors are placed in a large steel cage on the back of a small truck, then driven through the big cat enclosure.

The lion was reportedly killed following the incident.

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