Lion park enclosure temporarily closed

2015-06-09 21:41
The American victim of a lion attack in Gauteng, Kate Chappell. (Kate Chappell, Facebook)

The American victim of a lion attack in Gauteng, Kate Chappell. (Kate Chappell, Facebook)

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Johannesburg - The enclosure at the Lion Park outside Johannesburg where a lioness attacked and killed an American tourist has been temporarily closed.

"The internal investigation has not been concluded as yet, but as an interim measure we have decided to close the lion enclosure where the incident took place to the public," the park said in a Facebook post on Monday.

"This will allow us to let the lioness remain within her pride and for our animal behaviourist to monitor the pride."

It said that once it was satisfied with the report from the animal behaviourist, it would reopen the enclosure, but only to its guided game drive vehicles.

"The other four lion enclosures will remain open to the public, for private vehicle or guided tours. All rules will be strictly enforced and guests not complying will be asked to leave the lion enclosures," the park said.

"Due to some people not complying with the park rules we will be implementing further precautions for the guests and staff safety."

Film editor Katherine Chappell, aged 29, was named as the victim of the attack that took place last Monday.

She was in a vehicle driven by tour guide Pierre Potgieter.

She was reportedly in Africa to raise money for a charitable organisation that protects animals from poachers.

Ignored several signs and verbal warnings

A statement from Kalabash Tours confirmed that she had been travelling in a vehicle with Potgieter.

"We understand that at one point they stopped to view a pride of lions. The tourist had a camera and, of her own accord, rolled down the passenger window in order to take photographs," the statement said.

The lioness reportedly jumped into the car through Chappell's open passenger window and attacked her.

"Mr Potgieter, 66-years-old, tried to fend the lioness off and in the process sustained injuries to his arm."

Besides physical injuries, Potgieter also suffered a heart attack during the incident. He was being treated in hospital.

An eyewitness in a vehicle behind them, Ben Govender, told Rapport newspaper that Potgieter opened his window first.

The park said at the time that Chappell ignored several signs and verbal warnings not to drive through the area with her car windows open.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  animals  |  lion attack

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