Benoni man shoves arm in lion’s mouth to protect wife

2011-11-19 00:00

A MAN from Benoni yesterday shoved his arm into the mouth of a lioness in an attempt to keep it out of the car from where he and his pregnant wife were watching a pride of lions.

Ranesh Rajkaran (28) only suffered scratch marks. He and his wife Somashnie were celebrating their second wedding anniversary at the Lion Park, north-west of Johannesburg.

Rajkaran said he had opened the windows a little while they were driving in yesterday’s sweltering heat, little expecting that a lioness would suddenly shove her paw through the gap and dig her claws into the seat.

“I think she must have smelled the food in the car or maybe she just wanted to play,” said Rajkaran.

When he tried to push her paw out, the lioness simply forced the window open, which was when his wife, who is five months pregnant, “got very panicky”.

Rajkaran tried unsuccessfully to push the lioness back with both arms. When she shoved her head in, he shoved his right arm into her mouth.

Meanwhile he could see two other lionesses and a male walking toward his car, curious to see what was happening. Rajkaran finally forced the lioness out of the car. After he had his scratches seen to at hospital he returned to the park to have tea with the staff.

He said he will definitely return to visit the park again. “It was a scary but also wonderful experience. The people at the park were wonderful ... it was definitely something you only experience once in a lifetime.”

Lion Park spokesperson Earl Smith said signs clearly state that all windows have to be fully closed.

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