Lioness attacks little boy

2013-07-22 09:12

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Bloemfontein - A ‘tame' lioness attacked a ten-year-old boy at the Zanchieta Wildcat farm outside Bloemfontein over the weekend. 

Beeld reports that Johan Opperman, a learner from Willem Postma Primary in Bloemfontein, visited the farm with his father, Andries, to celebrate Elsa's, the lioness who attacked him, fifth birthday party.

Mid-celebration, Elsa managed to get hold of Johan's arm through her encampment's railings and kept a fierce grip on his jacket sleeve. The boy was standing with his back to the encampment when Elsa swiped her paw through the railing and grabbed his left arm. 

He was rushed to the Bloemfontein Mediclinic where his wound was cleaned under anaesthetic to destroy any bacteria and prevent infection. 

Amanda Appelgryn, a spokesperson for the hospital said Johan would undergo an operation on Monday to reattach muscle and tissue. 

Scores of people visited the farm over the weekend to celebrate Elsa's birthday. Her owner, Miekie van Ronder, 25, had spent much of the day inside the Elsa's enclosure and was fortunately there to help release the lion's grip on the little boy. 

Van Tonder said she felt embarrassed and terrible about the incident. "Lions stay wild. They are not like cheetah, which lose their wildness after a while in captivity," she said. 

This comes a few weeks after a similar incident involving a Canadian tourist took place at the Moholoholo wildlife rehabilitation centre in Hoedspruit. 

Read more on:    animals  |  travel south africa

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