The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : A Woman Was Killed by a Lion at a Tourist Attraction in South Africa

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

A Woman Was Killed by a Lion at a Tourist Attraction in South Africa

An American woman killed by a lion Monday at a tourist attraction in South Africa was taking pictures through an open car window when the beast leaped through and fatally bit her, park officials said.

The dead tourist ignored more than 40 signs and verbal warnings about keeping windows closed while visiting the Gauteng Lion Park in Johannesburg, a popular 17-acre attraction visitors drive through in their personal vehicles while the massive animals roam freely.

The unnamed woman, described as in her 30s, was a passenger Monday afternoon when the lioness attacked. The driver, a tour guide, was hospitalized for scratches suffered after he tried to punch the animal once it entered the vehicle.

“They had their windows all the way down, which is strictly against policy,” assistant operations manager Scott Simpson said. “The lion bit the lady through the window.”

The U.S. Embassy in South Africa confirmed an American had been killed, but had yet to identify her.

“Our hearts go out to the family and loved ones of the deceased in this sad incident,” the embassy tweeted.

The lioness will not be euthanized, though the area where the attack occurred will be closed off to the public during an investigation. The rest of the parking will be open and “operating as usual,” Simpson said Tuesday. The 9-year-old lioness will moved to a different property owned by the park that is not open to tourists.

“The park is not closed and it is not closing,” Simpson said. “We have closed off where the incident happened, so those lions won’t be seeing the public until we have had an investigation and we know what exactly happened.”

Celebrity sightings at the park over the years include singers Shakira and John Legend, who visited with his model wife, Chrissy Teigen.

The attack is the third in the park in just four months. An Australian tourist, who admitted to having his window down, was bitten on his legs after a lion jumped in and bit him. He posted graphic photos of the injuries on Facebook.
  
Just two days later, a 13-year-old boy riding a bicycle used the park as a shortcut and was attacked by a cheetah, eNCA reported.



A man walks past warning signs at the Lion Park near Johannesburg where a lion killed an American woman and injured a man driving through a private wildlife park, a park official said.

The attack occurred when a lioness approached the passenger side of the vehicle as the woman took photos through an open window, then lunged, said Scott Simpson, assistant operations manager at the Lion Park.


The signs explicitly read, and show, that windows must be closed at all times.

In March 2014, a woman posted on YouTube a clip showing a lion at a park in South Africa opening a car door with its mouth. The terrifying, minute-long video has since been viewed some 13.6 million times.




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