American tourist ‘was to blame’ for deadly lion attack

Pietermaritzburg - The American tourist mauled to death by a lioness at a Johannesburg lion park was at fault, Natal Lion Park owner Brian Boswell believes.

“People think because the lions are in a captured area they are not dangerous. They move quicker than what you would believe. Lions are killing machines,” said Boswell.

Katherine Chappell, a video editor who had worked on the popular series Game of Thrones, was in South Africa volunteering to raise money for wildlife protection.

But as the 29-year-old American was taking photos of a pride of lions at a safari park on June 1, a lioness mauled her through her open window.

“Some people just ignore the warnings of don’t open your window and lock your door. We have, in the past, kicked people out as their actions not only endanger themselves but our staff too. Lions have great big teeth that cut like a sewing machine.”

Boswell said this type of incident can happen anywhere if the public do not adhere to the rules.

“We have the rules printed on arrival and on the ticket. As sad as this incident is and as difficult it must be for the family, she was to blame.”

He said the lion parks pay a substantial amount on insurance in case there is any litigation.

“What this incident has done is raised awareness about behaviour in lion parks,” said Boswell.

News24 reports that the lioness that killed Chappell has not been removed from her pride and will not be euthanased.

Lion Park spokesperson Scott Simpson told Traveller24 that the encampment the lion is kept in has been closed to the public until further notice.

The park also confirmed it is currently conducting an internal investigation, which includes an animal behaviourist who is monitoring the pride.

“Once we are satisfied with the report from the animal behaviourist, we will open the enclosure, but only to our guided game drive vehicles,” Simpson said

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