Zoo employee killed by lion

2012-02-14 09:03

Bloemfontein - A Johannesburg Zoo employee has died after being attacked by a lion at the zoo's lion farm, Rietkuil, in the Free State's Vredefort area, Volksblad newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Joe Ramonetha, 63, who had worked for the zoo for nearly 40 years, was taken to a Parys hospital where he died on Monday.

Zoo spokesperson Louise Gordon told the newspaper that zoo employees were in mourning, as Ramonetha was a much-loved member of staff.

"We're very shocked, because he had decades of experience and training in various safety procedures. We don't know what could have happened."

Gordon said there were a number of gates to prevent lions from getting to employees while they were feeding the animals or cleaning cages.

"Somehow a female lion managed to get to him. He was either cleaning or feeding, we're not sure. Food scraps were found near the scene of the tragedy."

Police spokesperson Maselela Langa was quoted as saying that doctors were unable to save Ramonetha.

Veterinarians later darted the lion and moved her to a different cage.

  • Swapie - 2012-02-14 09:12

    Shame man, this man was 63 already.What a horrible way to go. May he rest well. Condolences to his family.

      procold2 - 2012-02-14 09:33

      just shows you doesn't matter what experience a person has, the animals in captivity will always be wild, condolences

      John - 2012-02-14 14:53

      Rest in peace Papa Joe. I've been watching many times in Lion Park how the rangers play with adult Mbavati blood lions. Always feel that they are beautiful animals, but still not less dangerous in captivity. In Harties zoo is a madala that plays with lions also. Is Owesome to see how he plays with them...but please be carefull.

  • Phumi - 2012-02-14 09:18

    With the thoughts of a man being fed to the lions at the back of our minds, the Rietz Four and a young man from Potchefstroom who died mysteriously in that province we can't help but to suspect foul play. We urge our law enforcement agencies to leave no stones unturned! Furthermore the dep. of labour must close this zoo until we are sure that it meets the standard safety requirements. We hope the employer will contribute to the deceased funeral and also make arrangement to compensate the family for this loss.

      J-Man - 2012-02-14 09:23

      What the hell does this have to do with the "Rietz" four? Close the Zoo? Are you retarded? Did you even read the article? Seriously now?

      Karring - 2012-02-14 09:23


      Karri - 2012-02-14 09:25

      What on earth are you on about - babbeling rubbish? How do you 'compensate' for somebodies life, you greedy horrid little person?

      Gareth - 2012-02-14 09:32

      Agent Provocateur! I suppose the family will be 'supported' since he died on duty and on premises. Foul play perhaps but I'm certain it's standard procedure for an investigation into accidental or unnatural deaths. As for closing the Zoo... It didn't happen at the Zoo, rather at a farm. So must all assets of this state facility be shut? or just the one where the incident took place. Also, what on earth have the other cases got to do with this? Oh hang on a minute... I remember now, Agent Provocateur! Or is it Enfant Terrible?

      winston.mullany - 2012-02-14 09:33

      you always get some retard on this forum!

      Steve - 2012-02-14 09:36

      Jeez man it's only 09h30 - get off the meth!

      Brett - 2012-02-14 09:38

      Phumi I think you belong in that zoo. Perhaps we can visit you and feed you peanuts?

      dlawre30 - 2012-02-14 09:39

      Phumi - you are seriously delusional. What has the Rietz Four got to do with an elderly man, doing his job and being attacked by a wild animal? You can suspect "FOUL PLAY" all you like - but please go back and read the article again, this man was killed by a LION not a CHICKEN.

      Philip - 2012-02-14 09:41

      Must have been a White Lion? That is just as ridiculous as your comments Phumi!

      Janet - 2012-02-14 09:46

      Oh please, why does this sort of this always have to turn racial? the man was in the wrong place at the wrong time!

      Jon - 2012-02-14 10:05

      Ever read one flew over the cuckoos nest

      ronzaled - 2012-02-14 10:07

      Huh? is my eye-sight somehow bad or what; cause i've read through the article two times trying to find the mention of the Rietz Four but i don't see anything. So can you point me in the right direction @Phumi. Condolences to the family

      Gungets - 2012-02-14 10:18

      Phumi - have you ever tried thinking with your mouth closed? Just asking.

      desertratbkf - 2012-02-14 10:19

      You are an absolute retard! Get a life you racist scumbag!

      anthony.swart - 2012-02-14 10:35

      You Toffee

      Xzaviera - 2012-02-14 10:43

      Huh? Are you for real?

      Romeo - 2012-02-14 10:51

      What the hell are you on about?!?! Bloody mushroom!

      Shanelle - 2012-02-14 11:04

      Do people like you still exist? Please refrain from thinking and breathing, you wasting oxygen.

      Ian - 2012-02-14 11:25

      @ phumi you belong in a zoo...

      Emma - 2012-02-14 11:51

      Really? You're completely repugnant. The gentleman clearly loved his work and was so passionate to stick in his chosen field for so long. I'm sure the zoo will help to pay for his funeral but the fact that you feel you can bring it up in such a distasteful and disrespectful way is so wrong. No mention from you about how proud we could all be of someone like him, no mention of his family, no words of condolences- just money! Shame on you! The cheese has clearly slipped from your cracker... Word vomit.

      Ludwig - 2012-02-14 11:59

      Phumi's windscreen is smaller than his rear view mirrors.

      brandon.conroy3 - 2012-02-14 12:34

      @Phumi,you seem to leave no turns unstoned.

      Bryan - 2012-02-14 12:39

      @Phumi.. You are a complete blithering closed!!!

      Dianne - 2012-02-14 12:39

      Phumi, you are an (_o_)

      Gustav - 2012-02-14 12:57

      Troll!!!!!! Yawn.......

      Deon - 2012-02-14 13:00

      Phumi sounds like this twit some months ago who wanted a scientific investigation into the number of deaths as a result of lightning strikes. Its no foul play, some stuff is just dangerous.

      Shannon - 2012-02-14 13:26

      Phumi - are you a moron? You have turned the story into a completely different issue... This man was a loyal employee of the zoo for 40 years - had you read the article properly and not put in your own words you would have realised this. There is no foul play in this situation, he was in the cage where wild animal is being held captive. If you were taken a put in a cage, you would eventually snap with the hope of escaping into a place where you can be free. As for the Rietz Four - what the hell does this have to do with anything? Close the zoo? Will you be paying for them all to be put down, moved, killed? I think not. You are one of those people who obviously have nothing better to do with their time then make up rubbish, posting comments to get a reaction. I might be reacting to your comment which is what you want, but grow up and catch a wake-up. This man will be missed by his colleagues - its not like they fed him to the lion. Why would they do that to a man who has been loyal for 40 years. You are pathetic. Go and comment on a story that makes more sense to you - like perhaps on the Barney website or something! you obviously can not read!

      celeste.rsa - 2012-02-14 13:47

      Being the prime specimen of stupidity that you are, perhaps they can find a special cage for you at the zoo! Idiot!

      Hennie - 2012-02-14 14:18

      You are a IDIOT...

      Sabrina - 2012-02-14 14:39

      are you retarded??? a wild animal no matter how long in captivity is still a wild animal, an animal, thinks like an animal, acts like an animal.. jislaaik maar julle is uptight.. good grief, what next? send the lion for phsycriatric treatment to distinguish whether or not it came from a a deranged back ground??? or kill it because it planned to nurder him?? good grief.. it is a shame what happened to him, but i am sure he knew the risks and did the best he could to keep himself and the animals safe.. IDIOT, he most prop loved each and every lion in the zoo and every other animal, he couldnt have done it for 40 yrs and not loved them or knew of the risks he was taking everyday..

      Shirley - 2012-02-14 15:01

      Always an idiot looking for a quick buck hey? The guy worked with these animals for nearly 40 years and I think by now he would of noticed if "someone was trying to take him out".Are you one of those people who "slip" in a store and claim thousands? Get a life!

      Nicola - 2012-02-14 16:48

      And, this is why we will forever remain a 3rd world country....what a very strange comment!!

      Emma - 2012-02-14 17:17

      Ugh Phumi Flavored Lion Food please.... Very ugly things to say and completely inappropriate at this time.

      Shadoz66 - 2012-02-14 18:09

      Just think we have retards like this running this country

      Ken - 2012-02-14 18:40

      Are you sick ?

      Jaco - 2012-02-17 08:50

      PHUMI you are really stupid, the man did not close the gate that is way the lion attacked him! No one fed him to the lions!! Grow up please!!!!

  • miyo27 - 2012-02-14 09:21

    This is really sad and not a pleasant thing to read about. But whatever they do I just hope they do not euthanize that lion.

      Karri - 2012-02-14 09:23

      I agree, miyo27 - it's tragic but the lion was only doing what it is genetically programmed to do...hunt and kill. Condolences to his family.

  • Thabiso Senior - 2012-02-14 09:24

    kil that crazy lion

      Brett - 2012-02-14 09:38


      johnwilliam.roberts - 2012-02-14 09:55

      rather kill you if the lion had have eaten you it would of died of food poisoning !

      ronzaled - 2012-02-14 10:08

      For what; its a Lion, it wakes up hunts, kill, and sleep that's it

      jcadman3 - 2012-02-14 10:13

      That statement makes you a plonker Thabiso!! It's an animal acting on instinct! As sad as this guys death is, its something you need to take into consideration that could possibly happen when working with wild animals.

      ina.f.chatwind - 2012-02-14 11:05


      mmokoatle - 2012-02-14 13:27

      If a Doctor gets to be infected with swine flu at the hospital, are we suppossed to kill the patients that brought the bug to the doctor? It's more like your fingers typed this comment without your head thinking about it first, if it can think even!

      Sabrina - 2012-02-14 14:44

      dont be stupid, good grief, its not the Lion sat down and methodically planned this like some people LEGALLY living in our society. i can think of some humans that deserve to be killed, this lion was just being a lion..

  • Dianne - 2012-02-14 09:25

    So sad.....condolences to his family and loved ones. RIP

  • Cornelius - 2012-02-14 09:26

    Really sad! Bad news :-(

  • Carol Haywood - 2012-02-14 09:36

    The lion lives a bad enough life as it is. Just don't kill her!!!! She is a wild animal doing what she is supposed to do. Not her fault.

      Fanie - 2012-02-14 13:10

      remember these animals are tamed, fed and looked after by humans and if they attack them nothing is done on them, they will attack more humans. that is why it has to be killed.

  • Phumi - 2012-02-14 09:40

    It is a common practise of putting the animal down once it has tasted human flesh. Why is it not done in this case? I guess the life of the lion is much more valued than the one who was the caretaker of it! Another sad day in the continent where are reminded once again of our sad and unfortunate past!

      Lucien-Marc - 2012-02-14 09:44


      Jayne - 2012-02-14 09:46

      Oh come on Phumi!!!!! You are the only one who keeps going back into the past. Why kill this lion..... nothing to do with who the caretaker was and the value of his life..... honestly! I don't suppose you support the death penalty, but why not kill those who have killed (tasted blood)???? Please get off this forum.... you make my blood boil!

      Karri - 2012-02-14 09:56

      Phumi dear - there is a cure for stupidity such as yours - take a stroll through the Kruger Park ....make lots of noise so that your acestors can hear you - and they will help cure you of your afflictions.

      Lauren - 2012-02-14 09:56

      What on earth does this have to do with "our sad and unfortunate past"? Are you being serious Phumi? This is a wild animal. Yes, it is tragic that a man was killed but at the end of the day he knew the dangers of the job. Condolences to the family.

      J-Man - 2012-02-14 09:58

      @ Jayne - don't even bother with this racist idiot. Just look at all his "comments" and you'll see, its useless. He/She is just trying to get these responses from us, because no-one can be as dumb/narrow-minded/racist/clueless and blind and still be (expected to be taken) serious. It MUST be a joke. Just ignore this coward.

      dlawre30 - 2012-02-14 09:58

      Phumi - go and swim with the sharks

      Brett - 2012-02-14 09:59

      I think your sad and unfortunate future is probably going to be a lot worse than your past.....

      Chyreene - 2012-02-14 10:00

      That is for animals who get a taste for human flesh and then hunt it, you moron. This animal is in captivity. And what has this got to do with our sad and unfortunate past??? Grow a brain please

      Serena - 2012-02-14 10:04

      The amount of thumbs up is higher than your IQ! Idiot.

      chantelkm - 2012-02-14 10:06

      Phumi...Isidingo is on...

      FlowingRivers - 2012-02-14 10:21

      @Phumi....I think that u have it wrong, I think its more like a lions life is valued much more than that of a black man...cos if was a white life that was lost u wud have had these very people asking for the lion to be put down........!

      petra.nicol - 2012-02-14 10:49

      Phumi, we humans take a wild animal, cage it for our enjoyment / entertainment, then act surprised when it grabs a chance to object by attacking one of it's "jailers"...... The poor man was simply earning a living - unless during the ensuing investigation it is shown that another person had a part to play (leaving gates open etc), it was purely an accident. On your comment "one they've tastd human flesh....." to the best of my knowledge, she did not kill him to eat him - she acted instinctively against a being she held responsible for her being caged.... My sincere condolences to the family, friends & colleagues....

      Gareth - 2012-02-14 10:51

      Sadly Phumba, the big bad lion will most likely be 'destroyed' for the very reason you mention. I like to look at it from another angle: It will be destroyed for being the very thing God created it for - for being a Lion. Anyway, you seem to be loosing friends on this platform, might I recommend a job opening I've heard about, at the Jo'burg Zoo? I have a feeling your personality will be more enticing there.

      ina.f.chatwind - 2012-02-14 11:08

      Who put this animal in captivity in the first place? Was that heaven on earth for the lion? Get your priorities right dude!

      Ludwig - 2012-02-14 11:55

      Phumi's windscreen is smaller than his rear view mirrors.

      Peter - 2012-02-14 12:10

      @Pumi Instead of "concentrating on your sad and unfortunate past", (which i can make an educated guess that you never personally experienced)why dont you concentrate on a "bright future" that lies ahead of you? If there is one for you that is!

      Shannon - 2012-02-14 13:31

      Perhaps we should have that lion eat you... What a dumb ass fool...

      ronzaled - 2012-02-14 14:13

      i gave up; for some reason @Phumi is always angry, What's bugging you @phumi, cause clearly this article has nothing to do with it. Or is ignorance a bliss for you

      Sabrina - 2012-02-14 14:50

      how on earth can apartheid and a lion being a lion compare? seems like youare of those special persons who put 2 and 2 together and 50125.7 the matter at hand is this man dedicated his life to these animals, and i am very sure if he had survived he would not have wanted retribution on the animals.

      Shadoz66 - 2012-02-14 18:15

      you the only one living in the Past phumi man wake up and come join us here in the future.

  • J.p. - 2012-02-14 09:54

    The question is, why do they have a lion farm? Lions bred in captivity have never been released back into the wild successfully and breeding thus has no purpose at all. Southern Africa also does not have too few lions with the available land under conservationon and this is according to at least two lion specialists, so there is no reason to breed lions and that goes for most other predators as well.

      Scruffy - 2012-02-14 10:42

      @wildways. There were 450,000 lions in the wild 50 years ago, now there is only 20,000. What do you think is going to happen to them in the next few years? I've been to a few nature reserves and have never seen a lion. Just a thought.

      adrian.strydom - 2012-02-14 10:55

      Wildways, let me enlighten you about something, and you can check to see if I'm wrong with pleasure. Within 10 years the lion populations in Kruger Park will probably be extinct, and it's being allowed to happen on purpose. The reason is TB....the lions are ALL infected from eating infected buffalo ( Bovine Tuberculosis ). We desperately need to have a reserve supply of uninfected lions such as these at lion farms to restock the reserves. Infected buffalo are also being culled.

      ina.f.chatwind - 2012-02-14 11:14

      It's natural for animals to breed. So what do you propose we do with the off-spring.

  • Koos Lethoba - 2012-02-14 09:55

    people, the man was chosen by God that day, there's nothing we can do about it. rude comments wont console the family at all. its sad to loose a person, nd u don't wanna read racial nor insulting comments about it. nxa

  • Thoka - 2012-02-14 09:57

    RIP Baba. so so sad, only God knows the begining ang the end.

  • Kekeletso Nakeli - 2012-02-14 09:59

    Bloemfontein - A Johannesburg Zoo employee has died after being attacked by a lion at the zoo's lion farm, Rietkuil, in the Free State's Vredefort area, Volksblad newspaper reported on Tuesday. So... Where did this actually happen?!?

      Gcwabe-KaMavovo - 2012-02-14 10:28

      The report was written in Bloemfontein, where Volksblad is based.

      Hannes Bosman - 2012-02-14 11:01

      you also noticed the intelectual level of some reporters these days...

      Gcwabe-KaMavovo - 2012-02-14 12:40

      The zoo, which is in Joburg, has Lions. These Lions are raised and kept in a farm in Vredefort before they are transferred to the zoo. The report was written by Volksblad in Bloemfontein. Comprende?

  • Tevashnee - 2012-02-14 10:01

    If wild animals were just left in the wild where they belong, not held captive in zoos or game farms, tragedies like these would not have to happen.

      Karri - 2012-02-14 10:19

      100% correct.

      Heiku - 2012-02-14 10:19

      Yes it would. Go run with the lions in the kruger and find out for yourself.

      Karri - 2012-02-14 10:23

      Ummm - Heiku - humans with a brain would not run through the Kruger Park, now would they? Because there are wild animals there.....You see....humans belong in human space and animals belong in animal space.

      ina.f.chatwind - 2012-02-14 11:17

      @Heiko. That's why ther's rules against running with lions in Kruger, dude.

  • Jan - 2012-02-14 10:06

    Can someone please arrange for a brain cell count and brain activity test for Phumi. I agree with Wildways, why do they keep Lions at this farm? These animals belong in the wild. Is it perhaps for barter trading with foreign zoos? Just asking.

      Karri - 2012-02-14 10:20

      Probably 'canned hunting' where disgusting human beings think they are brave and clever because they can kill a lion that can't get away!

  • frans.mosia - 2012-02-14 10:07

    Very said, i wonder how the deceased family is feeling at this moment.May his soul rest in peace.

  • desertratbkf - 2012-02-14 10:17

    Come now News24! Is a female lion not a lioness????

  • E=MC2 - 2012-02-14 10:22

    as long as they dont put the lion down now!

  • Hannes Bosman - 2012-02-14 10:48

    there is two sides to this story... 1) sorry to the family and yes i agree this is not a nice way to pass on! 2) this is not the Lions fault!!! it is us humans... what do you expect keeping a animal in an enclosed area... its a wild animal that deserves to be in the Kruger park!!! but on the other hand with all the poaching that once again us humans f┬ąck up nature... a zoo will soon be the only place to see animals...

  • Lee - 2012-02-14 10:57

    lol............nice to see all back on line again.

  • Shirley - 2012-02-14 11:02

    Condolences to the man! When will people realise that these are wild beasts and will ALWAYS be wild beasts. All the experience in the world os not enough as these creatures will always resort to their natural instincts and they cannot be blamed.

      Hannes Bosman - 2012-02-14 11:19

      so true!!!

  • Lucky Manaswe - 2012-02-14 11:24

    The only time I get close and personal with wild animals is when I'm sitting on my couch watching national geographic channel. I can't be nearer wild animals whether caged or not, I will never even set foot in a national park. I really think people that work with these animals are very brave, nevertheless my favorite animal is a bear I just wish it was domestic. Condolences to the grandpa's family.

      Abongile Mbauli - 2012-02-14 19:26

      Ditto for me. Personally I don't want to bear any animal I can't restrain if it loses it.

  • Virginia - 2012-02-14 13:08

    Why would the zoo also have a farm. Wonder if it's a canned hunting farm. All zoos should be closed. They are hell on earth for all animals no matter what they say. We now have TV and the Internet for children to learn everything about wild animals or are we just so obsessed with control and slavery. My condolences to the mans family.

  • Christopher - 2012-02-14 13:19

    Animals are animals...they belong in the wild... what do you expect...

  • Jou - 2012-02-14 14:11

    That's what you call lazy aged steak.

      Gcwabe-KaMavovo - 2012-02-15 09:41

      Horrible and racist joke. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  • Azwihangwisi - 2012-02-14 15:38

    Please forgive Phumi cos i can see she did not read the article right or maybe Phumi knows the victims of The Ritz Four or maybe she is related to the victim. Please Phumi next time if you want to comment to ana article read it carefully before u commment please. the oldman was just an employee on that zoo and i dont think someone was involve in his death but the Lion knows everything and you also know working with wild animals is dangerous sometimes

  • Mart - 2012-02-14 15:41

    Condolences to the family and friends of Mr Joe Ramonetha. I salute his dedication to the zoo and obviously it's animals. R.I.P. Sir.

  • Gary - 2012-02-14 16:26

    A pensoner killed by a lion. My his soul rest in peace....

  • Gail - 2012-02-14 17:24

    How awful for this man's family and all those he has served for so many years. One wonders how a man with so many years experience and so much knowledge of these big cats could have fallen prey to one. Perhaps he blacked out or something while in the process of opening an closing. To his family and friends our deepest sympathy. R.I.P. I sincerely hope the lioness doesn't have to be killed as a result of doing what a wild animal would do were it free.

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