Family terrified as Boswell lions bite car bumper and handles

2009-07-23 00:00

AN incident at the Natal Lion Park on Sunday left the Pragastan family with a bite in their car’s bumper.

Vinashree Pragastan and her husband, her mother, sister and eight-year-old niece were driving through the lion enclosure when they were surrounded by lions that began attacking the vehicle.

The Pragastan family, followed by another family in a black 4x4, were let into the enclosure by two guards.

Pragastan told The Witness that almost as soon as they entered, a lion came to the front of the car and started chewing the beading. She said 10 to 15 lions then surrounded the car.

“We couldn’t get away because the lions were chewing the bumper and the handles,” she added.

“The guys at the gate didn’t even try and distract the lions, they just stood there and watched.” Lions also surrounded the vehicle behind them.

Pragastan admitted to being afraid, and described the lions’ behaviour as “very agitated and not friendly”.

Park owner Brian Boswell said, “The lions are young and playful. Everyone is told to move on and not to wait for them to climb on the car.”

However, Pragastan insists that they received no verbal warnings about how to protect their car, only an instruction printed on the tickets to remain in the vehicle and keep the windows closed.

Pragastan said there were no signs in the park on vehicle safety. “With 2010 coming up they need to put up signs about protecting the vehicle, because now we are facing R10 000 in damages,” she said.

She said her cousin saw a car being surrounded by lions two weeks before.

Boswell assured The Witness that there are signs around the park and that the account is the product of “someone being sensational”.

He said he will not personally compensate the Pragastan family, but their insurance company can claim from his.

Pragastan was angry about Boswell’s comment and said, “I’m not being sensational. The lions could have broken the glass.”

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