News24

Lion mauls 4-year-old girl

2009-04-19 23:34

Bothaville - A four-year-old girl is recovering from her wounds after she was attacked by a lioness on her parents' farm.

Zanri Mostert was in the operating theatre for more than two hours where the gashes made by the lion's claws were stiched up.

Antoinette Mostert, Zanri's mother, says she wants to tell people what happened in order to warn them to never leave children alone near wild animals. Even though her own children have grown up around lions, Zanri still became a victim.

Covered in blood

The enormous enclosures on the Mosterts' farm, Lapdoorns, are often held as an example for lion breeders. However, Antoinette says the electric fencing was switched off when Zanri was attacked.

Antoinette said that her estranged husband, Thys, and Zanri were pottering around the farm about four weeks ago.

"The ewes and their lambs are in a camp which is only about a road's width from the lion enclosures. Zanri and Thys were seeing to the sheep and afterward they went back to the house."

Antoinette was in the house, a mere stone's throw from the enclosure, when she heard her husband screaming. He came running toward her with Zanri, covered in blood, in his arms.

She had probably been sitting near one of the lion enclosures and put her feet through the fence.

The lioness put her paws through the fence and grabbed and slashed at Zanri several times. There were also bruises on her face where she was pushed against the fence.

There are three lionesses in the particular enclosure and Antoinette isn't sure which one is responsible for the attack.

'Lion bit her'

Somehow Zanri managed to free herself and started to crawl away. It was then that her father found her. Her wounds were seen to at the hospital in Klerksdorp.

"It's a miracle that she's alive. She doesn't want to go near the lions at all now. She just says the lion bit her.

"My message to all parents is never to leave your children alone for even a second."

The Mosterts have been breeding lions on their farm for years.

Thys, the chair of the Predator Breeding Association in the Free State, has said he would rather not comment on the incident, and stands by what his wife has said.